No Instruction Manual

early emergence beans

The fact that you can drive around any country block today and see some sort of plant emergence represents the promise of better days.

Between COVID-19 changing how American’s live day-to-day and a cold, damp spring (rain is pounding the window as I write this), this place could use some fresh air and sunshine.

Farming is a profession of hope.

You put millions of tiny, unassuming seeds in the ground, cover them up, then hope for sunshine and timely rain. You drive around weekly (or, daily) scouting fields for the first sign of emergence indicating that a tiny sprout was so mighty that it broke through million-year-old dirt with a story. All of this, while you continue to hope for sunshine and timely rain.


Life’s most valuable skills don’t come with an instruction manual and it seems we’ve learned so many of them in this profession.






the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

In farming, patience can be found when growing degree days are minimal and you have an expectation of emergence that simply isn’t happening. Patience is best learned and utilized when an implement breaks down or a spotty shower shows up and lingers on your last 50 acres to get in the ground.






hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

In farming, optimism can be found when opening up a field to harvest in October and or pulling onto the co-op scales to sample and weigh your product.  Optimism is best learned and utilized when you’re staring in the face of low commodity prices but you remember that all things are cyclical.





complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

In farming, faith can be found everywhere, including when you’re actually in the act of planting the seed, or climbing in the bin for maintenance or driving the semi through a busy intersection. Faith is best learned and utilized daily, when your feet hit the floor and you begin another day to produce food to feed people who you’ll never have the opportunity to meet.

With greased, calloused hands we’ve leafed through hundreds of instruction manuals with loose covers and marked pages in our lifetime.

But perhaps the greatest guidance we require to get this farming job done comes from within.


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Be Still

After 27 inches of rain in the last 31 days for some parts of our trade territory, there is nothing like waking up to this forecast earlier this week:


As we recover from another shower, we wanted to share with you a video from one of our customers, Alan Bays.

Four generations of Bays have used Harvest Land’s service and products, forming a business relationship that spans fifty years. Excellent reliability with fuels, competitive pricing, available purchasing options and a knowledgeable team are all qualities on which the Bays family relies on Harvest Land.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. The Bays were the cover family of our 2012 Annual Report.

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Justin Bays, Brian Bays,  Elle Contos, Bennett Contos and Sarah Contos

Brian Bays once said of the family’s history with Harvest Land:

“With Harvest Land we’ve sustained a very long-term, business relationship that has provided quality supplies and price-competitive opportunities. We’ve consistently had good relationships with Harvest Land employees, and they always strive to provide solutions for our operation.”  -Brian Bays

The Lapel area, where the Bays farm, has gotten the brunt of the 2017 torrential rains. It seems that if a shower hits Indiana, it’s sure to hit their farm.

But, there is still hope.

We invite you to take a look at this inspiring video from Alan, brother of Brian:

We are so proud to be a small part of Bays’ family operation.









Faith & Farming

Faith and Farming: they go hand and hand:


Some days, doesn’t it feel as though it began raining on Easter and hasn’t quit? While the naive mind might like to believe that farmers across the corn belt are putting in ponds as part of some water retention conservation project, you and I both know that just isn’t the case. You can drive through the countryside and see standing water in every direction.


Rather than driving around the township with their best co-pilot and a steady dose of optimism, checking growth in the warm May sunshine, most growers in our area are riding around with the insurance adjuster looking at corn that has already been replanted or will be.

hand holding corn plants-2

Writer Lisa TerKeurst once wrote that “The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it’s a place where disappointment grows.” How true that is, and what fitting words when thinking of our 2017 planting season. Even when the field is flooded, the disappointment is able to grow within the rows.  I heard one farmer say that he didn’t even want to leave the house in the morning because he knew disappointment would greet his first step out the door.

You can’t blame him; it’s been a soggy and frustrating spring.

But you can’t lose faith, either.

I’ve often heard that God gives the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers but I believe there is more to that; although those in agriculture are certainly of resilient stock! I think God gives these times of disappointment to the ones who can be of example on how to stay the course amidst the frustration. He uses them as an example to others.


I don’t know a farmer who plans on not planting in 2017 because of the amount of rain and cold air we’ve endured. I don’t know a farmer who has decided to sit this year out of farming. I don’t know a farmer who intends on selling farm because of 8 inches of rain.

The farmers we know are changing their course of action, recalculating their assumptions and adapting to the situation. The farmers we know are waiting it out and attending 6th grade graduations and dance recitals in the mean time. The farmers we know are trying really hard to exercise the patience their parents worked to instill in them.

Because the farmers we know
learned a long time ago that
faith and farming go hand and hand.

golden tassle



What Farm Moms Don’t Do

Mother’s Day is Sunday (consider this your friendly reminder) and we’ve been thinking a lot about the hard working Farm Moms that we know. They’re a strong part of our communities, families and homes.

Farm Moms do so much to keep the wheels turning at home, at school, at work, and on the farm, and we’re lucky to know quite a few Farm Moms who do just that, so well. In a single day, they may be called a chauffeur, chef, nurse, counselor, beautician, and teacher. I get tired just thinking of all that they do.

But what about all of those things Farm Moms don’t do? Yep, believe it or not, there are certain things that you rarely – maybe even never – see a Farm Mom do. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve made a list of things Farm Moms just don’t do:

Farm Moms don’t complain about meals on equipment.

They understand that time is of the essence when planting, harvesting, baling hay or even running cattle through the chute. So if that means that the farm truck tailgate or the hay wagon needs to be transformed into the dining room table for a few minutes, they don’t ask questions, except “Can you pass the napkins to your brother?” They’re just happy to have the family around the “table” for a meal.

Farm Moms don’t spend much money at the car wash.

Sure, it’s nice to rinse off the ol’ grocery getter every once in a while, but every Farm Mom knows that the best way to ensure that rain falls on the freshly mown hay field is to spend $10 on a car wash. Spring mud, harvest dust, grease-covered jeans, muddy Muck boots: each sure to cover or enter the vehicle at some point throughout any given week. Why wash it now?

work boots

Farm Moms don’t take for granted the people behind the counter.

The man at the local parts dealership displays great patience as she tries to decipher the third item on her poorly scribbled parts list. The woman at the pharmacy uses a gentle smile and kindness to reassure her that their first-born should be feeling better within two days. The young girl at the check out waits calmly as the Farm Mom runs back to aisle 6 to get one more box of cornbread mix; you just never know when harvest help will stay for dinner.


Farm Moms don’t go a day without worry.

Will the youngest pass her spelling test? Will the middle be included? Will the oldest remember to use his turn signals? Will the milk check be enough? Will daddy’s doctor appointment go OK? Will the rain keep her husband out of the field again? These are only the thoughts that go through her head before getting out of bed.

But Farm Moms also don’t go a day without prayer.

They pray for safe days, healthy kids and strong markets. They also say prayers of sincere thanks for the life they’re able to live on the family farm.

Bean field generations

Farm Moms don’t let you – or anyone – go hungry.

Are you worried about your book report? Have a snack. Are you spending your day hauling grain? Take a lunch box full of snacks. Are you getting ready for Friday’s night’s football game? Bring the whole team over for a pre-game snack. If you’re not miserable when you leave the dinner table, you didn’t eat enough. Here, have another biscuit.

Farm Moms don’t watch very much TV.

Their reason for lack of TV watching is three-part:

  1. Lack of time (who can tune into a 7:00 PM show when the family doesn’t come in from the barn until 9:00?)
  2. Lack of desire (once in the house, who has the energy to watch someone else’s hectic life unfold?)
  3. She already knows she could win any season of Survivor: she’s gotten the kids on the bus on time for 26 days straight and hasn’t killed anyone in the process.

shafer lane

Farm Moms don’t get surprised any longer by the things they find in the washing machine.

Tonka trucks, eyebolts, toothpicks, wheat pennies and more; each telling a small story of how the previous week unfolded.


Farm Moms don’t get very excited about science fair projects because they think their life, in general, can be viewed as a science fair project.

Learning that a child can survive after sucking on a dropped-in-the-barn-pacifier, GMO arguments, mud room sink discoveries, testing if vinegar or peroxide remove blood more quickly from the carpet, and more. Your science fair project is due Friday? Let’s just clean out the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and call it done.

Farm Moms don’t think they’ll ever live up to the standards in which their mother, mother-in-law and grandmothers set before them. But what they don’t realize is that in their husband’s and kids’ eyes,
they already have.

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We are thankful for you

and all those things you don’t do.