Finding Balance in the 2%

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 HPraerNi_400x400the 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.

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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.

librarian with kids in libraryOther 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.

 

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Growth for Advocacy

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.

 

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Growth for Advocacy Attendees Included:
Front row: Jessica Naylor, Beth Vansickle, Melanie Caldwell, Kevin Antrim, Brandi Doan, Jeremy Myers, Chris Myers, Amy Circle, Scott Logue (CEO, in attendance for annual meeting only)
Back row: Gene Tapalman (Director, in attendance for annual meeting only), Bob Newhouse (Director, in attendance for annual meeting only), Curt Naylor, Dave Vansickle, Tom Caldwell, Kyle Brooks, Eric Doan, Sean Younclaus, Case Circle

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.

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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.

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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.”

 

 

 

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Top Five Reasons to Attend our Annual Meeting

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. 

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Director Elections

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. 

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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. 

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Don’t forget: Ticket sales end on January 9 and the event is at the Wayne County Fairgrounds at 6:30 on January 16.

We’ll see you there!

 

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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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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Earlier this week a couple employees from our Richmond administrative office set out to do something no one else had ever done before. Or, at least not in a long, long time.

They cleaned out and organized part of the back warehouse. IMG_6287

They spent four hours sorting through boxes, binders, shelves and stacks, looking for things that were no longer needed to run our cooperative business. These things had perhaps fallen into the category of “out of sight, out of mind”, where it’s easier to work around them than address them.

A wonderful general attribute of people in agriculture is that we hang on to things because we think someday we’ll need them.

A poor general attribute of people in agriculture is that we hang on to things because we think someday we’ll need them.

There was just a lot of stuff to sort through.

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Trash barrel by trash barrel, the Two Tossers began to find shelves and walls that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. They reduced stacks, tore down empty boxes and made room for more current things. They tossed tattered pieces, obsolete technology, used carpet and broken boards, then swept elevator flooring that hasn’t been touched in years.

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You see, our administrative office in Richmond hasn’t been an operational grain elevator in more than a decade, and it’s been even longer since the feed mill was in operation. It has been a long, long time since these floors saw steel toe boots and stray kernels of corn.

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As the Two Tossers worked through the hours, they thought many times: Why would anyone keep this?

The cleaning out of the warehouse reminded us that we’re in between two generational shifts today: Baby Boomers (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) who are eager to pass on family heirlooms as they downsize their space and a new crop of Millennials (defined as those born between 1982 and 2004) who prefer more tech-savy homes and perhaps more adventure.

Point in case: How many tiny house dwellers have you seen living with great-grandma’s full china set? Not many.

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While many broken, unusable pieces were tossed, the functional, “let’s clean this up rather than buy new” mindset of the co-op (and those in ag) prevailed as things were cleaned, organized and put back on a sturdy shelf.

It should be noted: Nothing of value or that which held any historical significance to Harvest Land was thrown away. Of the Two Tossers, one is very much a “keeper” and is a historian by nature. 

As the day winded down and emails beckoned the Two Tossers back to their desks, they put down the dock door, shut off the lights and locked up the warehouse for the evening.

But not before one Tosser paused to ponder this question:

What area of my life or farm needs some

time, attention and clean-up (literally or figuratively)

to ensure I’m in the best working order?

What about you?

Are there areas of your life that are “out of sight, out of mind”, that could actually use some attention?

This could be a part of the shop that needs organized, a relationship that needs some mending, a phone call that needs to be made or even a drawer that needs cleaned out.

Perhaps, today is the day.

 

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Laura Wood

Harvest Land has a lot of quality people working behind the scenes to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

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Laura is a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist in our Richmond office, and has worked at Harvest Land for 16 years.

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As a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist, her main responsibilities include processing all CountryMark invoices, processing all CFN (commercial fuel network) transactions and maintaining all CFN accounts/cards. Laura also maintains and processes the US Bank credit card accounts, processes all phone and internet bills and also answers the phone in the Richmond administrative office. WHEW!!

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She works directly with our membership by assisting with fuel card issues, accounting inquiries and addressing all general questions. Laura considers the best part of her job the people she interacts with daily.

What three words would she use to describe Harvest Land?

  1. Friendly
  2. Knowledgable
  3. Helpful

Laura is an active participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization she volunteers for is Pendleton Junior Baseball. In her time outside work, Laura enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and watching her grandson, Maxx, grow up way too fast while playing baseball and swimming.

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She also enjoys playing guitar for legends like Johnny Cash. 
Or, just visiting Nashville with her husband.

Laura is a very hard worker and a pleasure to work with as part of the Harvest Land team. We’re glad to have her on board!

 

Don’t forget to nominate an outstanding employee for our Salute to Service program!

 

 

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2017 Cultivating Communities Results

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At the beginning of each fiscal year (September 1 – August 31), we encourage our employees to volunteer 8 hours of community service to a cause that is important to them for our Cultivating Communities program. Once eight hours is racked up (time seems to fly when you’re helping others) Harvest Land then donates $75 to the non-profit which the employee volunteered their time.

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It is gratifying to learn about the places and groups that our employees dedicate their time away from the office. Here is a list of organizations that benefited from our employees’ time:

  • Fortville Church of the Nazarene
  • Colliers Heating & Air
  • First Mennonite Church
  • Adams Co. Purdue Extension Office
  • Adams County Herb Club
  • Decatur Fire Dept.
  • American Legion Post 160
  • C & C Bible Fellowship
  • Lewisville Presbyterian Church
  • Tri-Village Athletic Dept.
  • Wayne Co. 4-H Association
  • Cody Holp Memorial
  • Preble Co. Pork Festival
  • Pitsburg Lion’s Club
  • Darke Co. Humane Society
  • Talawanda Athletic Boosters
  • Monroe Twp Food Bank
  • Northeastern Junior High School
  • Queen of Peace Church
  • Chas. A. Beard School-Class of 2021
  • Adams Co. Wabash Workers 4-H Club
  • Country Kritters 4H Club
  • Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen
  • Bradley UMC
  • First Church of Christ
  • Pleasant Valley Cemetery
  • Champaign Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc.
  • Jay County FFA
  • Praise Point Church
  • Crushing Chiari, Inc.
  • Greenhills Baptist Church
  • EUM Church
  • Princeton Pike Church of God
  • Trinity Wesleyan Church
  • Eaton First Church of God
  • Brownsville U.M. Church
  • Randolph Southern School Corp.
  • Royal Family Kids’ Camp
  • Wares Chapel
  • Salvation Army
  • First Presbyterian Church Youth
  • American Legion Auxilary
  • Pack Away Hunger and Christian Charities Backpack Blessings
  • Eaton Church of the Brethren
  • Centerville Youth League
  • Grace Community Church
  • St. Thomas Church
  • Fountain City Weslyan Church
  • St. Mary’s School
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
  • Western Wayne Schools
  • Richmond Family YMCA
  • Wayne Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc./4-H
  • Pendleton Junior Baseball
  • Connersville FFA
  • New Madison Community Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
  • Verona UMC
  • Friends of the Preble Co. Park District
  • Preble Co. YMCA
  • Pleasant View Missionary Church
  • Union Co. Foundation-Troy Gulley Memorial Scholarship

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Fiscal year 2017 has concluded and we’re excited to share with you the footprint our employees left in their communities over the last year, spending their time improving the small towns we call home.

And the final 2017 results are as follows…

CC Results

We offer a sincere thank you to our employees who participated in the Cultivating Communities program in 2017.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time,

and you certainly did just that.

 

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Salute to Service

With more than fifty locations, it can be difficult to hear about all the great things happening within our cooperative, thanks in large part to our team of dedicated employees. As of late, we’ve had several members contact us regarding outstanding customer service from Harvest Land employees.

We appreciate this candid feedback from our members, and we want to keep it going. 

We’d like to invite you to participate in our Salute to Service program, which will recognize employees for a job well done.

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You can participate by sending us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees.

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.

We invite you to tell us

why an employee deserves to be

commended on a job well done.

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In late fall, we’ll present the top Salute to Service entries to our employee base and ask them to vote for the best example of a Harvest Land employee exceeding expectations. The winner – as chosen by their peers – will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize and 2 vacation days. For the person that submits the winning entry? Well, they’ll walk away with $250.

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Keep a watchful eye this harvest season as the weather cools and don’t hesitate to contact us with your story/stories for Salute to Service.

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You can submit entries by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

Deadline to submit entries is November 8, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

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We look forward to hearing about all the great things our hard-working employees do to cultivate positivity in communities and keep our cooperative business strong for the next generation.

 

 

 

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Summer Harvest Supper

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Everything enjoyed during the supper was grown and prepared locally. Sweet corn, green beans, beef, honey, bacon and more.

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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.

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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.

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Local FFA chapters from Western Wayne, Hagerstown and Northeastern joined us to serve the dishes and deliver drinks in an efficient manor.

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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.

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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.

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An Investment in West Milton, Ohio

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On August 1 Harvest Land purchased Community Oil Station, located at 650 S Miami St. West Milton, Ohio.  Community Oil Station has been in operation since 1923 and was previously owned primarily by family. Since being purchased by Harvest Land, it is now owned by our 5,400 farmer-members.

We are proud that the Wilson family would consider our business values and embedded community spirit similar to theirs, creating a smooth transition of ownership. Ownership of the business may have changed, but the quality of service will not. Joe Wilson and Steve Pour joined the Harvest Land team and will continue to service the area they call home.

Though the name of the business is Community Oil Station, Harvest Land did not purchase the physical station, but rather the fuel gallons. We also made a substantial investment into the West Milton community and its people, which we were reminded of earlier this week.

Our CEO received a hand written letter from a farmer who has done business with Community Oil for over 50 years. They described the outstanding level of service received by Community Oil and the relationship of trust built over the decades.

Take a look:

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“If your people is like the family

Joe, Steve & Kathy,

you will be fine with me.”

We can’t explain how much we appreciated this note from someone we’ve not yet met. Their confidence in our ability to keep the family spirit of Community Oil burning bright is not taken lightly.

The purchase of this business doesn’t just represent growth of our farmer-owned cooperative. It also signifies an investment in the West Milton community and a commitment of value to the families which we will serve.

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