Were You Hired To Do That?

A middle school student, from a town not far from our cooperative headquarters, was given the assignment to job shadow someone working in a field that might interest him down the road.

His top choices for a future career – at age 14 – were

  • a pediatrician (should a student spend their day in a medical office during flu season?)
  • a preacher (he gets weekly insight from this field every Sunday and at youth group)
  • the agricultural field (he chose to spend his day at our farmer-owned cooperative)

I had a meeting with our agronomist and the gentleman that this student was shadowing for the day, our Chief Operations Officer. The three of us discussed plans for an upcoming presentation we are giving at Ball State University, while the student sat in quiet observation. After collaboration over a meal, we engaged the student by explaining to him our individual paths that lead to the current positions we have within Harvest Land.

It was a really valuable conversation. Not only did I learn about the very unique roads my coworkers have taken to get to the successful levels they’re at today, but I also noticed a trend that I think is worth sharing with you.

One employee never went to college, they went straight to into the work force out of high school.

One employee went to a highly accredited 4-year university (after turning down an offer at Notre Dame) and even went on to attain their Master’s.

One employee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a non-agriculture field.

All three were leaps and bounds above the level – both in position and pay – in which they were first hired (one started at $1 an hour – and it wasn’t 1929). All three shared oddly similar stories when visiting with the job-shadowing-student.

All three never turned down a job.
  • Sweeping the shop floor
  • Answering phones
  • Tying feed sacks
  • Mixing chemicals
  • Making the office coffee (which could be comparable to mixing chemicals)
  • Washing trucks
  • Delivering meals to the field
  • Cleaning up after meetings or guests
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping out bins
  • Working in the pit
  • Loading trucks with bagged feed
  • Painting tanks
  • Making parts runs
  • And more

These were just a few of the things these highly successful adults did in their early careers.

“Were you hired to do that?!” the student asked the COO.
“No, I wasn’t. But it needed done.”

What a lesson that can resonate with today’s students about to begin their careers. There is a strange expectation from many who are early in their career that they will get hired into a middle management position and climb the ladder of success by starting on the third rung. Today’s work force doesn’t work that way. The workforce in 2007 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1997 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1987 didn’t work that way. Do you notice a trend?

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What an advantage someone will have if they choose early in life to do the work that needs to be done, whether it was written in their job description, or not. Those who keep the phrase “That’s not my job,” off their lips will have a far greater advantage over those who use it.

Now, this isn’t giving every supervisor across America to take advantage of those who work hard.

But we offer this encouragement to those who want to be successful in their field of choice: If you’re willing to do more than what is expected of you, more opportunities than you expect will come your way. 

work bootsWe believe that farm kids get hired and promoted regularly because they understand that there is work to be done, no matter who does it. They come from a place where 5:00 PM simply means that there is still four more hours of daylight and work ahead of them. They come from a team that doesn’t clock in or clock out – their work begins when the boots go on and it ends when they come off…and then they have to eat dinner with their co-workers.

Farm kids understand that even the bosses have to do the dirty jobs sometimes – – -because they’ve seen their grandfathers use auto steer in the brand new tractor in the same day that they saw him picking up rocks out of the field.

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We encourage those early in their career to take full advantage of the opportunities to do many different jobs – the good, bad, and ugly – when given the chance. Not only will it offer you new experiences, it will expand your skill set and build your character.

And who knows, it might start a really enlightening conversation in 30 years when you’re being job shadowed by an eager middle schooler trying to figure out the world.

Fortune Found in Fly-Over States

Though you may not have seen much coverage of it on the local or national news, a natural disaster took place last week in the heart of America. Wildfires ravaged through the plains and prairies of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, destroying human life, an estimated 5,000 head of cattle and 1 million acres, as well as homesteads and ranches.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

This hasn’t been a popular news story because it didn’t affect the masses living within urban areas, it wasn’t politically fueled and there was no rioting to spark controversy. It hasn’t been on the news because it affected a group of people that – rather than march, protest, loot or cause any disturbance at all – tend to  keep their head down, get their work done because they have a responsibility not taken lightly and typically mind their own business.

Since the devastation set in last week, thousands of individuals in hundreds of rural communities nestled in dozens of fly-over states have rallied together to gather supplies  to assist those farmers and ranchers who lost the very basic tools they need to function as a working operation: feed, fences, horses, veterinary care and more.

Livingston Machinery convoy of hay Wednesday morning leaving Fairview, OK and heading to the area impacted by the blazes. 

You see, there is fortune to be found in these fly-over states.

These no-mans-land

middle of nowhere

fly-over states.

The fortune found is rural Americans.
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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go hungry

Do you have a new baby? Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

A death in the family?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your youngest finally get engaged?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your basement flood with the spring rains?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Is the t-ball season finally over?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never need a high-tech home security system

Rural Americans have made a reputation of keeping a watchful (nosey?) eye on the community. They’re the first to call you when they see a suspicious vehicle parked over by the shop, sure to ask why the vet truck was at the barn for three hours last Monday and the first to call when they don’t see your daughter’s minivan at the house over Christmas.

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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never “not know”

As long as there are sale barns, kitchen tables, high school athletic games, church bulletins and farm auctions, word will get around. Folks in urban America may have high speed internet and Snapchat but they’ll never have the ability to push a message out  to an entire community faster than the rural American main street diner.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go without

Rural Americans supply the help when needed, sometimes in the form of a truck load of hay, sometimes in the form of a 14-year-old able-bodied son who is willing to work, sometimes in the form of a quarter cup of sugar. Rural Americans give when they can, where they can, and however they can.  

 

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There is fortune to be found in our beloved fly-over states, and it is each other. What an advantage we have to live in a world where we don’t have to hire moving trucks because we have friends with trucks and trailers. We don’t have to send Honey Baked Hams from some warehouse 2,000 miles away because we have a freezer full of farm fresh pork and a recipe card from Mary Jane’s Kitchen, 1976. We don’t have to fight life’s toughest moments alone, because we have Rural American neighbors, friends and strangers across the country bowing their heads when prayer is needed most.

We don’t have to search for good in the world,
because we live amongst it. 

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Learn how you can help wildfire victims in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

2017 Scholarships Available

It’s already January. Can you believe it?

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The school year is half over; kindergartners are almost to first grade and sixth graders are almost to the middle school and seniors are almost finished with locker combinations and mandatory gym class. Time really flies, doesn’t it?

The students in our trade territory aren’t just the local teens or FFA members, they’re part of our Harvest Land family. We’ve seen some of them learn how to drive by picking up feed at our Ag Centers, we’ve visited with them at the counter about their 4-H projects, and we’ve even gotten the real story about how the dent in their dad’s farm truck really came to be. We’ll be honest: We kind of miss the local kids when they grow up and go to school.

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So, we try to help them out a little if we can.

Harvest Land proud to offer twelve $1000 agricultural scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year to seniors graduating high school in 2017.

To be eligible for this scholarship, the student must:

  • be a high school senior entering a post-high school agricultural program
  • be involved in agriculture in their local community
  • and live or attend school in Harvest Land Co-op’s market area.

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These scholarships will focus on need and leadership potential of future contributors to the agricultural industry. You can access the scholarship application here.

Applications are due MARCH 1, 2017 and can be emailed to scholarships@harvestlandcoop.com  or mailed to the following address:

Harvest Land Co-op

Youth Development Committee

ATTN: Lindsay Sankey

P.O. Box 516

Richmond, IN 47375

Questions can be directed to Lindsay Sankey at 765.962.1527.

We invite you to share this information with a graduating senior who plans on studying agriculture after high school. The future of our agriculture industry is exciting, and we want to help the youth in our communities get there.
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Hagerstown FFA Officer Team

Covered In Dust

Harvest Land gave a gift over the last couple weeks, but we never want it used.

We want it sitting, untouched, covered in dust.

We want it stored in a secure but visible place, waiting with dreadful anticipation that it may be needed, but we want not a hand to be laid upon it.

In two, five or ten years, we don’t want to see a finger print on its shiny exterior; not a smudge. We want it to be in the same, pristine, brand new condition it’s in right now. Except maybe, covered in dust.

Our cooperative lost two customers due to grain entrapment in 2016. What an eye-opening year for the rural communities in which we live and work. As a farmer-owned cooperative doing business across state lines and in many different areas, we are committed to the safety of our employees, and also the safety of our members.

In December Harvest Land donated rescue tubes to two fire departments in areas that did not have grain rescue equipment. The first donation was to Bentonville Volunteer Fire Department in Fayette County, Indiana and the second went to Geneva Volunteer Fire Department in Adams County, Indiana. The rescue tubes donated can be used as a tube or wall in any free-flowing material such as sand, grain, gravel or in trench collapses.

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President/CEO Scott Logue makes the grain tube presentation to the Bentonville Fire Department
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Allen Bollenbacher (L) presents the grain tube to the Geneva Volunteer Fire Department

As we charge ahead with a new generation gradually taking over the reigns on the family farm, we hope to increase awareness about the dangers of grain entrapment with our customers and also youth in agriculture programs, such as FFA.

A grain entrapment trailer will be on display and conducting live entrapment demonstrations during our Winter Innovation Forum. We ask that you tell others about the Forum and invite them to bring someone who might find this entrapment information valuable. Attendees are invited to participate in the live entrapment demonstration to fully understand how incredibly strong the force of moving grain is.

At the Winter Innovation Forum we’ll also have information on how you can find resources to get a grain safety tube in your area. Help us leave no rural community in our territory uncovered. Join us at the Forum to learn more; Forum registration will open up in January.

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We understand the members of our cooperative system are not just farmers; they are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. They are someone quite special. 

The teenager who is thinking more about their Saturday night plans than the bin work at hand.

The parent who is thinking more about their seventh-grader at lunch than the auger below them.

Veteran farmer who is feverishly preparing for his 44th planting season.

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If we can get this safety information to one person and help them understand just how quickly grain entrapment happens and how strong the crushing force is, these efforts will have paid off countless times over.

We want to reach everyone.
The young and old. The seasoned and proud. The curious and fresh.
For once, we’re ok with giving you something you’ll leave untouched, covered in dust. 

The WinField Crop Adventure

Growing up there was one phrase, comprised of only two words, which if spoken was sure to land you in a bad place.

“I’m bored.”

This brief declaration was usually followed by this powerful response: “Oh, I can fix that.”

Mom and Dad were always good for their word.

Picking up sticks or nails, hauling manure via wheelbarrow, sorting the recycling and smashing aluminum cans with a homemade steel tamper, stacking wood, pushing rocks up hills. The list of boredom-prevention exercises goes on and on. One summer morning I recall the hay tedder broke down and we actually tedded an entire hayfield by pitchfork. That was a fun day. A hot one, too.

I never looked at boredom the same way again.

Summer is in full swing and soon – believe it or not – the county fairs will be over and families will have a bit more free time to do some traveling. Ten days at Disney World livestock free, you ask?

Not likely.

However, there is a place that just opened that might feel a little like Disney World to a kid involved in agriculture.

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The Winfield Crop Adventure has officially opened at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana. This hands-on exhibit is designed to fully engage participants in understanding exactly what it takes to grow food for a population growing quickly to 9 billion people. It’s very likely that the kids in your family “get it”, but this state-of-the-art exhibit is sure to educate and impress even the most seasoned agriculturalists. Yourself, included.

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What can you experience?

  • Meet the farmers who grow your food.
  • Burrow deep underground to see bugs and roots.
  • See and touch the high-tech tools farmer use.
  • Catch virtual raindrops.
  • Imagine the future of modern farming.
  • Discover how corn, soy and wheat improve our lives.
  • Take your picture with your favorite bugs.
  • Learn what soil doctors do.
  • Find the right ag career for you.

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So pack up the kids, or grandkids, or the annoying neighbor kids who have absolutely no idea about food production, and head to Fair Oaks Farms to visit the new Winfield Crop Adventure. Teach everyone a thing or five while getting out of your home area and combatting the “I’m bored” scenario.

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Check out all Fair Oaks Adventures

Oh, and might we suggest a place for dinner on your way home? Culver’s has a fantastic partnership with America’s farmers and they’re actively working to help us tell our story. I highly recommend the double butter burger with fries and a vanilla snickers concrete mixer for dessert, but that may just be the boredom talking.

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What Dad Taught Me

Father’s Day is Sunday and you know what that means.

Kids and wives across the country are standing in front of the card section at the local grocery store, staring blankly into an endless selection of over-the-top-sappy, thats-just-not-my-Dad greeting cards, searching for the perfect card that sends the perfect message.

Something as basic as: You’ve been a good Dad. Thank you.

But those cards don’t seem to exist. And even if they did, there would be a strange feeling of inadequate expression if that were the only thing they told dad on Father’s Day.

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In the spirit of appreciating the wonderful fathers we’ve been fortunate to know, this week we wanted to share with you a few the things dear old dad has taught us over the years.

We asked a handful of people to complete one simple sentence:

My Dad taught me ____________________________.

The response to this request was great.

And funny.

And might have made our eyes water a bit, but we’d never let Dad see that.

1This week

 

My Dad taught me that he can take the chain off your bike if you do not get home on time for supper.

My Dad taught me that if someone is mad at you, you’ve done something. Look at yourself and your actions that could have caused their change towards you.

My Dad taught me to trust in God for everything.
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My Dad taught me if you ever feel lonely, eat in front of a mirror.

My Dad taught me that family is forever.

My Dad taught me there is no “I” in “TEAM”

My Dad taught me the key to a good birthday is low expectations.

My Dad taught me about 4-H and the FFA.

My Dad taught me to work hard, yet stay humble.

My Dad taught me that is isn’t a good idea to eat spinach with strangers.

My Dad taught me that the main thing is: don’t panic. He usually said this when I was about to have a full-blown panic attack.

My Dad taught me how to spot a sick calf, drive a tractor, throw a football, hit a baseball, and cast a line.

My Dad taught me how to be competitive, yet be a good loser at the same time.

 

Burley

 

My Dad taught me the value of family.

My Dad taught me what true dedication is, his love for us kids, and mom has always been his motivation to work extremely hard, and to never give up! There are times that he shoulda given up, but he knew that wouldn’t leave a lasting impression on us boys.

My Dad taught me how to serve.

My Dad taught me to love teaching.

My Dad taught me to be an individual, not to roll with the crowd for the popular opinion.

My Dad taught me to suck it up.

My Dad taught me that getting up early makes for a more productive day.

Farm Kid Hero

My Dad taught me to work harder – no one owes you anything.

My Dad taught me that you don’t have to agree with someone to be respectful towards them. A lesson that is really coming in handy this election year.

My Dad taught me how to overcome.

My Dad taught me the value in doing things the right way, even when it isn’t easy. As a rural veterinarian, he could have taken shortcuts many times when he knew people couldn’t pay for his services. Instead, he chose to take the high road and did the right thing for every animal that walked into that clinic. He accepted payment for those services in unconventional ways – we got vegetables from a garden, fishing gear, a gun or two, and lots of random tools and small equipment. Because of his hard work and dedication to serving the community, he’s well respected in our hometown and all the ones that surround it. People who grew up here and have moved away bring their pets home when they come to visit so that Dad can give them a check up!

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My Dad taught me to be a Purdue Boilermaker for life.

My Dad taught me to think before speaking.

My Dad taught me to be trustworthy and responsible.

My Dad taught me work ethic in such a way that as an adult I’ve never questioned getting a job done. Every able body should work.

My Dad taught me respect, determination, motivation and an everlasting love for Jesus.

My Grandpa (who basically was my dad) taught me that your word is who you are and what you’re all about. He also taught me that you have to work hard at everything you do in life. I carry both of these in my thoughts every single day and they have helped me get to where I am today.

 

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My Dad taught me how to work at a young age. We’re talking Child Protective Services involvement, young age.

My Dad taught me to always keep your word. Whatever you promised someone in whatever time fashion and for whatever dollar figure, you fulfill that. Even if it means you may lose money on this job, you may stay up all night long performing the task you thought would just take a few hours, you keep your word. The next time, learn from your mistake by giving yourself more time and/or quoting the job better, but always be a person of your word.

My Dad tried to teach me to use a stick shift…we had a lot of laughs but not much success…to this day I still struggle with taking off.

My Dad taught me to work hard in life in order to achieve your dreams. I always observed how hard he worked professionally to support my mother and 8 children and then at home how hard he worked to maintain our home and still find time to play with us, swim with us and take us on mini one-day vacation trips. Being the youngest child, I was at home with my parents after my father retired and we spent many nights just talking about life.  Oh how I miss that!

My Dad taught me how to be frugal. To this day I still take the hotel soap.

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My Dad taught me to never use a chainsaw by myself . . . ever.

My Dad taught me how to ride a bike, drive a car, how to bowl and to put peanuts in your coke bottle before drinking. An interesting man, my dad was!  I miss him.

My Dad taught me faith, love and laughter will bring you through anything.

My Dad taught me to have a sense of humor.

My Dad taught me to be stoic.

My Dad taught me that nothing in this world is free. You will have to work for everything that you get. It is not acceptable to rely on anyone else to support and provide for you or your family.

My Dad taught me to never grab a hot exhaust on a tractor.

My Dad taught me that my priorities should be in the following order: God, family and country. If I keep these in the right order I will live a prosperous and happy life. Also, no matter how far you have fallen God knows where you are and will listen to you if you only reach to him.

My Dad taught me that I was fortunate to be born into a good, trustworthy and hardworking family. It is my responsibility to hold up to that heritage and to raise my children to reflect the same values.

My Dad taught me to treat people the way that you would want to be treated.

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My Dad taught me basic, simple mathematics (or, tried to anyway).

My Dad taught me how to use a manual transmission at the risk of destroying it.

My Dad taught me that mom was always right.

My Dad taught me to drink beer and listen to baseball on the a.m. radio in the evening.

My Dad taught me I should always over-tip at a restaurant. If I can’t afford to tip well, I should eat at home.

My Dad taught me that you’ll never taste a better tomato than one right out of your own garden.

My Dad taught me not to do something just for the recognition.

My Dad taught me the value of making my passion my paycheck.

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My Dad taught me to never pee on an electric fence.

My Dad taught me that if all else fails, ask Siri.

My Dad taught me that men who respect their mothers respect their wives, being my mother.  This is a good trait to look for when searching for a husband.

My Dad taught me that cutting my brother’s hair was a bad idea.

My Dad taught me the importance of faith and instilling it in your children.

My Dad taught me to always be 15 minutes early to everything. Ten minutes early is five minutes late.

My Dad taught me to love the Lord and his church.

My Dad taught me there are two things I can always control: my effort and my attitude.

My Dad taught me be open to things that I don’t understand, don’t agree with or have never experienced. “Step outside your comfort zone and learn from what happens.”

My Dad taught me the importance of education, asking questions and learning.

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My Dad taught me how to drive a tractor.

My Dad taught me to never sweat the small stuff.

My Dad taught me how to fry a “juicy” egg. And yes, I get weird looks when I order my eggs this way in a restaurant today.

My Dad taught me to always do my best, no matter what I was doing.

My Dad taught me that a pretty smile is nice, but a strong backbone is the most admirable feature on a person.

My Dad taught me to swing a bat, dribble a basketball and serve a tennis ball, but with that also came an even more meaningful lesson in sportsmanship.

My Dad taught me by his actions and not his words. Always be friendly and cheery to others, volunteer at church, drink beer, throw parties and don’t take life too seriously.

My Dad taught me to have a sense of humor, to laugh at myself and always have a smile on my face.

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My Dad taught me to care about others.

My Dad taught me to “Say what you will do and do as you say”!

My Dad taught me to ride a bike, drive a car, throw a strike, shoot a gun and cut the grass.

My Dad taught me to be proud that I grew up on a farm and learned the value of hard work. While I didn’t always agree as a kid, I certainly think now as an adult there is no better way to grow up.

My Dad taught me to keep my credit and my last name clean.

My Dad taught me that if you’re going to be dumb, you better be tough.

My Dad taught me to be independent, but not to refuse someone’s help if I need it.

My Dad taught me the most important thing:

How to be a great Dad.

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We really hope you like your card.

 

 

 

 

Three Words of Advice to the Class of 2016

The oversized gowns are hung in closets never to be worn again and the caps have been tossed.

Last weekend we finally awarded our last 2016 Harvest Land Co-op Scholarship. This spring twenty outstanding high school graduates were granted $1,000 scholarships on behalf of our farmer-owned cooperative.

These very deserving students are pursuing post-high school agricultural degrees. They are, in fact, the future of agriculture. And a bright future, it is: Agriculture teachers, economists, animal chiropractors, nutritionists, veterinarians, broadcasters….the list of dream jobs coming out of this bunch is very promising. We also recognize employees’ children who graduated this spring and are pursuing post-high school education. From Indianapolis east to Dayton and Ft. Wayne south to Cincinnati, students from all over Harvest Land’s trade market are chosen annually.

And the winners are…

scholarships 2016

We wish the very best to each of these students as they leave behind the halls of the high schools where they’ve spent so many days and charge ahead into the next chapter. We just know they’ll shine.

Before these twenty up-and-comers leave their townships and move on into the world, we thought now might be a good time to give them just three quick bits of advice, on the occasion of their high school graduation.

We aren’t guaranteeing this advice will ensure Dean’s List status (sorry, parents), but we are certain it won’t hurt you.

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Be Punctual

Signing up for 4-H before the deadline.

Getting the corn planted in a short window of time.

Spraying before the rain comes but when the wind is just right.

Submitting your FFA SAE project on time.

Making hay while the sun shines, literally.

Cutting beans when moisture is right.

Selling when the market is high.

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Up to this point, your life in agriculture has been incredibly time dependent. You’ve seen first hand the importance of carrying out certain tasks in a timely manor and being quite intentional on timing.

Now – more than ever – it is important that you stay on time.

Class starts every day at a very specific time. It won’t wait on you.

Your professor starts teaching every day at a very specific time. They won’t wait on you.

Work starts every day at a very specific time. It won’t wait on you.

Be punctual.

Remember, in higher education and in agriculture, your being on time is quite important and affects so much around you. Don’t waste anyone’s time, especially your own. Be punctual.

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Introduce Yourself

Maybe you came from a tiny town, maybe you came from the suburbs. Maybe you hail from a class of 52, maybe you’re one of 328 graduates in your class. No matter where you’re coming from, you are about to enter a whole new world with thousands in the exact same boat as you: a freshman in college.

A new world.

A new place.

A new schedule.

A new set of classmates, friends and people that will feel more like family in a year.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself. To everyone.

Introduce yourself to every professor you have; they will sure be happy to put a face with a name and they won’t forget you.

Introduce yourself to the person standing behind you in line for the washing machine. You’re both probably missing your mother at that exact same time.

Introduce yourself to those strangers you happen to sit next to in class. They’ll become your study partners, source of explanations when you just don’t get it and the ones you’ll say “Merry Christmas!” to before driving home for a long Christmas break.

It matters not how big the class or campus is: No one knows the story within you. Make sure you tell it. Introduce yourself.

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Call Your Parents

This is important. I’m serious.

You may be going off to school three time zones away or staying at home and attending a community college. You may see your parents once at Christmas or every evening when you get home. Whatever your circumstance, don’t forget to communicate with your parents.

Call them.

Text them.

Send them a birthday card.

Tell them good morning.

Because while your life is taking off in a million different, exciting directions, and every day is a new adventure to you, they’re probably at home worried, wondering if you remembered to pack your umbrella.

One day you’ll understand.

Call your parents.

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Congratulations to each of our scholarship recipients,
but also to the entire Class of 2016.
We wish you the absolute best as you
continue to work towards each one of your goals.

Mark Your Calendar: Fueling Freedom

We invite you to run your gas tanks as low as you possbily can then cruise/roll into one of the following CountryMark stations on Friday, June 24 from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM for our Fueling Freedom event.

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Our Elwood, Connersville, Greenfield and Greenville, OH fuel stations are all particiapting locations for CountryMark’s 2016 Fueling Freedom event, which, for every gallon of fuel pumped during the event, CountryMark and Harvest Land will donate 50 cents to the local National Guard.

100% of the proceeds from Fueling Freedom will go to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups.

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Family Readiness Groups fund activities for troops and their families. Many of the Family Readiness Groups use their funds to host summer picnics, hold Christmas dinners, send packages to deployed soldiers, and offer after-school programs for children of American soldiers. This is the eighth year the CountryMark system has hosted Fueling Freedom events. In 2015, CountryMark’s Fueling Freedom program, which includes many farmer-owned cooperatives, raised more than $54,000 for local National Guard Family Readiness Groups.

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We encourage everyone to come out for Fueling Freedom, purchase CountryMark TOP TIER gasoline and premium diesel fuel, and register to win a $150 fuel card. One fuel card will be given away at each CountryMark fueling station participating in Fueling Freedom.

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Harvest Land’s Fueling Freedom goal is to
sell $2,500 gallons per station and donate
$1,250 to our local National Guard Family Readiness Program.

We invite you to come fill your tanks on June 24th from 12:00 – 5:00 for Fueling Freedom and support those who sacrifice so much for us.

Share this information with family & friends!

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If Not For Their Sacrifice

Memorial Day weekend in America: the unofficial start to summer.

It’s easy to get swept away in the spirit of the season: the sizzle of the grill, seeing some kind of light at the end of the tunnel in terms of planting (we’re optimists) and watching really fast cars make consistent left hand turns for nearly three hours.

Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Dario Franchitti

It is so easy to get swept away in those things, in fact, that we forget what the three-day weekend is really about: Honoring men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military. Memorial Day is about honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, our country and the lives we’re fortunate to live every day.

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t have the chance to play with our grandkids on the big old oak that has stood on the family farm, more than 100 years.

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t have a choice. A choice when making our own purchasing decisions. A choice when selecting fertilizer. A choice when filling our diesel tanks or choosing what lubricants to use to ensure our operation continues to run like a well oiled machine. Most days. 

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t have the opportunity to proudly – and freely – wave the American flag over our grain bins, fence lines  and from our combines.

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t be able to sit in the same creaky pew that our great-grandmother did every Sunday for 87 years.

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If not for their sacrifice our kids wouldn’t be able to stand in front of their peers and freely explain to the class just what it means to grow up on a farm.

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If not for their sacrifice we woudn’t be able to proudly cheer for the old Black & Gold.

Or Scarlet & Grey.

Or Cream & Crimson.

Or whatever color combination you’re into.

Is it football season yet?

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t have the opportunity to write our letters to the editor in our small hometown newspaper – or even the Farm World – publically expressing our praises and concerns.

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If not for their sacrifice we wouldn’t be able to attend parades on the main streets that serve as the backbone of our rural communities. We wouldn’t be able to march for causes we’re passionate about and throw candy to our neighbors and spend the day with our families celebrating the hometown spirit.

If not for their sacrifice our grandkids wouldn’t go to Vacation Bible School or Sunday School or proudly be a St. Mary’s Cub.

A Christmas Prayer

The people we remember on Memorial Day weekend
wrote a blank check made payable to
“The United States of America”
for an amount of
“up to, and including his/her life.”
And the check was cashed.

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This Memorial Day weekend, join us in honoring the selfless fallen.

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Rain Makes (More Than) Corn

Spring storms have been unforgiving in much of the country over the last week. Our trade area, which includes eastern Indiana and western Ohio, has seen its share of rain, but we’ve experienced nothing like the destruction that moved through Oklahoma. It’s always easy to complain throughout the day about not getting in the fields…until you turn on the NBC evening news and Lester Holt’s lead story covers the F4 tornados shredding the helpless Oklahoma plains.

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Untimely rain makes planting season tough.

Untimely rain makes farmers frustrated by slowing their progress.

Luke Bryan has a special (slightly annoying to some people) way of reminding country music listeners that rain also makes corn.

 

While that song painfully gets stuck in your head,

we thought this week we’d take a look at:

rain makes

Rain Makes Farmers Catch Up on Book Work

Some things seem to go by the wayside when the wheels start turning and thstack paperwork.jpge seed begins to drop – and book work is one of them. I mean really, who wants to sit at a desk and balance numbers, pay bills and sort paper to achieve some kind of order when you can be in the field? No one.

So when the rain falls, farmers kind of get forced to bring organization to chaos. You can only sit in the cab of your 8100 while the rain comes down outside for so long before you become the talk of the township.

Rain Makes Farmers Spend Money

While you’re in the office catching up on book work, it’s only fitting that you stop to look through a few magazines that have gone unread, maybe catch up on a few emails, perhaps search the web. You may even – as the rain continues – sit back in your chair and think of all the improvements that you’ve considered over the last six months to 25 years to advance your operation.

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To keep up with changing technology.

To set your son – or grandkids – up for success.

The rain, as it turns out, emits some sort of special signal to farmers to move forward with making plans and finalizing decisions and spending money. Where do you think the term “rainy day fund” came from? Rain can get spendy.

Rain Makes Farmers Reconnect

I met an industry partner for lunch at a restaurant on the other side of the county earlier this week. It was a rainy day, preceded by a rainy night, and the perfect time to sit down for a meal that didn’t come from a Ziploc bag. During our visit, a local farm family came into the restaurant and I couldn’t help but watch their arrival in, out of the rain. First through the door was the great-grandmother: the matriarch of a successful farm family. Behind her came the great-granddaughter, blonde ponytail and maybe five-years-old; her grandmother, who had held the door, followed the child. “Three generations of farm gals out for lunch,” I thought to myself, “What a fun day for them.

Only moments passed before the restaurant door opened again.

Then, the farmer walked in.

The son of the great-grandmother.

The husband of the grandmother.

The granddad of the five-year-old blonde.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself:

This multi-generational lunch made possible by none other than the falling rain.

While farmers may be getting grumpy (that phrase, by the way, is one way a farmer described himself this week, those are not the writer’s words!) because of all the May rains, these rains have certainly opened an opportunity for other important events to take place. They’ve allowed for farmers to step out of the cab, shop or field and reconnect with those so important to them. Planting Widows become married once again, if only for a few days while the rain comes down.

Rain makes time for life’s good stuff,
like enjoying lunch with your
88-year-old mother
and five-year-old granddaughter.

Rain makes corn. (OK, that was the last Luke Bryan reference, we promise).

Rain makes farmers catch up on bookwork.

Rain makes farmers spend money.

Rain makes farmers reconnect.

Rain, as it turns out, may not be so bad,
after all.

(We’re certain you’ll agree in July.)