Grain sows seeds of giving


Watch out. Jackson County farmers will soon start moving their big red and green machines along area roads, creeping from field to field, shelling corn and picking beans. Yes, the annual grain harvest is nearly upon us.

The forecast looks good, with more than 64 percent of Hoosier corn and 66 percent of soybeans rated good to excellent through the August 24 Indiana Weekly Weather Report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a vast improvement over conditions a year ago when only about 33 percent of both corn and beans held those ratings.

“Crops really look good right now,” Richard Beckort of Purdue Extension Jackson County said recently. “They’ve had some good, timely rains throughout the growing season.”

This time last year, conditions were pretty bleak across many Jackson County fields because of heavy and persistent spring rains followed by long dry spells during the summer.

We’ll hope for a good yield throughout the county. A prayer for a safe harvest, as always, accompanies those hopes. Farming and ag-related businesses play a big role in the Jackson County economy and in giving to the nonprofit sector.

Each harvest season, the Community Foundation of Jackson County makes a tool available to area farmers to help them support the community — the Giving a Gift of Grain program. We rightly anticipated — and certainly understood — that giving through the program would drop some last year as a result of a generally poor harvest. This year, we hope to see gifts of grain return strong.

Participating in the Gift of Grain program is simple and can take place at participating elevators — Premier Ag in Cortland, Bundy Brothers at Medora, Rose Acre Farms at Cortland and Tampico Grain near Crothersville.

A farmer’s gift can benefit the area’s agricultural community through grants to programs such as 4-H funds, scholarship funds such as the Premier Companies/Bob Myers Scholarship and the Jackson County Veterinary Scholarship.

They also can benefit the fall grant cycle with gifts to unrestricted funds. D&B Pfaffenberger & Sons Grain of Seymour has done just that the last several years with donations to the foundation’s Community Fund. Earnings from those endowed gifts will fund grants this autumn and every year through the Fall Grant cycle.

Donald Schnitker of Cortland plans to again make a Gift of Grain donation this year. He will direct it to the Orville and Mary Schnitker Memorial Endowment, which was started in December 2016 by Schnitker and his siblings, Lois Bryden and Lora Willey, to honor their parents.

“In good harvest years and bad, we as farmers still have much to be thankful for and should be proud to share our blessings with the community where we live,” Schnitker said.

The Schnitker fund has paid grants to Gleaners, Girls Inc. of Jackson County and other local nonprofits.

For information about the Giving a Gift of Grain program, or its companion program, Giving a Gift of Livestock, contact the foundation at 812-523-4483 or send an email to [email protected]. We’ll be happy to work with you as you harvest your crops and sow the seeds to help us grow better tomorrows.

The foundation also invites tractor enthusiasts to stand up and vote — with their donations — for their favorite implements in the Head to Head: Green vs. Red competition this fall.

A $25 donation entitles the donor to cast one vote for their favorite equipment line. A $100 donation entitles the donor to five votes. You can vote by sending a check to P.O. Box 1231, Seymour, IN 47274, or by going online to and clicking on the Donate Now button.

Just one more thing — let’s be careful out there as those combines, grain trucks and gravity-flow trailers make their way, often slowly, along area roads as farmers hustle to bring in their harvest. Safety’s a two-way street, and we all have a role to play.

Dan Davis is President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County. The foundation administers more than 200 funds with assets of more than $11 million. For information about how you can make a donation to any of the funds administered by the foundation or how you might start a new fund, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to Dan Davis at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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