By Sean Battles
U.S. Row Crops
Colorado’s state motto is “Nothing without providence.” Perhaps, for good reason.
That’s because it takes many things to put a field fresh vegetable onto the plates of thousands of people across the Centennial State. Charity, foresight, prudent management of resources, a wide network of support – and community spirit.
For the second consecutive year, DEKALB/Asgrow District Sales Manager (DSM) Bruce Postovit has rallied the troops to pick sweet corn at customer Mike Kosman’s farm in Fort Morgan. More than 120 volunteers, including growers, dealers, neighbors and Monsanto employees, picked approximately 50,000 ears of corn in August – nearly twice the previous year’s totals. Food Bank of the Rockies will distribute the picked sweet corn to food banks across Colorado.
Grower Mike Kosman donated the land, water, equipment and management of the crop. Food Bank of the Rockies donated a refrigerated semi-truck. Crop Production Services (CPS), Cenex Harvest States (CHS) and Simplot provided agronomic inputs, equipment, BBQ lunch and volunteers. Pope Farms supplied mesh bags, pallets and bins. Morgan County Young Farmers brought together many volunteers. Monsanto donated four bags of Seminis® sweet corn seed, which were planted on three and half acres within a fully irrigated field of DEKALB brand field corn.
Without their backing and the dedication of the volunteers, “picking day” never would have been made possible, says Postovit. “It also shows the level of support we as a company have from our customers and partners,” he adds.
Postovit gives special thanks to his “A Team”, who contributed to the planning of the event: Mike Kosman, grower; Tim Carpenter, CPS; Ronnie Graff, CHS; Jason Lorenzini, Simplot; Derek Pope, CPS/Pope Farms; and Brent Kleisen, Morgan County Young Farmers.
Kevin Leak, DEKALB/Asgrow Area Business Manager and one of six Monsanto employee volunteers, says he helped pick the sweet corn, because he wanted to support a fellow Monsanto employee in the tremendous undertaking of helping feed the hungry. Leak says he also wanted to give something back to others in Colorado. “For one day, we were not Monsanto, CPS, CHS, Simplot, farmers or other interested corn pickers,” says Leak. “We were all bound together helping serve humanity, led by the vision and efforts of Bruce Postovit – a role model for me and many others in our company and in the industry we work in.”
The vast majority of food donated to food banks is canned and boxed, notes Postovit. “I think what is unique about this event is that it provides a fresh vegetable to food banks across Colorado,” he says. And, ultimately, on the plates of those most in need.
In addition to donating food, Postovit used picking day to educate volunteers, many of whom had never set foot on a farm, about production agriculture. “We had 120 volunteers picking three acres. To pick the remaining 127 acres of field corn in that field I would have needed 5,200 people,” he says.
Postovit continues: “I wanted them to understand the scale efficiency needed to grow food for the world, and I wanted to make sure everyone understands how important farmers are to our existence.”
Families were encouraged to bring their kids to help pick sweet corn, adds Postovit, because it is fun for them and it shows them where the food on their table comes.
Postovit submitted the personal charity event to Monsanto Together, Monsanto’s global employee volunteer program, requesting a $2,000 team service grant for Food Bank of the Rockies. “The Monsanto Together volunteer program aligns with Monsanto’s value of good citizenship, and it is an opportunity for employees to make a difference in someone’s life, change a community, and feel a sense of satisfaction from helping others,” says Brenda Cockrell, Volunteer Program Manager. “A bonus is that employees may request service grants to the organizations where they volunteer their time, making it a win for all involved.”
To date, MonsantoTogether has logged more than 115,000 hours in the Americas since the program began in June 2010 and has paid out more than $600,000 in service grants to not-for-profit organizations.
Seminis® is a registered trademark of Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc.