Harvest Land understands that high school students in our trade territory are a tremendous asset as they emerge as the future generation of leaders within the workplace. With one-third of our workforce retiring in the next 3-5 years and many similar stories echoing throughout the agriculture industry, the career options that students interested in ag will encounter are tremendous.
This week and next, we welcome high school ag students to our local ag centers as we help them discover the many career options at the cooperative, including roles as Agronomists, Custom Applicators, Office Support Administrators, Fuel and Propane Delivery Drivers and much more.
Whether today’s students are focused on heading to college or simply graduating high school, our employees are excited to share their similar stories and experiences that have brought them to where they are today.
Students in attendance got to tour our facilities and encounter several stations along the way, which provided interactive experiences for students. All segments of our cooperative business, Agronomy, Energy, Grain and Feed, are represented during these career day events.
As your local cooperative, we appreciate any opportunity to encourage youth participation and education within agriculture.
We truly appreciate the schools and teachers who participate in these career days, which provides an enhanced view of local careers post-graduation while simultaneously raising awareness on some options for scholarships, internships and learning tools in the interim.
We’re proud to be local.
We’re proud to work safely and as a team.
We’re proud to be owned by 5,500 dedicated farmers.
We’re proud to employ so many in rural Ohio and Indiana.
We’re proud to do work daily that enhances the lives of so many.
We’re proud to have so many different career opportunities within one company which can satisfy the curious minds and busy hands of so many in rural America.
If you’re not directly working in agriculture – which, 98% of the population is not – talk of the challenging time in ag may not spur your curiosity. It may only be a 20-second segment on the evening news or a quick mention at the hardware store during check out. You may work or live in town, so it likely doesn’t matter much to you. But, you should care about this challenging time – unprecedented challenging time – because it does affect you. No one is exempt.
What’s the Problem?
The weather has been relentless to those who make a livelihood off the land. Let’s start in the fall of 2018:
When the crop is harvested off the field, a best practice is to apply a fall application, which is a herbicide that kills any weeds that may emerge. This ensures the field is clean and ready to be planted in the spring. But last fall, constant rain delayed harvest and also left fields saturated. This didn’t allow for equipment to get into the fields to apply this product, so the majority of fields went untouched. Fall application became something growers would have to take care of in the spring.
Folks with livestock such as cattle faced challenges from the uncooperative weather, also. Usually, a field can get three cuttings of hay in a summer season but that wasn’t the case in 2018. This resulted in a hay shortage last fall when stockmen were trying to produce or buy hay for the upcoming winter….the winter of 2018-2019: You know, the one that never ended. The extended winter, causing stockman to still feed hay in April, resulted in a real hay shortage. But the winter wasn’t just extended, it was brutal. Record temperatures and snowfall, blizzards striking America’s heartland multiple times, great loss of livestock in inclimate weather…each of these things compressed the issue. Then came the flooding.
Rain began in late March and never stopped. In a time when growers were hoping to apply the herbicide to kill the weeds so they could plant a crop, tractors, planters, and sprayers remained in the shop because they couldn’t get into the soggy fields. And there is a brief window of time in which a farmer can plant corn and soybeans. If that window is missed, there will be no crop at all. Now here we are, the middle of June, and fields still sit empty. Except for the weeds.
Also, in order for growers to get the best crop insurance possible, corn needed to be planed by June 6. After that date, farmers had to make a decision to either let the ground remain completely unplanted, or to plant an alternate crop. Maybe soybeans? The soybean market is already so weak, due to saturation of the market and tariffs, that there would be no money in that. We’re talking record low prices for the commodity.
As of June 9, just 60% of America’s soybean acres had been planted in our highest-producing states, compared with nearly 90% typically planted by this time of year. And just 83% of the corn crop is in the ground in the most productive states, a number that should be pushing 100%.
Some farmers are finally admitting
that this will be the first time in
their lifetime of farming
that there will be no crop.
This adds to an already extremely difficult run in agriculture. Land O’Lakes recently shared this information:
Due largely to sustained low commodity prices, average farm income in 2017 was $43,000, while the median farm income for 2018 was negative$1,500. In 2018, Chapter 12 bankruptcies in the farm states across the Midwest that are responsible for nearly half of all sales of U.S farm products rose to the highest level in a decade.
Those who support the American farmer are not spared in this grief. Ag retailers, such as the local farmer-owned cooperative, aren’t able to dispense the product they’ve purchased months ago because it has nowhere to go. There is no crop insurance for retail, they simply lose the money. Credit providers won’t get paid because the farmers have no income to make payments. Salesmen who may work on commission go without pay because no one has the money to buy. It is a cycle that affects stress levels and livlihoods by the thousands.
So, how are you affected?
The loss of income in agriculture this year will be in the billions. This will affect small towns across America in very real ways because this unprofitable year will affect ag retailers, seed companies, grain elevators, machinery dealers and more, all of which employs thousands in our area. All of which will have less in their pocketbook in a very real way. And when they’re making much less money, they’re spending less at local stores, restaurants, entertainment, car dealerships and beyond.
The price of food will also see an upward swing as the corn used to produce your favorite tortilla chips or the tomatoes you cook with simply aren’t being produced. We’re usually enjoying sweet corn by now…much won’t even be planted.
It is quite difficult to put into words the depth of despair agriculture is experiencing in this moment. The sickening statistic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that suicide rates in farmers are higher than any other occupation today speaks volumes.
We urge you to take heart regarding this national crisis. It spares no one who eats or cares about their community. We invite you to check on those in your community who work in agriculture. You may only see them at the grocery, church pew, ballpark or parking lot, but a simple word to let them know they aren’t alone in this volatile time could make a world of difference in their state of mind. Let them know their work and effort matters.
We’ll keep this in mind, our faith keeping us rooted:
But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8
Harvest Land stands beside our growers as we navigate this unbelievable time. Those of us in production agriculture will get through this because of our unwavering resolve which has benefitted stewards of the land from the beginning of time. And we’ll go on to live admirably, doing the greatest work in the world: Farming.
Last Saturday Harvest Land hosted Oxford, West College Corner, Milford Township, Hanover Township, Seven Mile, St Clair and Riley Fire Departments for grain entrapment training in Ohio. The training allowed emergency personnel to practice using grain tube equipment for entrapments in gravity wagons, as well as in a large freestanding pile.
The training occurred at our College Corner Ag Center. Many thanks to the crew from College Corner and Seven Mile for organizing the event and giving up a Saturday for this training, as well as their participation.
As part of the training day, Harvest Land also donated a grain rescue tube to the Oxford Fire Department, which would be the responding department for our College Corner facility.
We would like to thank all the participating departments
for their dedication to the safety of our farm families.
I grew up on a beef farm in Wisconsin that has 2 creeks running through it. Like many things in life, most of the time they were just there. I didn’t give them much thought. For my dad, it seemed the creeks were often a source of anxiety. A mother cow giving birth near one was perilous, and a large rain would occasionally cause them to spill out of their banks and ruin fences. These unfortunate events would tend to overshadow the fact that they constantly provided the livestock with water for free.
One of the creeks flows about 100 yards from the house. With all his complaining about them, I was surprised when my dad pointed out that he enjoyed sitting on the porch listening to the creek. “Listening to the creek?” I asked. “You can’t hear the creek from the house.” “You can if you listen,” he answered. He pointed out that if you sit quietly and listen for it, not only can you can hear the creek, but the longer you listen the louder it sounds. He was right. I had lived there for years and never listened.
This kind of scenario plays out in many arenas of life. It’s amazing what is there to be noticed for those who pay attention, and what is missed by those who don’t. It shows up time and again in grain marketing. The market is always providing a price to sell grain, but it’s easy to take it for granted. In addition, focusing on how the market can cause pain allows it to be a source of anxiety, but it can be a source of security and opportunity to those who listen and respond.
Harvest is winding down and many of you will have grain in storage at the elevator or in an on-farm bin. What is your plan to get it sold? Are you actively listening to the market for your opportunity to sell? Do you know what you are listening for? Too often the plan is simply to wait for higher prices. But if you don’t know what price you’re looking for it’s easy to always want more. This approach often leads to missed opportunity.
A better strategy is to have a specific goal. Crunch the numbers on your production and have a firm price you are willing to sell. Then you will know what you are listening for. With this information in hand, enter target orders to carry out your plan. Let the target orders do the listening for you!
This concept works great for all unsold grain. Avoid spending all your energy on selling last year’s crop, causing you to miss opportunity on the next crop. You need to be listening for those opportunities as well.
Farmers inherently always have grain to sell whether it be last year’s crop or the next one. Always know what you have to sell and be listening for your opportunity
Thanks to our partners at White Commercial for the insight. Our grain department would be more than happy to visit with you regarding opportunities on your operation. Please call our grain department at (765) 478-4171 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your grain merchandising needs.