As this entry is being written, the country awaits news on the arrival of Hurricane Florence entering the United States and pounding the east coast in unprecedented ways. From states away, we watch the news coverage to see residents evacuating the area and others staying in their homes, preparing for the unimaginable.
Coverage has included communities coming together to help one another before the worse even arrives. We’ve seen families, teams, and towns boarding windows and doors, delivering supplies, filling sand bags and beyond.
That is the positive side of disaster or hard times: Finding the helpers:
Harvest Land recently acted as helpers, in our own back yard:
On Friday, September 7, Lynn, Indiana received heavy rains dumping a couple inches on the rural community in less then an hour. This was followed by a lighter, steady rain that lasted several hours.
At 5:07 PM, an alert went out to Lynn residents asking for help filling sandbags. That call was answered by Randolph Ag Center in Lynn who provided a front end loader and an operator to assist in the efforts.
Finally, at approximately 9:00 PM Friday night, two dump truck loads of sand – 1,000 bags – had been bagged, stacked and positioned for residents’ use.
Our hope is certainly that we never need disaster preparation or relief, but if we do, we’ll continue to be a part of taking care of the communities in which we live and work however we’re able as your local, farmer-owned cooperative.
Earlier this month Harvest Land employees traded office hours for hammers and worked on the Habitat For Humanity house at the Indiana State Fair. Our cooperative partnered with Land O’Lakes and four other farmer-owned co-ops throughout Indiana to make progress on this house which will benefit a local family in need.
Tiffany Miller and Kent VanMeter from Rushville, Royce Cook from Mt. Summit, Troy Miley from Richmond and Curt Naylor, Region Manager all represented Harvest Land.
“I feel like it’s our obligation to be supportive in our communities and help people who are in need. As a farmer-owned company, we should give back.” says Scott Logue, Harvest Land CEO.
Their devoted time to community service proves that we can all cultivate communities in different ways, even if not directly in our back yard.
Each year, in partnership with the Indiana State Fair, Habitat for Humanity builds two houses during the two weeks of the State Fair, all on the fairgrounds. 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 Ceres Solutions, North Central, Harvest Land, Co-Alliance and Premier Companies were able to work together to share in the cost.
We very much appreciate these five and their commitment to serving others and representing Harvest Land’s values well in Indianapolis. We’re proud of the work they did on behalf of our co-op.
As part of our commitment to cultivate local communities, Harvest Land recently donated $1,000 to the Centerville United Methodist Church food pantry for their food ministry, then applied for – and was granted – a matching $1,000 grant from Land O’Lakes. A total of $2,000 was donated for the monthly food ministry, as well as the on-demand food pantry where families can receive food assistance any day of the work week by calling the church office.
The United States Department of Agriculture defines “Food Deserts” as parts of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. Centerville and certain rural areas of Wayne County unfortunately fall into this category.
The Centerville United Methodist Church Monthly Food Ministry was created in an effort to alleviate this problem in our own back yard. They team with Gleaners Food Bank, Inc. of Indiana to provide canned and boxed food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. Since beginning their monthly food ministry in September 2017, they’re assisting over sixty local family units each month.
The hunger epidemic can seem so far away when we hear about it on the news. But it really hits home when you realize it affects neighbors in our rural communities.
We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide a bit of assistance in the Centerville area this summer, especially while children are home for summer and not able to receive school-prepared meals.
Our story of Cultivating Communities across our trade territory continues, as we attended the Hancock County Ag Safety Day on April 14, which was hosted by Hancock County 4-H.
The children rotated through several stations hosted by various community groups, such at Nine Star Connect, Canine Castaways Rescue, Greenfield Fire Territory and more. Harvest Land employee Vickie Ramsey was instrumental in organizing the day.
The Harvest Land station educated sixty 4-H members about grain safety. Specific topics included grain entrapment as well as auger and PTO hazards.
Today’s Photo Friday includes a few shots from our work with the youth of Hancock County.
The small (some might say tiny) towns that dot the country side within our trade territory are special to us. Their small-scale grid of streets that travel out past the town limits eventually become the rural routes where our homes sit.
The diners, post offices and parts stores that keep the commerce going are staffed with folks invested in these Midwestern burgs. The volunteers that give up their nights and weekends to answer the call of duty when an emergency erupts are our family, friends and former classmates. These are a few of the reasons why Harvest Land works to cultivate communities when we see an area of need.
Ohio has been a focus point for us to cultivate as of late.
Harvest Land recently donated a grain rescue tube to the Eldorado, Ohio fire department. The department needed the equipment to perform grain rescue should the emergency arise. Central Ohio manager, Adam Culy, organized the donation and also recognized a need for rescue training with multiple Ohio fire departments.
So, in mid-March 35 firemen from the Eldorado, New Madison, West Manchester and New Paris fire departments performed a joint grain entrapment training at our Eldorado Ag Center. This Photo Friday includes some shots from that event.
Seven Harvest Land employees were present for the training: Bob Brunk of Pitsburg, Gary Davis of Harvest Land Transportation, Adam Culy of Central Ohio Ag, Luke Dull of Eldorado, John Ott of Eldorado and Julie Lamberson and Nikki Pyott of Risk Management.
We are thankful that our rural communities have so many volunteer firemen with courage to serve. Harvest Land is committed to providing resources to help our local departments.
At the beginning of each fiscal year (September 1 – August 31), we encourage our employees to volunteer 8 hours of community service to a cause that is important to them for our Cultivating Communities program. Once eight hours is racked up (time seems to fly when you’re helping others) Harvest Land then donates $75 to the non-profit which the employee volunteered their time.
It is gratifying to learn about the places and groups that our employees dedicate their time away from the office. Here is a list of organizations that benefited from our employees’ time:
Fortville Church of the Nazarene
Colliers Heating & Air
First Mennonite Church
Adams Co. Purdue Extension Office
Adams County Herb Club
Decatur Fire Dept.
American Legion Post 160
C & C Bible Fellowship
Lewisville Presbyterian Church
Tri-Village Athletic Dept.
Wayne Co. 4-H Association
Cody Holp Memorial
Preble Co. Pork Festival
Pitsburg Lion’s Club
Darke Co. Humane Society
Talawanda Athletic Boosters
Monroe Twp Food Bank
Northeastern Junior High School
Queen of Peace Church
Chas. A. Beard School-Class of 2021
Adams Co. Wabash Workers 4-H Club
Country Kritters 4H Club
Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen
First Church of Christ
Pleasant Valley Cemetery
Champaign Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc.
Jay County FFA
Praise Point Church
Crushing Chiari, Inc.
Greenhills Baptist Church
Princeton Pike Church of God
Trinity Wesleyan Church
Eaton First Church of God
Brownsville U.M. Church
Randolph Southern School Corp.
Royal Family Kids’ Camp
First Presbyterian Church Youth
American Legion Auxilary
Pack Away Hunger and Christian Charities Backpack Blessings
Eaton Church of the Brethren
Centerville Youth League
Grace Community Church
St. Thomas Church
Fountain City Weslyan Church
St. Mary’s School
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Western Wayne Schools
Richmond Family YMCA
Wayne Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc./4-H
Pendleton Junior Baseball
New Madison Community Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
Friends of the Preble Co. Park District
Preble Co. YMCA
Pleasant View Missionary Church
Union Co. Foundation-Troy Gulley Memorial Scholarship
Fiscal year 2017 has concluded and we’re excited to share with you the footprint our employees left in their communities over the last year, spending their time improving the small towns we call home.
And the final 2017 results are as follows…
We offer a sincere thank you to our employees who participated in the Cultivating Communities program in 2017.
One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time,
Hancock County Farm Bureau is the proud sponsor of the 2017 Safety Day for youth enrolled in 4-H programs in Hancock County. Annually the Farm Bureau works with local police and fire departments, EMTs and local businesses to come up with relevant safety topics for area youth.
Participants rotate through stations and are given materials to take back to share with their local 4-H Clubs.
Harvest Land employees were happy to spend their Saturday at this event, as it allows us to cultivate safety education in the communities in which we live and serve.
2017 presenters included:
Harvest Land – Julie Lamberson – Grain Safety
Greenfield Fire Department – Fire Extinguisher Safety
Hancock Regional Hospital – Linda Garriety – Safe Sitter Program
Smith Implements – Mower and ATV Safety
Harvest Land & Fayette County Honor Society – Earth Day & Recycling Safety
Purdue Extension – Megan Addison – Food safety
We appreciate any invitation to educate the youth in our area,
especially when it comes to safety in agriculture.
Sometimes it’s good to remember that part of our fabric isn’t limited to corn, soybeans, diesel and propane.
The cooperative roots of service run deep and span miles throughout the communities in which we do business. Appropriately, of course, since our business is built on the cooperative spirit of helping one another reach a common goal.
Harvest Land believes in a culture which reflects the importance of service to others, and we created our Cultivating Communities program to allow that culture to thrive. Cultivating Communities encourages Harvest Land employees to volunteer eight service hours annually to organizations that align with her personal values.
Pack Away Hunger is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and others who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. It’s a group that our farmer-members and employees have become familiar with over the last three years, as we’ve partnered with local churches and FFA chapters to pack meals that went on to local food banks and also Mission Guatemala.
In March twenty-three churches, nine FFA chapters, various community organizations and Harvest Land Co-op employees and farmer-members partnered for the 5th annual Pack Away Hunger event, which packaged 162,216 nutritious meals to be distributed. The meals went specifically to Gleaner’s, Midwest Food Bank and eleven more local community food pantries which will receive between 1,000 to 10,000 meals, depending on their size and the area they cover.
The meals, which more than seven hundred volunteers prepared over multiple shifts, were formulated to provide a rich source of easily digestible protein, carbohydrates and vitamins needed by a malnourished body. They consist of high-quality white rice, fortified soy, a blend of six dehydrated vegetables and twenty-one vitamins and minerals. They’re packaged in fourteen-ounce bags.
Part of Harvest Land’s purpose is to do what’s right while utilizing technology, science and hard work to feed a growing world. We really cannot think of a better organization of which to partner to align with our cooperative’s purpose. We had several employees spend their Saturday at Pack Away Hunger, working towards a common goal to take care of one another. It’s what rural communities do, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
But what happens after the Pack Away Hunger Event? After the bags are sealed and the trucks are loaded and the hair nets – beard nets for some Harvest Land employees – are tossed in the trash never to be seen again? How do those eight hours committed by our farmer-members and employees go on to serve others?
Here is one example. You can see the local Western Wayne FFA chapter working at First Church in Hagerstown to distribute food during the monthly mobile food pantry. Part of this offering was food that we packaged at Pack Away Hunger.
And just last week we received these photos directly from Guatemala:
The following were taken at ‘Tat Loy’ a drug and alcohol rehab center in San Lucas – Toliman. This particular location is a recipient of the rice meals that we packed for their residents. There are more than 72 individuals at the facility currently.
Right now the building is a two story building with a small deck on the roof but they are expanding the second story and building a full covered deck on the roof, which will become the third floor, to serve more occupants. In these photos they are building a frame around the a rebar column in advance of pouring a concrete column that will eventually support the upper floor.
We thought it pretty special that the meals we packed one morning earlier this spring are not only feeding neighbors who may typically go without, but also the people of Guatemala whom we’ll likely never have the opportunity to meet.
We’re doing what’s right while utilizing technology, science and hard work to feed a growing world. Sometimes, that includes hairnets, cups of rice and assembly lines rather than 16-row planters and seed tenders.