Chamber Chat featuring Harvest Land

The Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce recently called the office and asked Harvest Land to appear on their weekly Chamber Chat series, which highlights upcoming community events and businesses. Typically, we’d go to a small TV studio on the campus of IU East to do this interview, but because of COVID-19, this was done virtually through Zoom. 

During the interview, we were able to give a general overview of our cooperative business, discuss how we handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and also how the pandemic will go on to affect us down the road. There is so much to consider daily as we navigate today to prepare for the future in this changing world.

“Wow. Every time I talk to someone from Harvest Land, I learn something new about what you’re doing and who you’re serving, and it seems like that number just continues to grow,” responded Roxie Deer, Director of Professional Development.

While there are many pressing things that cover our desks, truck dashes, and to-do lists at work, we think it is still important to answer these calls in order to tell our story. Not only because of our rich history in countless small communities in Ohio and Indiana, but also because we have a lot to offer.

We kept construction projects running by fueling machines when other areas of the country shut down. We hired more than 70 employees when other businesses laid people off during COVID-19. We continued to make huge contributions to fire departments with grain rescue tubes to ensure they’re prepared to serve communities. Our work doesn’t slow down and we’re quite fortunate to employ more than 300 people who have never let their foot off the gas since March. 

This week we invite you to watch the interview, now on YouTube. The first part talks about the approaching Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce Farm Tour. We’re proud to sponsor this annual event which is organized to educate the general public on all areas of agriculture. It will be held at The Barn at Helm on August 27 (REGISTER HERE!)

If you fast forward to 12:20 you can watch our interview and learn even more about our evolving business climate.

 

 

 

 

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Southern Preble County No Longer without Life-Saving Equipment

This week Harvest Land donated a grain rescue tube to Gratis Fire Department, located in southern Preble County, Ohio.

The grain tube will be added to their rescue equipment, while a grant is in the works to get a grain vac to help remove grain from a person trapped inside a bin.

Lt. Bryan Bowling stated, “We hope we never have to use it, except during training exercises, but we are very grateful to receive this. Prior to the donation, the closest one was in Gasper Township, over 15 minutes away.”

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Pictured right to left: Nikki Bulach, Harvest Land Associate Risk Manager,  Lt. Bryan Bowling, head of technical rescue team, Assistant Chief Patrick Caplinger, Lt. Jason Vincent, and Captain Jim Kolonis. 

The Gratis Fire Department is an all-volunteer fire department, consisting of 45 volunteers from the local area. Within the fire department’s jurisdiction, there are approximately 50 grain bins, either privately owned or small businesses, with more grain storage being added.

To date, Harvest Land has donated nine grain rescue tubes and three rope rescue kits throughout our trade territory as part of our ongoing commitment to Cultivate Communities.

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Grain Rescue Tube Donation to Richmond Fire Department

Harvest Land Co-op recently learned of a lack of grain entrapment rescue equipment in the area, and on Monday, July 13 we met that need with a donation of a grain rescue tube to the Richmond Fire Department.

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 Pictured left to right are Lindsay Sankey, Harvest Land Communications Manager, Andrew Buckler, RFD Training Chief, Butch Shiebla, Harvest Land Hagerstown Ag Center Manager, Chris O’Neil, RFD Assistant Chief and Nikki Bulach, Harvest Land Associate Risk Manager.

Total grain engulfment takes a mere twenty seconds. Grain rescue tubes are designed for trench entrapment as well as grain rescue and extraction. The panels of the tube can be reversed to allow first responders to make a wall or a tube from the panels. The sleek finish allows the panels to slide easily into grain, removing the grain from around the victim to relieve pressure as quickly as possible.

There are more than 700 active farms in Wayne county according to the 2017 US Agriculture Census. While there are no farms in downtown Richmond, the Richmond Fire Department has the largest ladder trucks in the county, a trained rope rescue squad and often serves as a mutual aid department to rural fire departments.

In each local community, city and rural fire departments work together to respond with mutual aid. Each department cannot financially afford to be equipped for grain rescue, rope rescue kits, large ladder trucks, and beyond, so within a county, more than one department will respond and assist other departments with equipment and personnel as needed.

To date, Harvest Land has donated seven grain rescue tubes and three rope rescue kits throughout their trade territory, which stretches from Indianapolis east to Dayton, OH and Fort Wayne south to Cincinnati.

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“Harvest Land is committed to safety and ensuring that our first responders are equipped with the tools necessary to save a life if they get called out to a grain entrapment,” remarked Scott Logue, Harvest Land CEO. “Through education and training in many communities, we hope we can encourage local farmers to pause and recognize the many potential hazards of the agriculture profession and plan their work safely. When a grain entrapment call goes out in a community, someone’s parent, child, spouse or grandparent is in immediate and great danger.”

Grain entrapment deaths are preventable. In a 12-month period, two adult men and a child were lost due to grain entrapment in Harvest Land’s trade territory. As a company, we are committed to hosting trainings for fire departments, 4-H groups, and local FFA chapters through our cultivating communities initiative. Our Risk Management team has hosted six grain safety and rescue trainings at our facilities for first responders. In 2019 Harvest Land trained 19 fire departments in the area of grain safety and rescue. Through those trainings, more than 160 first responders were educated and trained properly for grain entrapment in rural communities.

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Andrew Buckler, RFD and Chris O’Neil, RFD Assistant Chief were both present during the donation. “Thank you very much, said Buckler, “We hope we never have use this, but we’re very thankful to have it,”

The donated grain rescue tubes are built in Plain City, Ohio by Gingway Products, Inc., a small welding and fabrication business that saw a need to help the agriculture community.

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Harvest Land Helping Bulldogs

We were recently approached by a community member who works with Bulldogs Helping Bulldogs, which is a group comprised of the 5 local Centerville Churches.  Prior to the pandemic, the churches were starting a cooperative focused on helping fund after school tutoring for families who could not afford it and to pay off lunch debt for students so they could continue to receive school lunches. When schools closed, they refocused their efforts to feeding students in need.

The Centerville school system received approval to provide 10 meals a week through May 20th. They continue to work alongside schools to provide supplemental food during this school break and now provide fresh and pantry foods one time a week to cover the 11 meals per week not covered by the school.

The need for food has grown weekly and in order to provide supplemental food to over 400 students, their recent cost was approximately $1500. This money purchased fresh and pantry food from Gleaners food bank in Indianapolis.  As long as hungry students come to the distributions, they hope to continue to provide them with food through this time of crisis, but they’re running out of funds.

Harvest Land partnered with Land O’Lakes to contribute $1,500 towards Bulldogs Helping Bulldogs so these students could continue to receive meals for another week. As a farmer-owned co-op, we’re awfully passionate about feeding people, especially those in our hometowns.

If you want to learn more about the Bulldogs Helping Bulldogs program or to make a donation to ensure a meal for a child, we invite you to visit their Facebook page.

We’re operating with many unknowns in the world today, but one thing we believe strongly in is that no child should go hungry. We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes and Bulldogs Helping Bulldogs during this time to cultivate communities and keep kids fed.

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Hunger Knows No Season

On this week of Thanksgiving, Harvest Land and Land O’Lakes partnered to donate $2,000 to the Monthly Food Ministry organized by the Centerville United Methodist Church in Wayne County.

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We made a similar donation in 2018 during the warm summer months, but when the church reached out and said more and more families are in line every month and the need was again great, we knew we must help because hunger knows no season. 

Who Will This Donation Serve?

Since their first Monthly Food Ministry in September of 2017, the number of families they support has steadily increased. In 2018, they averaged 65 families a month, but in November of 2019, 91 families came through the door to receive assistance.

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They purchase food for the food ministry from Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and buying food for approximately 65 families costs around $1,000 per month. The vast majority of that cost has come from the faithful contributions of the members and friends of the Centerville United Methodist Church, but as their assistance numbers go up, so do costs to Gleaners. It only makes mathmatical sense that they must budget more dollars per month to purchase food from Gleaners, so our $2,000 contribution helps to fill that gap.

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Jared Martin, Harvest Land CFO, (front right) presents the check on November 25 at the church. 

The church keeps no record of where the families they serve come from as they want a completely open food ministry, but they do know that families are coming from Cambridge City, Pershing, Richmond, and elsewhere.

So, Where Will $2,000 Go?

100% of the $2,000 will go to purchase food from Gleaners for future Monthly Food Ministries. The food that the food bank pays for from Gleaners includes canned goods, boxed items, and other items that can be stored on the shelf.  Occasionally, Gleaners offers MotherEarthNews_FallVegetableHarvest_Oct_20131meat and dairy products (milk, butter, eggs, yogurt), but they are limited right now by refrigeration and are currently in the process of creating a “cold room” in the church food room.  This project should be finished sometime in December.  They also get produce from Gleaners, but produce is usually provided at no cost. While Gleaners is their main source of produce, it is not their only. They also get produce from local growers, the Amish auction in northern Wayne County, and the Community Garden at the ARC Center in Richmond.

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Have Food, Will Travel

When necessary, the Monthly Food Ministry will deliver, and every month there is at least one family that needs transportation. They revealed to us that last summer a lady and her two daughters walked a great distance from a trailer park to receive food. Rather than make her carry two or three heavy boxes/bags back on a busy highway, they loaded her up in a pick-up truck and transported her, her daughters, and her food back home.

Too often the food ministry group hears, “I don’t know what I would do without this food.”  Almost all of the folks receiving food are overly grateful for the assistance.

We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide this hunger relief assistance in the Centerville area this holiday season.

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2019 Habitat for Humanity Build

Those along the rural route are the type of people who care for and look out for each other.

We bring dinner when new babies arrive or matriarchs pass.

We help get cattle back in when fences go bad or bale hay when machinery breaks down and rain is on the way.

Our kids do the neighbors’ chores when they finally go on vacation and our grandparents cut out articles from the weekly newspaper when they think parents may need an extra copy.

So it should be no surprise when we tell you that 2019 marks the 10th Habitat for Humanity Ag Build at the Indiana State Fair. During years one through five, they built one house per year during the span of the fair. Then, in year six the goal was taken to the next level and since that time two homes are built during the fair, annually.

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Harvest Land was proud to send four employees to work alongside employees from five other cooperatives. For a day of home building, sponsors are asked to make a $10,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity. This is not a small donation so it makes a big difference that member cooperatives were able to work together to share in the cost.

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Troy Miley, Controller; Kent Van Meter, Rushville Ag Center Manager; Danielle Baumer, HR Support and Julie Lamberson, Risk Manager.

Jason Haney, Site Superintendent, told us that this is the only State Fair in the United States in which there is a Habitat for Humanity partnership and a whole home build happens.

And Harvest Land is a part of it!

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Community service fuels the rural American spirit. We readily step in when needed and certainly aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. We’ll all agree that there is a certain satisfaction found when lying down for the night knowing that you helped someone in need. That is Cultivating Communities. That is Harvest Land.

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Photo Friday: Fueling Freedom 2019

CountryMark’s 2019 Fueling Freedom event was a success at our Elwood, Greenville, Greenfield, Oxford and United Energy locations. We’re proud to partner with CountryMark on this event that does so much for the families of soldiers. More than $57,000 was raised across all participating CountryMark stations. 

We thought this Facebook post from a CountryMark employee encapsulates the value in this event:

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Here is a breakdown of our results:

Greenfield Store: 1990 gallons and $203 in donations

Elwood Station: 355 gallons

KDS Oxford: 1906 gallons and $614 in donations

Greenville Station: 1896 gallons

United Energy: 2738 gallons and $178 in donations

Today’s Photo Friday offers a glimpse of the day!

Many thanks to all who participated. 

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Empowering Youth: Hancock County Farm Bureau 4-H Safety Day

Harvest Land believes that 4‑H empowers young people to be true leaders with confidence, the ability to work well with others, can endure through challenges, and will stick with a job until it gets done. In 4‑H, we believe true leaders aren’t born – they’re grown. 4-H also teaches our youth leadership skills and responsibility that they will use for a lifetime.

Harvest Land is proud to be a part of educating our youth in all corners of our trade territory. We recently participated in the Hancock County Farm Bureau 4-H Safety Day, sponsored by Farm Bureau at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Presenters for the day included:

  • Harvest Land, presented by Julie Lamberson
  • Hancock County Sheriff’s Dept
  • 911 Dispatch
  • Proper Food Handling
  • Koening Implements
  • Greenfield Fire Dept
  • Indiana DNR

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Harvest Land employee Vickie Ramsey is the leader of Country Kritters 4-H Club, and has been a 4-H leader in Hancock county for 16 years! She was there with “her kids” for a day of education and leadership building. We admire Vickie’s dedication to empowering Hancock County youth to be the best they can be.

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We’re proud to be invited to this kind of event, and also have strong represntation from our employee base. 

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Many thanks to Dawn Wallace and Julie Lamberson for supplying these photos.

 

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Ohio Grain Entrapment Training

Last Saturday Harvest Land hosted Oxford, West College Corner, Milford Township, Hanover Township, Seven Mile, St Clair and Riley Fire Departments for grain entrapment training in Ohio. The training allowed emergency personnel to practice using grain tube equipment for entrapments in gravity wagons, as well as in a large freestanding pile.

The training occurred at our College Corner Ag Center. Many thanks to the crew from College Corner and Seven Mile for organizing the event and giving up a Saturday for this training, as well as their participation.

As part of the training day, Harvest Land also donated a grain rescue tube to the Oxford Fire Department,  which would be the responding department for our College Corner facility.

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We would like to thank all the participating departments

for their dedication to the safety of our farm families.

 

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Grain Rescue Tube Donated in Butler County

Harvest Land recently donated a grain rescue tube to the Milford Township Fire Department in Butler County, Ohio. The department needed the equipment to perform grain rescue should the emergency arise.

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Harvest Land manager Tom study organized the donation.

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Grain rescue training with multiple fire departments in Butler County is set to take place at the College Corner Ag Center later this month. Harvest Land is happy to host such an event that could aid so many in a time of need.

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As part of our Cultivating Communities effort, Harvest Land continues to donate equipment and assist in training to protect farm families in our trade territory.

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