Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers: Wehr Farms

Harvest Land is quite fortunate to work with numerous outstanding family farm operations in Indiana and Ohio. Annually we look forward to learning who the State Fair Featured Farmers are, because there is a high probability we work closely with one of two of them.

What an honor to be named an Indiana State Fair Featured Farmer. In its fourth year, this program celebrates and helps put a face on Hoosier agriculture by connecting consumers with farmers. The 17 farm operations selected in 2018 represent all regions of the state, showcasing different agricultural products throughout the 17-day fair, August 3-19.

Visitors to the Indiana State Fair can attend a live chat at the Glass Barn with a Featured Farmer every day of the fair, in addition to many other opportunities to talk with that day’s Featured Farm family and learn about their operation.

On August 19 the Featured Farmer is Wehr Farms from Fayette County. Monica Wehr is a  former FieldTech intern for Harvest Land, and is currently an ACE participant. Monica has been an outstanding asset to our cooperative and we very much appreciate her work ethic and passion for production agriculture.

This week, we invite you to learn more about the Wehr sisters from Fayette County and their drive to manage the family farm despite loss.

Wehr Sisters Take Family Farm Reins and Move Forward

It’s said strength of character is measured by how one reacts to adverse events or actions. It’s about doing what’s right or ethical even when that is the most difficult path to take. For Wehr sisters Monica, 21, and Morgan, 18, a career in farming was always a possibility – a “some day in the future” career aspiration. A year ago, “some day” became today for the Connersville, Indiana, sisters who grew up on the family farm their grandfather founded in 1953 and their father later took over.

“Farming is something I’ve loved since I was little. I was always with my dad and my grandpa even when I probably should have been at home and out of their hair,” says Monica. “I never expected to be running the farm this soon, but everything happens for a reason I guess.”

When their father unexpectedly died in June of 2017, the young sisters found themselves running their family’s farm with the help of their grandmother.

 

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“With our grandpa and dad both gone, there was no other option for us than to continue our family legacy,” says Morgan. Their resiliency is apparent in their day-to-day management of the hay farm and cow-calf operation that includes three bulls and 50 head of Angus and Angus-Charolais cross cattle.

All cattle are bred and raised on the farm until calves reach about 500 pounds. They are then sold as feeder cattle to a neighboring farmer. “We turn the bulls out July 4 and have calves starting the second week of April. We have about 50 calves born each year,” says Monica.

“When we wean calves, we use some supplemental feed to add more nutrients to their diet,” she says. “We graze nine months out of the year. The cows are never contained. They roam the pasture at will.” She points out “Our cows have a pretty good life. Our cattle are never mistreated. Calves get to roam with their moms in the pasture, and they are fed the high-quality hay we produce.”

The sisters also farm 185 acres of alfalfa and orchard grass with the help of Mitchell Pohlar, Monica’s fiancée, who was raised on his family’s nearby farm and now spends his days working at the Wehr’s farm.

They feed some of the hay to their cattle and sell the rest to area farmers.  “We’ve had the same three hay buyers for the past four years. They know the quality of our hay, and they come back for more every year,” says Monica.

The Wehr sisters continue their formal studies as well.  Monica is a student at Wilmington College in Ohio and Morgan graduates from high school in 2018 and is headed to Oklahoma State University this fall where she plans to major in agricultural education, where her hands-on learning will no doubt be beneficial.

“We grew up farming, accompanying our dad and grandpa to the crop fields and to the pastures for a great education,” says Monica.

As they triumph over adversity, Morgan reflects on the example set for them.  “Dad, grandma and grandpa set us up for success. Grandma has spent many hard hours out on the tractor, too, over the years.”

 

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Source: Indiana State Fair

Who is Harvest Land?: Randal Reese

Our Salute to Service program allows us to recognize the cream of the crop, top-notch quality people working behind the scenes of Harvest Land to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

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Randal Reese is the Operations Manager, Crops Support and Feed Specialist at our Oakville Ag Center and has worked at Harvest Land for 40 years. That 4-0 is not a typo!

Randal Reese

His main responsibilities include covering all areas of our Oakville branch, located just south of Muncie, west of IN-3. “All areas” includes scheduling custom application, invoicing customers and selling feed. He’s also served on our Safety Committee for 12 years.

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Randal ensures customer fields are custom applied in a timely fashion and invoiced correctly. His organization and attention to detail greatly improves the customer experience for those who utilize our Oakville location.

Randal’s favorite part of his job with the co-op is working with good people.

Randal has been a participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization he volunteers for is the First Brethren Church of Oakville. In his time outside work, Randal enjoys spending time with his beloved family.

 

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Who wouldn’t want to spend time with these kiddos?

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We recognize Randal because he was honored through our Salute to Service program, where he was nominated by four individuals for his outstanding customer service. In fact, he received the most nominations of any of our 300+ employees!

The nominations from customers are quite powerful. Take a look:

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese out of the Oakville location.  In growing sod we have different needs for fertilizers, or time of applications. Since we are spreading on 800+ acres of turf we do most all our selves, with a tractor and cart on flotation/turf tires. Randal and I communicate almost weekly on what our needs will be the next week. I try and maximize the applications in conjunction with the next rain fall. By talking with Randal regularly he can maintain adequate inventory of our most used product 46-0-0. Over the years, since the decision of moving all bulk dry fertilizers to Mt Summit, it has presented some challenges to get the product and have delivered on time where we need it. (some of these acres get fertilized every 6-8 weeks) Randal and your delivery people have generally made it happen.” – Robert Sharpe, Ameri-Turf GMgr, Anderson, IN

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese, the Operations Manager at Oakville, Indiana. I am a math teacher and farm a little bit part time. I buy fertilizer, Kent Feeds, Ritchie Waterer Parts, and Seed from Oakville (none of it in large quantities). Randal always is professional, courteous, and cares (about people and his job).  Even though I am a small time farmer, Randal makes me feel like he appreciates my business and me as a person. He keeps Oakville organized and running smoothly.  I believe Randal has been at that location for over 40 years (previously Farmer’s Co-op Oakville). Anyway, I do not think you could have a better employee or upstanding member of the community.  Whenever Mr. Reese retires from Oakville, he will be extremely difficult to replace.  I think he should win the Salute to Service Award! – Jason Hunt

“Randal is very professional and goes out of his way to help with whatever I need. I am a small farmer, but you could never tell that by the way he treats me and conducts business. I wanted to drill a cover crop, but couldn’t with the equipment I had available. Within an hour Randal had everything ready for me and I was able to operate. Outstanding employee!” – Jesse Landess

I am writing about an employee (Randal Reese) that has worked above and beyond his jobs yearly.  He is the voice at the Oakville office that answers when you call for any service.  He’s always willing to do the extra job to answer your question.  He is always an upbeat person no matter how hard a day he has had.  When he retires Harvest Land will not find it easy to replace this star employee. My husband and I have farmed for 48 years and he has always been our guy to go to when we needed help.” – Tim and Carol Spangler

Reese and Queen
Randal with miss Lora McDaniel in the Delaware County 4-H Queen Contest where she was crowned second runner up.

Randal is a fantastic asset on our team and the nominations he received from customers are a testament to that. His work ethic and commitment to meet every customer need really make him stand out in our agronomy business.

Finally, we asked Randal what three words he would use to describe Harvest Land. His response:

Great Employee Group

Those of us who work with – and know – Randal would agree that he’s one big reason why our employee group is, in fact, great.

 

 

You can submit entries for our 2018 Salute to Service contest by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

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Who is Harvest Land: Michele Robinson

Harvest Land has a lot of quality people working behind the scenes to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.who is harvest land_Robinson

Michele is the Tax Accountant in our Richmond Administrative office and has worked at Harvest Land for five and a half years. Her main responsibilities include management of fuel margins, fixed assets, inventory, seed product entry and census reporting.

While he role doesn’t plant her at an ag center or in a fuel truck working face-to-face with our customers, Michele helps keep prices down for our members by watching the bottom line. Think spreadsheets. Lots and lots of spreadsheets.

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Michele’s favorite part of her job with the co-op is resolving problems and assisting others.

What three words would she use to describe Harvest Land?

  1. Forward thinking
  2. Altruistic
  3. Community

Michele is an active participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization she volunteers for is Amigos, The Richmond Latino Center, Inc.. In her time outside work, Michele enjoys golf in the summer and swimming in the winter months.

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Here, Michele is pictured with her daughters, Myra, left, and Bridget on the right. Any Twilight fans out there? An interesting note about this photo, told by Michele:
They filmed the “Police Station” scenes from the Twilight movies at this Wauna Federal Credit Union building in Vernonia, Oregon. I grew up, Jr High and High School, in Vernonia and worked in this building when it was first built after graduating from high school in 1980.  At the time it was Farmers & Merchants Bank.  I recognized the inside of the building when watching the movie and from the scenery I could tell it was filmed in the Pacific Northwest. My daughters didn’t believe me at first but I had saved the newspaper article from the 1980’s when the bank opened, they agreed after seeing the pictures. I eventually confirmed with my sister, who still lives outside of Vernonia, that they had basically closed down the whole town, population 2500, when filming there for a week or so. 

Michele was voted second place in our 2017 Salute to Service program, where she was nominated by Sam Andrews of Dot Transportation for her outstanding work. Check out what Sam had to say about her:

I have been with Dot Transportation in Cambridge City, IN since the day we started construction of our building and have had countless experiences I could share about the great employees at Harvest Land. From the days when Mike Munchel came out twice per week to fill 10 reefer trailers in the freezing cold to today where we purchase over $3 million worth of diesel annually. I do have one extra special story about an exceptional employee you have that I want to share. Her name is Michele Robinson. Michele called me one day a while back and shared that she thought we are paying a fuel tax from which we were exempt. I shared that information with our Dot Accounting group and they were positive she was wrong … but Michele was persistent and insistent. She and I exchanged several emails and finally she said “would it be OK if I talked to someone in your account department?” She worked with our accounting group to help them understand the exemption. She didn’t have to. There was nothing in it for her or for Harvest Land. She could have let it go when we said “we think you’re wrong”, but she didn’t. Her persistence saved Dot Transportation over $400,000 in current year and past year taxes and continues to save us money today. Michele had also shared with us that she thought we could go back to previous years and get a tax rebate. She was right…again. She worked with Dot’s accounting group and helped us get through the red tape. This was the largest money saving project in the company that year …. And it would never have happened without Michele giving me a call that day. What I have always found amazing is that there was no benefit to her. No benefit to Harvest Land. She did it out of her outstanding commitment to doing the right thing for the customer. Its because of folks like Michele that I wouldn’t even consider buying our diesel from any other supplier. Thanks Michele and thanks Harvest Land for being a great business partner.

Submitted by Sam Andrews, Dot Transportation

We very much enjoy having Michele as part of our team because of her compassion for others, her outstanding work ethic and persistence to do her job quite well.

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Tammie Fox

Harvest Land has a lot of quality people working behind the scenes to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

who is harvest land

Tammie is the Receptionist/Credit Assistant in our Richmond Administrative office and has worked at Harvest Land for eight years. If you’ve ever called this office and hung up thinking, “That was the nicest person I’ve ever talked to in customer service,” you probably talked to Tammie……more on that, below.

Tammie fox

Her main responsibilities include answering phones,  entering in customer payments and  addressing commercial delinquents. Tammie assists with any questions members may have on billing, payment or new accounts. She then directs them to the appropriate place if she cannot answer their question.

Tammie’s favorite part of her job with the co-op is “getting to work with all the amazing people at Harvest Land and all of our members”.

What three words would she use to describe Harvest Land?

  1.  Knowledgeable
  2. Courteous
  3. Helpful

Tammie is an active participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization she volunteers for is the American Legion Auxiliary where she runs the concession stand at the Richmond Fireworks. In her time outside work, Tammie enjoys bowling,  throwing darts and spending time with family and friends whenever she can.

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Tammie (left) and her family

Earlier this month Tammie was honored through our Salute to Service program where she was nominated by three individuals for her outstanding customer service. Check out what Harvest Land customers had to say about her:

“Tammie at your front desk is just about the nicest and most helpful person I think I’ve ever dealt with. Always happy, nice, jubilant and willing to help with any questions I’ve ever had about my account with Harvest Land. She is also very knowledgeable about her job and I think she deserves the nomination.” – Mike Adkins, Road ReadyTammie Fox3

“I am an oil customer of Harvest Land’s and had trouble with my bill. Tammie at the front desk was so pleasant to work with as we got the issue straightened out. She helped me understand how the invoicing works and made me feel much better about the situation. She sure helped me a lot and was very curtious. ” – Rita Gabbard

“In today’s world of automated phones, it is such a pleasure to talk with Tammie Fox each time I call.  I have never met Tammie in person, but always recognize her friendly voice and wonderful laugh.  I always hang up with not only all my questions answered, but also with a smile on my face. If Tammie has ever had a “bad” day at work, no customer would ever know because of the pleasant and professional way she answers the phone.  In addition to all her required job skills, her phone skills are outstanding.  I am sure that any highly stressed customer who calls also has a smile on their face when they hang up the phone. As it often does, one question may lead to more questions.  Tammie has always been able not only to answer them all, but has never made me feel like my question were ever “dumb” (but I am sure many were).  Being raised in the city is so different from the country. Tammie needs to be recognized for a job ALWAYS well done and her excellent communication and people skills.  Tammie is truly an outstanding asset to Harvest Land.  If anyone deserves a cash prize and 2 vacation days, Tammie Fox is the one!!!” – Rita Mitchell, Ossian, IN

Tammie is a fantastic asset on our team and the nominations she received from customers are a testament to that. Her work ethic and positive attitude make her an outstanding  coworker in our Richmond office. Next time you call our Richmond office, be sure to say hello to Tammie!

 

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Laura Wood

Harvest Land has a lot of quality people working behind the scenes to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

who is harvest land

Laura is a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist in our Richmond office, and has worked at Harvest Land for 16 years.

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As a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist, her main responsibilities include processing all CountryMark invoices, processing all CFN (commercial fuel network) transactions and maintaining all CFN accounts/cards. Laura also maintains and processes the US Bank credit card accounts, processes all phone and internet bills and also answers the phone in the Richmond administrative office. WHEW!!

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She works directly with our membership by assisting with fuel card issues, accounting inquiries and addressing all general questions. Laura considers the best part of her job the people she interacts with daily.

What three words would she use to describe Harvest Land?

  1. Friendly
  2. Knowledgable
  3. Helpful

Laura is an active participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization she volunteers for is Pendleton Junior Baseball. In her time outside work, Laura enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and watching her grandson, Maxx, grow up way too fast while playing baseball and swimming.

laura Wood
She also enjoys playing guitar for legends like Johnny Cash. 
Or, just visiting Nashville with her husband.

Laura is a very hard worker and a pleasure to work with as part of the Harvest Land team. We’re glad to have her on board!

 

Don’t forget to nominate an outstanding employee for our Salute to Service program!

 

 

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Salute to Service

With more than fifty locations, it can be difficult to hear about all the great things happening within our cooperative, thanks in large part to our team of dedicated employees. As of late, we’ve had several members contact us regarding outstanding customer service from Harvest Land employees.

We appreciate this candid feedback from our members, and we want to keep it going. 

We’d like to invite you to participate in our Salute to Service program, which will recognize employees for a job well done.

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You can participate by sending us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees.

Share with us the instance of an employee going above and beyond, someone handling a difficult assignment with professionalism or an employee representing Harvest Land in an oustanding way.

We invite you to tell us

why an employee deserves to be

commended on a job well done.

 Fuel Delivery

In late fall, we’ll present the top Salute to Service entries to our employee base and ask them to vote for the best example of a Harvest Land employee exceeding expectations. The winner – as chosen by their peers – will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize and 2 vacation days. For the person that submits the winning entry? Well, they’ll walk away with $250.

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Keep a watchful eye this harvest season as the weather cools and don’t hesitate to contact us with your story/stories for Salute to Service.

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You can submit entries by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

Deadline to submit entries is November 8, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

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We look forward to hearing about all the great things our hard-working employees do to cultivate positivity in communities and keep our cooperative business strong for the next generation.

 

 

 

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