The Corn Project

IHartHarvest Inc. - The Corn Project - January 2012

- The Corn Project Proposal - What is it?

The Corn Project is an idea put forth, to grow seed corn to sell and help provide sustainable support for The Potato Project.

Within our current infrastructure, we can harvest a finite quantity of potatoes. In the 2011 season we initiated harvest with weekly Walk-In Friday Sessions starting in July. These sessions as it turns out, enabled a completed total harvest of 12.7 acres of potatoes being 77,000 pounds. We finished total harvest just in time as the early October Halloween snow storm hit the area the following weekend. While we have found better ways to harvest more potatoes yearly since 2009 in our 2011 season, our infrastructure harvest process remains labor intensive. The current harvest infrastructure suggests limits to the amount of potato acres we can harvest as currently estimated to be 6 to 8 acres. What then, rather than not utilizing any additional acres offered to the program, might we do?

In 2011 we were offered a total estimate of 25 acres total, of which we set 12 (13.2) acres, 12.7 into potatoes, and the rest into trialing summer squash, electing to allow still 12 additional acres as offered to not be utilized. It is good practice to rotate plot crops, especially as potatoes are heavy users of nutrients from the soil while potatoes deposit nitrogen in return. Our potato planting density is low at 750 pounds per acre utilizing the older equipment we have, and this being about 1/3 of modern plant density population. This allows us to plant potatoes up to 3 years into a particular plot taking into account the end harvest production numbers of a current crop, expecting production to noticeably fall off in successive production years.

Hence as put forth; the idea of The Corn Project. As stated this allows apportioned funding of The Potato Project, and too allows us to plan and rotate the potato crop in plots, maintaining the offered land into the program. Harvested corn seed will be sold locally to a wholesaler or direct buyer. The funds collected will go directly to support The Potato Project, intending to add financial stability in planning successive year planting season, infrastructure, and opportunistic expansion of the project as may be elected. Any additional or excess funds could go directly to local food pantries, and or The Greater Berks Food Bank in support of food for neighbors in need. The additional gift of the Kubota L3800HST Tractor enables the possibility of alternatives such as this seed corn project.

Why corn for the acres outside of potato capability?

While summer squash was trialed last season, it, as well as other food crops, is intensely demanding in that, when the crop is ready it must be harvested, unlike the characteristics of the potato crop which can wait for planned group harvest sessions. Scheduling other food crops to come to fruition outside of the term of potatoes, leaves us without the people-power for a harvest as well, in that as little as we'd like to admit it - church is closed for the summer from June through the beginning of September as to practical purposes of scheduling group harvest sessions. Without the required manpower, we do not have the current where-with-all of mechanical harvest equipment for any other food crop than potatoes, to this point, in efforts to continue to do good in the community. A corn seed crop can fit into our present infrastructure with auxiliary infrastructure expansion funding, and likely able to pay for itself within the first season of harvest. This too answers the need of minimal manpower, such a project being reduced to the need only of equipment operators. Corn averages upward of $6 a bushel, weighing an average of 55 pounds, and 100-175 bushel harvest to an acre within acceptable growing conditions for our area.

Additional optional, used, infrastructure equipment would and may need to be purchased such as : 1 Row Corn Picker, Trail Wagon, PTO Grain Sheller. Or, purchase of used Combine, Grain Auger, Transport Vehicle, and sundry, as need advantageously presents.

Starting a Land Program where our Church, and community concerned peoples can honorably offer their volunteed land for donated use in support of our hungry neighbors in need, allows better provisioning and management of The Potato Project, supports ideals, and overall stewardship. -/wz

Please review the new Land Use document.

7/9/2012: The Corn Project has been put in place and initiated this 2012 season, and we currently have approximately 9.42 Acres placed and planted into this years hopefull production.

MikeR Camp Serranova 2Acres Siesholtzville, Board of Becker's St. Peter's Cemetery extra land 2.62A Molltown, Rev. Dave Wereley 3.5A Topton, Walt&LindaZ Plot 1.3A Moselem. -/wz