Salute to Service Winner Announced

In September we invited you to send us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees for our Salute to Service program. We asked you to 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.

Ask and you shall receive, indeed.

We received 78 nominations from Harvest Land customers and employees nominating their peers.  This was an amazing response to a simple ask! But it sure made our job difficult. We closed nominations on November 8 and then asked our employee base to read through all nominations and choose their top three choices to win the 2017 Salute to Service Award.

At our cooperative Christmas party on December 1 the winner was announced. Today we want to share with you the winner:

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The nomination, written and submitted by Harvest Land HR Manager, Luann Nichol:

Scott,

I know you challenged the employee group to tell you a story of a co-worker going above and beyond for a customer or of someone handling a difficult assignment or representing Harvest Land in a great way.

I would like to take a few minutes to talk about Kim Buttery.  Kim is an employee going above and beyond to represent Harvest Land in a great way.  Nearly one year ago, Kim was given the most devastating news any human being can be given.  She was told she had cancer.  I, having four older siblings that have battled cancer with one sibling losing his battle, understand the “mountain” Kim was going to have to climb and the battle she would be fighting over the next year and beyond.

Now a year later, Kim has completed her round of intense chemotherapy treatments and is finishing up her radiation treatments.  Over the course of this past year, Kim has managed to utilize minimal sick time and vacation time.  There were days Kim could have chosen to curl up in her blanket in bed and stay home and rightfully so.  There were days she came in looking wary and tired, feeling sick, but she never complained or wanted anyone to feel sorry for her.  She sat at her desk and worked diligently, answered phones, assisted customers and provided leadership for her team.  Kim has been an inspiration to her family, her church family, her staff, her co-workers not only in Richmond but within all of Harvest Land’s business divisions and anyone in the community who knows her. 

As the H.R. Manager at Harvest Land, Kim is the definition of a dedicated employee with a work ethic like none other.  Kim cares about her staff, her fellow co-workers and the member customers of Harvest Land.  Kim continues to battle this disease with dignity, grace and courage.  The road ahead is still long and Kim knows that but just as she has over this last year, she will continue to trek ahead one step at a time until she is over that mountain.  May God continue to bless Kim and her family as he has over this last year.  He has certainly blessed Harvest Land and its members with Kim’s presence over the last forty one years.  Thank you.

Luann Nichol

H.R. Manager  

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Kim received greater than 37% of the total votes from our employees.

Congratulations, Kim!

We’re proud to call you a colleague and friend to many. 

Thank you for every single person (all 78 of you!) who contributed to this contest. The entries absolutely impressed us and frankly, made us quite proud to work at Harvest Land.

So much good came from one simple request for a story.

In the months ahead, we’ll be highlighting the other outstanding submissions from customers and employees in an effort to give you a better look at the people behind your local farmer-owned cooperative.

 

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Faith & Farming

Faith and Farming: they go hand and hand:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ye of Little Praise

 

There are a lot of variables in businesses such as our’s. We have many different divisions, span hundreds of miles, employ 300+ people, each with different skill sets and responsibilities, and work daily among thousands of moving parts. Oh, and we’re usually running short on time, too.

In our nearly 100 years of business we’ve learned from time to time that if you’re not careful and attentive to details, things can go awry quickly. It is usually in those rare instances that we hear from our farmer-members, as we should. We appreciate the feedback; it makes us better.

Farmers may be considered “ye of little praise” (not to be confused with ye of little faith; there is no greater demonstration of faith than a man planting seeds in a field; but perhaps that is a blog for another week) because they just weren’t brought up that way. In agriculture there are very few pats on the back, few words of encouragement and absolutely no participation trophies. Often the “praise” received comes in the form of a grain check or a milk check, and it’s only then that you know that you’re doing something right.

Though every once in a great while, farmers send written words of encouragement or praise. And those are the ones that you hang onto.

Our CEO received a personally addressed letter on this desk back in February. Of course, though he might be considered one of those ye of little praise, he appreciated the words tremendously and hung on to the note of praise. Fast forward more than two months later and he thought it appropriate to share.



Dear Scott, 

We intended to send you this note at the end of harvest last fall, and here it is the middle of February. 

We were very pleased with the fertilizer application and custom spraying that the College Corner branch provided during the 2016 growing season. It was obvious that Dave Norris and the operators of the sprayers and spreaders were focused on doing a good job instead of covering the most acres in the least amount of time. Bill Curry (who did most of the harvesting) said, “You can tell they took extra care to spray the perimeters of all the fields and were careful of the waterways, too.”

So, we just wanted to let yo know we appreciated their good work and we look forward to their help in the fast approaching growing season. 

Sincerely, 

It was signed by the land owner and the farmer. 

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Despite what the evening news, price at the pump or markets tell you, there is a lot of good going on around us. There are people doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

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Photo by applicator Dave Barbee at our Lena Ag Center

This week we encourage you to refrain from being “ye of little praise” and offer encouragement or sincere thanks to someone around you who deserves it.

Your words may be brief but their impact could be enduring.

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