It’s (Not) Just a Tractor

For years we’ve partnered with a calendar company to design antique tractor calendars for our farmer-members. Our fuel and propane drivers hand them out to customers over the fall months, our ag centers keep a stack on the counter so our farmer-members can grab one when they come in to request an order and our Richmond office displays a stack so folks can take one when they’re in to pay a bill.

About eight years ago we decided to do something different and instead of using antique tractors as the monthly photo, we did a calendar with photos of rural America. Month by month, the calendar displayed hidden gems across the US, sunsets in fly-over states, New England in the fall and Utah in the white winter months. It turned out beautifully and we thought our members would love it.

Boy, were we wrong. 

We received so much push back and verbalized disappointment from our customers because we didn’t distribute an antique tractor calendar that year. We had no idea how much our customers looked forward to such a small gesture. We learned that those calendars reminded them of their dad, or granddad, or sweet mother, or their growing up years on the farm. We learned it was not just a calendar. We also learned it’s not just a tractor. 

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It’s not just a tractor. It’s where you learned, and earned, a little bit of freedom out in an open field for the first time.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a sound that resonates with power, and progress and passion.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the memory of working alongside your granddad who was – and still is – the most admirable person you’ve ever known.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the only thing that could get down Marshall Road to the livestock during the Blizzard of 1978.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the thrill you got when first riding on the fender and watching the hypnotic tire tread roll down the road to a rhythmic rumble.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s how we came to realize that if children were self-starters, mothers wouldn’t have to be such cranks.IMG_0392

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place from which you dared your sister to jump from the highest step, and she earned her first set of stitches.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s where your good, faithful, favorite, dog rode on the fender with you while spreading manure, making one of the most boring jobs on the farm more enjoyable.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the pride in making an investment that will serve your generation and the next.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the machine you used to introduce new technology and practices to the farm, including no-till planting, cover crops and GPS.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the memory of riding on the platform behind your dad while he lead you into the next great adventure.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place where you strap your pride and joy into the buddy seat and feel their head against your arm, or see it bouncing off the window, fifteen minutes later. A tractor is a fine resting spot for youth.

90It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place where your father thought he was teaching you about mechanics, but you also picked up on a whole new vocabulary.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a vision of restoration come to life, preserving a time capsule of labor and memories for years and years to come.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a machine that allowed our families to work the ground and plant a seed in the spring, mow and bale the hay in the summer, pull the grain cart in the fall and plow the neighbor’s drive in the winter. It’s a tool for growing and harvesting a lifestyle that can’t be replaced.

It’s not just a tractor. And we’ve learned it’s not just a calendar, either. Stop by your local ag center today to pick one a Harvest Land calendar for 2020.

What has your tractor meant to you? We invite you to comment below.

2020 CALENDAR COVER

 

 

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September 13, 2001

On January 1 we celebrate new beginnings, but usually by the 23rd of the month the gym parking lots are no longer packed.

On February 14 we celebrate love, but usually by the 24th the roses have wilted.

On July 4 we celebrate independence, but by the 5th the fireworks have lost their sparkle.

On December 25 we celebrate Christ’s birth, but by the 26th we’re thinking about returns and taking down the tree.

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On September 11 we all remember a day that forever changed American life and history, but by September 13th political wars are again raging within our native land and we’re once again divided.

September 11, 2001 is a date in which we’ll never forget where we were when the events unfolded. Just like when Kennedy was shot or the Challenger exploded, it seemed for just a minute time stood still and nothing else mattered but that moment being chronicled on the television screen.

 

Unlike New Year’s Day or the Fourth of July,

the days that followed September 11, 2001

are the days that we miss the most.

We miss the American spirit that began raging like fire across the open prairies and city streets.

We miss the abundance of American flags being displayed at high school football games, on interstate overpasses, by motorcyclists traveling cross-country, those hanging from 15th-floor apartment balconies and painted on old rural barns.

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We miss the way Lee Greenwood became a household name and voice again.

We miss the way that nothing mattered for a few days but the safety of our families and that we were all together. If just for a brief time, family dinners, phone calls and visits became normal again.

We miss the way that a sense of pride came over Americans and we were determined to take on the enemy that slept outside our great borders, as long as we were facing them, together.

We miss the days when we took a true interest in what was going on in our country and paid great attention to current world events.

We miss seeing, reading, and saying, “United We Stand” and truly believing it.

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We miss September 13, 2001 and we often wish that our country could go back to that day. Not the sheer horror, confusion or numb shock of September 11, but the unity, patriotism and compassion for one another that came in the days that followed.

Can we get back there?

Can we get back to honoring our flag and teaching our children the significance of those colors?

Can we get back to being proud to live in this great country because of the opportunities we have at our calloused fingertips, our rich history that made us who we are and the beautiful landscapes that offer so much in the way of food, fiber and enjoyment?

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Can we get back to compassion instead of competition, kindness instead of animosity and service instead of solitude?

Can we get back to more prayer and less political divide?

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We think we can, and we hope you agree.

Today we’ll go about our business at the ag centers.

We’ll spread lime,

and haul diesel fuel,

and prepare facilities for harvest,

and deliver propane for the winter months ahead.

Today, on September 13, 2019, we’ll take off our Harvest Land caps when the National Anthem plays on the country radio station over lunch, and we’ll remain proud to be operating in the greatest country in the world.

 

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Farm to Table: Your Thanksgiving Plate

This time next week you’ll be wishing you owned more elastic waistband pants.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, so we thought it was a perfect time to educate eaters about the food on their heaping plate. Because, let’s face it: When you’re stuck at the table with the awkward uncle, you may need something to talk about.

We all know the star of the Thanksgiving Day show is the turkey.  Your turkey might have come from one of these top turkey-producing states: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri. We know a lot of farmers in our trade territory who have put up turkey barns in the last ten years.

Did you know this about the big birds?:

  • Turkey is low in fat, high in protein and is a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins
  • Cartoon turkeys you normally see are actually dark feathered or wild turkeys. Farmers typically raise a different breed of turkeys which are more efficient at producing meat. These turkeys have white feathers.
  • Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the official United States bird.  Dismayed by news of the selection of the bald eagle, Franklin replied, “The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original of America.” It makes us wonder how our diets might be different had the turkey triumphed.

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Read more about turkey farming in our area.

  • Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are one of three cultivated fruits that are native to North America.
  • Some cranberry vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old.
  • Cranberries don’t actually grow in water, rather they grow on dry land and are harvested using water because cranberries float.
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Did you know Ocean Spray is also a farmer-owned cooperative?
  • Starting in October pumpkins start to make their way onto stoops, into coffee cups and onto plates. Pumpkin Spiced What-te?
  • Squash was part of the Three Sisters, a combination of corn, beans and squash that were planted together by Native Americans
  • The stalks of the corn supported the beans, the beans added nitrogen back to the soil and the squash spread across the ground blocking sunlight from weeds.

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  • Sweet potatoes are a staple on most Thanksgiving Day tables.
  • You may have heard “sweet potatoes” and “yams” used interchangeably, but they are actually from different botanical families.
  • Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family and yams come from the lily family.

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  • The turkey isn’t the only animal at the table.
  • Most marshmallows contain gelatin, which is a protein substance derived from collagen, a natural protein present in the tendons, ligaments, and tissues of mammals.
  • Before you consider going vegan, remember how marshmallows make the sweet potato casserole.

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We wish your family a very Happy Thanksgiving

 

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Source: American Farm Bureau Federation

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:

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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.

 

 

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

In case you’ve forgotten, consider this your friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14. As in, two days from now. It isn’t too late to find something wonderful for the special women in your life, especially if you follow our easy Mother’s Day Gift Guide. These are each last-minute, budget-friendly ideas. We’re farmers. We know how to make a dollar stretch.

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Help in the Kitchen

Help in the kitchen doesn’t mean chaos in the kitchen. Mom likely doesn’t want your just-walked-my-4-H-pig hands in her butter dish or mixing bowl. But she might like that stack of school papers, 4-H entries, phone chargers, sports gear, latest issue of New Horizons, belts, school pictures and bobby pins that clutter her dining room table, or kitchen island, cleared off. That’s right. There really is an appropriate place for that flyer about the summer football fundraiser, and it isn’t where the meatloaf is about to go.

General Civility

This sounds very basic, because none of the farm kids we know are the type to start wars or riots, but it is paramount when thinking of pleasing your farm mom. General Civility means no bickering at the barn. It means no complaining about siblings, school or supper. General Civility is being asked just once to complete a task. It is showing patience towards the younger siblings and taking direction well from the older ones. General Civility is doing things that reassure mom that she’s raising the next great leader, not the next gang leader. Be nice and demonstrate General Civility this Mother’s Day.

Nothing

You read that right. Sometimes the best thing you can give farm moms is nothing. No ball games to rush off to or meals to make for family coming over. No flowers to plant then water or mow around. No dishes to wash, clothes to pre-treat or laundry to fold. Do not give your farm mom jewelry she’s afraid she’ll lose at the barn or chocolates that make her fall off her frustrating diet. Instead, give her…

Everything

You also read that right. Give your farm mom everything she wants, by giving her your time. Because really, when the tractors shut down and barn doors close and the kitchen sink drains and things finally come into focus, what farm moms really want this Mother’s Day is time with the people they love the most: Their kids, husbands and grandkids. No phones of distraction, just them.

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We are thankful for each and every one of you,
whether you farm, or not.

Fortune Found in Fly-Over States

Though you may not have seen much coverage of it on the local or national news, a natural disaster took place last week in the heart of America. Wildfires ravaged through the plains and prairies of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, destroying human life, an estimated 5,000 head of cattle and 1 million acres, as well as homesteads and ranches.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

This hasn’t been a popular news story because it didn’t affect the masses living within urban areas, it wasn’t politically fueled and there was no rioting to spark controversy. It hasn’t been on the news because it affected a group of people that – rather than march, protest, loot or cause any disturbance at all – tend to  keep their head down, get their work done because they have a responsibility not taken lightly and typically mind their own business.

Since the devastation set in last week, thousands of individuals in hundreds of rural communities nestled in dozens of fly-over states have rallied together to gather supplies  to assist those farmers and ranchers who lost the very basic tools they need to function as a working operation: feed, fences, horses, veterinary care and more.

Livingston Machinery convoy of hay Wednesday morning leaving Fairview, OK and heading to the area impacted by the blazes. 

You see, there is fortune to be found in these fly-over states.

These no-mans-land

middle of nowhere

fly-over states.

The fortune found is rural Americans.
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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go hungry

Do you have a new baby? Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

A death in the family?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your youngest finally get engaged?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your basement flood with the spring rains?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Is the t-ball season finally over?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never need a high-tech home security system

Rural Americans have made a reputation of keeping a watchful (nosey?) eye on the community. They’re the first to call you when they see a suspicious vehicle parked over by the shop, sure to ask why the vet truck was at the barn for three hours last Monday and the first to call when they don’t see your daughter’s minivan at the house over Christmas.

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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never “not know”

As long as there are sale barns, kitchen tables, high school athletic games, church bulletins and farm auctions, word will get around. Folks in urban America may have high speed internet and Snapchat but they’ll never have the ability to push a message out  to an entire community faster than the rural American main street diner.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go without

Rural Americans supply the help when needed, sometimes in the form of a truck load of hay, sometimes in the form of a 14-year-old able-bodied son who is willing to work, sometimes in the form of a quarter cup of sugar. Rural Americans give when they can, where they can, and however they can.  

 

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There is fortune to be found in our beloved fly-over states, and it is each other. What an advantage we have to live in a world where we don’t have to hire moving trucks because we have friends with trucks and trailers. We don’t have to send Honey Baked Hams from some warehouse 2,000 miles away because we have a freezer full of farm fresh pork and a recipe card from Mary Jane’s Kitchen, 1976. We don’t have to fight life’s toughest moments alone, because we have Rural American neighbors, friends and strangers across the country bowing their heads when prayer is needed most.

We don’t have to search for good in the world,
because we live amongst it. 

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Learn how you can help wildfire victims in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

Two Hours To Save A Life

Our cooperative business has been around for nearly a century. In that time we’ve seen communities expand, infrastructure develop, technology evolve and most importantly, families grow.

Every generation we work with is different, none better or worse, just different. Each has varying experiences, challenges and opportunities. Something that doesn’t change from generation to generation is the desire for the family farm to be passed on. Each grower we work with is making decisions today that will affect the longevity and success of the family farm, to be handed down to the next, special generation.

Harvest Land is also making decisions today to ensure the next generation is prepared to take the reins when it’s time.

On April 1 we’re hosting a free grain safety youth workshop for ages 10-16. This workshop will have a hands-on live entrapment demonstration portion as well as a classroom session. The event will take two hours and we’re hosting two on the same day; from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Attendees may choose which session they’d like to attend.

Two hours. That’s the brief amount of time this workshop will take, but the lessons learned from it could one day save a life. Two hours to save a life of someone quite special.

We invite you to share this link and invitation to those in our trade territory, ages 10 – 16, who might find this training valuable.

We are committed to doing our part to ensure
that the family farm is around for the next generation,
and that the next generation is around for the family farm.

2017 Grain Safety Youth Workshop

Photo Friday: Fueling Freedom

Four of our Harvest Land energy locations participated in a successful 2016 Fueling Freedom event on June 24, and that success was thanks to each of you who stopped by and filled your tanks.

Our Elwood, Connersville, Greenfield and Greenville, OH fuel stations were part of CountryMark’s event, which, for every gallon of fuel pumped between noon and 5:00 PM CountryMark and Harvest Land donated 50 cents to the local National Guard.

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100% of the proceeds from Fueling Freedom went on to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups.

Family Readiness Groups fund activities for troops and their families. Many of the Family Readiness Groups use their funds to host summer picnics, hold Christmas dinners, send packages to deployed soldiers, and offer after-school programs for children of American soldiers.

Today we simply wanted to share with you photos from our locations and thank all of the hard working people who made the event a success. Until next year!

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The WinField Crop Adventure

Growing up there was one phrase, comprised of only two words, which if spoken was sure to land you in a bad place.

“I’m bored.”

This brief declaration was usually followed by this powerful response: “Oh, I can fix that.”

Mom and Dad were always good for their word.

Picking up sticks or nails, hauling manure via wheelbarrow, sorting the recycling and smashing aluminum cans with a homemade steel tamper, stacking wood, pushing rocks up hills. The list of boredom-prevention exercises goes on and on. One summer morning I recall the hay tedder broke down and we actually tedded an entire hayfield by pitchfork. That was a fun day. A hot one, too.

I never looked at boredom the same way again.

Summer is in full swing and soon – believe it or not – the county fairs will be over and families will have a bit more free time to do some traveling. Ten days at Disney World livestock free, you ask?

Not likely.

However, there is a place that just opened that might feel a little like Disney World to a kid involved in agriculture.

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The Winfield Crop Adventure has officially opened at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana. This hands-on exhibit is designed to fully engage participants in understanding exactly what it takes to grow food for a population growing quickly to 9 billion people. It’s very likely that the kids in your family “get it”, but this state-of-the-art exhibit is sure to educate and impress even the most seasoned agriculturalists. Yourself, included.

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What can you experience?

  • Meet the farmers who grow your food.
  • Burrow deep underground to see bugs and roots.
  • See and touch the high-tech tools farmer use.
  • Catch virtual raindrops.
  • Imagine the future of modern farming.
  • Discover how corn, soy and wheat improve our lives.
  • Take your picture with your favorite bugs.
  • Learn what soil doctors do.
  • Find the right ag career for you.

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So pack up the kids, or grandkids, or the annoying neighbor kids who have absolutely no idea about food production, and head to Fair Oaks Farms to visit the new Winfield Crop Adventure. Teach everyone a thing or five while getting out of your home area and combatting the “I’m bored” scenario.

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Check out all Fair Oaks Adventures

Oh, and might we suggest a place for dinner on your way home? Culver’s has a fantastic partnership with America’s farmers and they’re actively working to help us tell our story. I highly recommend the double butter burger with fries and a vanilla snickers concrete mixer for dessert, but that may just be the boredom talking.

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