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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Berry Plastics, antique tractor enthusiasts harvest cash crops for charity

Proceeds from seven acres of field corn next to Berry Plastics in Goshen will benefit Church Community Services and the Salvation Army.

Posted on Oct. 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 23, 2013 at 4:09 p.m.

GOSHEN — After not being able to plant crops last year because of a drought, Berry Plastics in Goshen hopes to harvest as many as 1,000 bushels of field corn that will be sold to benefit Church Community Services and the Salvation Army.

The plastics manufacturer partnered with a group of antique tractor enthusiasts in the Northern Indiana Johnny Poppers Club to harvest the corn Wednesday, Oct. 23. With seeds donated by Brodbeck Seeds, the corn was grown on seven acres next to the company’s plant in the southern part of Goshen.

“For the first two years we planted sweet corn, and in 2011 we planted squash,” said Carol Marquart, human resources manager at Berry Plastics. “We didn’t get to do anything last year because of the drought.”

A team of seven antique John Deere tractors took to the field Wednesday where they harvested rows of field corn that will be sold with proceeds benefiting Church Community Services’ Seed to Feed program, a volunteer-run effort that helps stock the nonprofit organization’s shelves with fresh produce and meat. Berry Plastics also wants to sponsor two or three families through the Salvation Army in Goshen for Christmas, Marquart added.

Members of the Northern Indiana Johnny Poppers Club are no strangers to harvesting crops for charity. This weekend, the group will get together to harvest more than 50 acres of farmland in New Paris and distribute the crops among local food pantries and nonprofit organizations.

“It’s a nice little thing, and we enjoy it,” said Gary Riegsecker, the club’s project coordinator. “It gives us a chance to play with our antique equipment, and it’s a good deed. We have a good time doing it.”

Marquart hopes Berry Plastics’ project will inspire other companies to follow in its footsteps.

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