785 Years of Service

785 years.

That is the total number of years of service our 2018 honorees have dedicated to Harvest Land Co-op. Annually we recognize employees by five-year increments and thank them for their continued work on our cooperative’s behalf. At the Christmas party in December, we recognized the following individuals.

According to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in November 2018,  the average number of years that wage and salary workers have worked for their current employer is currently 4.6 years. With that statistic, we’re quite proud to honor the following folks for their commitment to Harvest Land.

Note that not all honorees were in attendance. 

5
Five Years

Five Years of Service:

Teri Dunlavy Richmond
Kipp Huth Junction LP
Shannon Bodey Lena Ag
Sara Nave Lena Ag
Kyle Brooks Central Crops
Brigette Mauck North Crops-Durbin
Troy Bane YieldPro
Tim Hammond YieldPro
Curt Naylor Reg. Mgr./Seed
Garet Ribel Decatur
Cindy Kay Richmond Energy
Tim Gibbs Kalmbach
James Thompson Versailles
Nicole Pyott Risk Dept.
10
Ten Years

Ten Years of Service:

Steve Miller West Liquid Fuels
Darren Klein Pershing
Jeff Riester Central Crops
Tiffany Miller Rushville
Robert Moore Rushville
David Williams Rushville
Mike Hartsock Rushville
John Rines Limberlost
Royce Kukelhan Limberlost
Joe Werling Williams
Dennis Mount Ohio Energy
Terry Miller Ohio Energy
15
Fifteen Years

Fifteen Years of Service:

Mike Klein Hagerstown
Lance Eyler Transportation
Mark Smith R&F
20
Twenty Years

Twenty Years of Service:

Vickie Fleenor Richmond
Duane Brooks Hagerstown
Henry Branscum Jr. Monroe LF
Mike Reed YieldPro
Bob Newhouse Director
25
Twenty-Five Years

Twenty-Five Years of Service:

Michael Chalfant Junction LP
Jay Scharnowske Junction LP
Tim Lanman Pershing
Ivan Brumbaugh Transportation
Greg Hayes Richmond LF
Jeff Osborn Richmond LP
Todd Duncan Ohio Energy
30
Thirty Years

Thirty Years of Service:

Susan Metzger Randolph Ag
Jamie Cressman Decatur
Brian Becker Director
Tom Tucker Director

Thirty-Five Years of Service:

Brent Stang West LF
David Taylor YieldPro
40
Forty Years

Forty Years of Service:

Mark Garretson North Crops
45
Forty-Five Years

And finally, Forty-Five Years of Service:

Stan Hicks Richmond

We asked Stan Hicks, our Chief Operations Officer, about his forty-five years at Harvest Land. Here are a few words from him:

“It’s been amazing to look back over the years and see how the farmers within our trade territory have banned together, consolidated their 19 co-ops into one very solid cooperative and established an organization that works for their long-term well-being in the agricultural community.”

 

“The Cooperative System has been for me, and many others, a long-term career in the field of agriculture when the means were not afforded to be a farmer that planted, harvested and marketed their own production.”

We offer sincere thanks to Stan and all others who celebrated another year with Harvest Land. We truly appreciate you.

 

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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?

ladder

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.

rock in field

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.