Our 2018 Answer Plot, held on August 15 at our Pershing Plot, had a tremendous turnout. We were excited to spend the morning with our farmer-owners to offer agronomic insight and technology updates to so many.
This Photo Friday covers the event. Enjoy a look at the day:
All photos taken by Dusty Mayberry, Support Staff at our Mt. Summit location. We’re grateful for her many talents!
On Tuesday night Harvest Land was a sponsor of the 2018 Wayne County Rural Urban Banquet. This is a treasured tradition in the area, where people who dwell within the city limits share a meal and fellowship with those who make a living out on a country mile. For decades this event has brought farmers, business owners, elected officials and rural route residents to the table. It is a very popular event in east central Indiana.
This year was special in that the keynote speaker was Zippy Duvall, President of the National Farm Bureau Federation. Zippy is a third-generation farmer from Georgia. In addition to a 400-head beef cow herd for which he grows his own hay, Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, also grow more than 750,000 broilers per year. Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A? Chances are you enjoyed one of his birds.
Zippy delivered a fantastic address regarding the current state of government affairs in Washington and the issues on the table that will matter in agriculture, and in turn affect the food on tables in homes and restaurants. Though a large majority of the evening crowd may feel a disconnection to agriculture, the truth is that it affects nearly every aspect of their life, including food, clothing, energy and more.
Many are familiar with the fact that only 2% of Americans farm today. Decades ago nearly every American family tended a garden because they had to; they depended on it year-around for fresh and canned produce. Today, most who have a garden do so because they enjoy the work and art of growing food for their family to enjoy. Gardens are no longer mandatory for feeding a family (much like 20 hens, a dairy cow, a beef steer, a hog, etc. also were) because the two-percent grow enough for food the rest of us.
The 2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do other things.
Other things, such as a chef who prepares a meal for new, exhausted parents who haven’t left the house in more than three weeks.
Other things, such as the 911 dispatcher who calmly answers the phone and talks to a terrified stranger on the other end of the line.
Other things, such as the child protective services employee who removes a child from an unimaginable home situation.
Other things, such as the librarian who encourages a child to put down an iPad and pick up a book, opening up a whole new world.
Other things, such as the generator installer who worked all night so a doctor’s office had restored power by the time the doors opened at 7:30 AM.
Other things, such as the fraud prevention officer at the bank who watches account information so that money within savings accounts stay there.
Other things, such as the fire fighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running out.
Other things, such as the loan officer who finds the way to loan a few bucks to a newlywed couple trying to buy their first home.
Other things, such as the tow truck driver who doesn’t sleep when snow falls, roads freeze or potholes get the best of another highway traveler.
2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do so many other, important things.
While 2% and 98% seem awfully off balance, if you consider the many admirable things others do outside of agriculture, you’ll realize that the work tends to balance. Harvest Land is grateful to be a part of events, such as the Rural Urban Banquet, that allow us to come together for an evening and remember that.
Last week a group of Harvest Land farmer-members and employees attended the Land O’Lakes Annual meeting in Minneapolis. During this meeting our representative group was part of the launch of Growth for Advocacy.
Growth for Advocacy is a program based around Land O’ Lakes’ vision of an increasing dialogue with consumers in regards to modern agriculture practices and how those of us within agriculture can become better storytellers.
David Vansickle, YieldPro Specialist from our Lapel Ag Center, and his wife, Beth, participated in this program.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity presented to me by the Harvest Land Board and senior leadership to attend the Land O’ Lakes Annual Meeting and Growth for Advocacy,” said Vansickle. “I was able to come away from these three days in Minneapolis with a deeper understanding and appreciation for all of the components of Land O’ Lakes and how they work to help both farmer profitability, but also those at the local co-op. Growth for Advocacy inspired and taught me to, not only be more proactive in helping to tell the story of modern agriculture across different platforms, but also how to be strategic in my approach.”
The purpose of the program is to ensure that our voices, as those directly involved in agriculture, are heard. That includes anything from social media, to setting up farm visits in our area for schools or communities to visit and learn. It is also a way to become more involved at a national level by working with Land O’Lakes and doing advocacy in Washington DC by meeting with elected officials.
With a constant, cyclical list of things to do through out the year in order to plant, grow and harvest a successful crop, it is very easy for farmers to worry about their own operation and believe that someone else takes care of thinking through rules and regulations.
But in reality, the most powerful voices in agriculture at all levels are the farmers, themselves.
Companies like Land O’Lakes can tell the story, but it is far more powerful hearing the stories from the farmers because the decisions made by legislatures will affect their livelihood.
Additionally, the group was reminded that it is very easy to consider those that are anti-GMO, or supportive of antibiotic-free meat and just tell them they are flat out wrong. However, there is so much power in having the ability to listen to their reasoning, and then educate them on the facts. Perhaps not to necessarily to change their mind on the spot, but to encourage them to do more research than just what they may hear or see on Facebook.
Harvest Land President and CEO, Scott Logue, was attending the Annual Meeting and able to visit with Growth for Advocacy participants.
“Harvest Land had the greatest showing of advocates from any other cooperative in the United States,” he reported. “This proves our commitment to being a positive and educational voice for the agriculture industry far past our own farm gates. I’m grateful for the group of Harvest Land farmer-members and employees who made this trip to represent our cooperative. Now, we’ll work to apply the principles learned and become better advocates for an industry that offers so much to our communities and the world.”
Some of the coldest memories I can recall from my childhood were created during frigid farm auctions with dad, where the donuts were cold, but the hot chocolate was the best I’d ever had because it was above freezing. We’d scout the offering and then I was expected to keep my hands in my pockets when the auctioneer started his chant. That was no problem; I was somewhat worried about losing my fingers to frostbite, anyhow.
Harvest Land is having a fertilizer equipment auction the end of this month. We invite you to take a look at our offering and join us on Wednesday, February 28 at 11:00 AM in Greenville, Ohio.
619 Sater Street, Greenville, OH. At the southeast side of Greenville, OH at the intersection of US 127 and Sebring – Warner Road, take Sebring – Warner Road approximately 2 miles west/north/& west. Note: Sebring – Warner Road turns into Sater Street in Greenville.
You can call 800-451-270 for a brochure of visit the Schrader website for more photos and details.
Our 2018 Annual Meeting is approaching. It will be held on Tuesday, January 16 at 6:30 PM at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. While the event itself is a week and a half away, the last day to buy tickets is Tuesday, January 9. That date is coming quickly!
Today, the top five reasons to attend Harvest Land’s 2018 Annual Meeting:
State of the Cooperative by Scott Logue
Attend to hear the business report from President/CEO Scott Logue. In his message to farmer-members in the annual report, Logue wrote, “My career with Harvest Land began 20 years ago. In two decades, I have never been more excited about the opportunities that are ahead of Harvest Land. We are positioned very well to meet the challenges that lie ahead because of our ability to create progressive plans and execute accordingly. It is a very good time to be a part of Harvest Land.” Attend the annual meeting to find out why.
Winter Hats and 2018 Calendars
We aren’t telling a lot of people this little secret, but between you and I, we’re going to have a few winter hats and 2018 antique tractor calendars on hand this evening to give away. Attend the annual meeting to pick up yours.
Attend to learn the results of our Board of Directors election. Candidates for each district are as follows:
District One: Rendell Miller and Neal Smith
District Two: Keith Carfield and Bob Newhouse
District Three: Tom Myers and Scott Sease
Bios and ballots for each district were in the annual report packets so each farmer-member could vote in their respective district. Attend the annual meeting to learn election results.
Get Out of the House
I think we can agree that this cold snap (does a “snap” usually last 10 days?) of winter weather can really get to a person. The Harvest Land 2018 annual meeting is the perfect excuse to wear that vest you got for Christmas and head to town to get off the farm for a couple hours for some socializing. The annual meeting is the perfect place to visit with neighbors you don’t see often in the winter months and catch up on the neighborhood health report. “Did you hear that the Franklins have had the flu in their house for two weeks now? Bless their hearts….” Attend the annual meeting to visit with neighbors.
Willie & Red’s
We may have saved the best for last, here. Our annual meeting is being catered by Hagerstown’s favorite Willie & Red’s. After our business meeting you can indulge on fried chicken, roast beef, warm rolls with butter and more. But I won’t include the entire menu here. You’ll have to join us to find out more. Attend the annual meeting to enjoy a warm meal that you don’t have to prepare.
Don’t forget: Ticket sales end on January 9 and the event is at the Wayne County Fairgrounds at 6:30 on January 16.
Harvest Land farmer-members recently attended a Summer Harvest Supper, hosted on the family farm of one of our members. The intent of this supper, organized by Farm Bureau, was to invite consumers to share a meal with local producers and open the evening to conversation about food production.
The evening began with a brief reception with wine from J&J Winery and vegetables – and the best candied bacon you could imagine – from local growers and pork producers.
Each supper table was set for six consumers and two producers. The producers consisted of dairymen, beef, poultry and swine producers, grain farmers, large animal veterinarians, extension agents, and fruit and vegetable growers. Harvest Land was well represented, having farmer-members, an employee and even a former Director serving as experts in food production.
The consumers included a wide array of people, including college students, business owners, school superintendents, bankers, the Chamber of Commerce, real estate agents, medical doctors and more.
The setting of the event was perfect, in the yard of the farmstead, next to a cornfield lined with sweet corn, which the attendees shared during the family-style supper.
Everything enjoyed during the supper was grown and prepared locally. Sweet corn, green beans, beef, honey, bacon and more.
Each table had a set of prepared questions, should the consumers not know what to ask in order to learn more about where their food comes from. Our experience was that no one needed those prompting questions! The consumers came with questions and concerns about various things, such as raw milk, pesticides, what to look for at the meat counter to have a great beef eating experience, confined feeding operations and much, much more.
Every twenty minutes the two producers would rotate to the next table, giving the consumers the opportunity to ask the experts in many different areas – dairy, pork, beef, grain, vegetables, etc.
Local FFA chapters from Western Wayne, Hagerstown and Northeastern joined us to serve the dishes and deliver drinks in an efficient manor.
The Summer Harvest Supper was a success and a very enjoyable evening. Some indicators of success at an event such as this are having a consumer approach you after the event and simply say, “Thank you for tonight. I feel so much better about grocery shopping for my family.” Or, “I’m not afraid of milk anymore!”. The event allowed people to put a friendly face with the idea of food production.
We’d like to thank Neil and LuAnn Gettinger for opening their farm to a large group of curious folks. Everyday those involved in food production are faced with a general public which is largely misinformed about where their food comes from and how it is produced. This event helped farmers educate consumers on the safest, most abundant food supply in the world: Ours.