I love stories like this!! And you all know how much I love “God's country, York county!”
For about ten years now, a few Waco High grads have been getting together for coffee, and for the past year, I've been joining them. The fellow who keeps it all together is a second cousin, but that's nothing special; I have gobs of second cousins..
However, Allen lives in town and has coffee with area farmers most mornings; early. Sadly, this past week, they've been available all day because they are all hailed out!! Plus, they are not in the mood to replant because we are heading to the hottest days of the year and the pivots are all wrecked! Allen's advice to them all?? Take the insurance and get a job!
But that's not what I'm smiling about this afternoon. I've been vaguely aware that they raise a lot of popcorn in Nebraska; some in North Bend, I know, for sure. It seems they also raise some in Chapman, near Central City. And it's that story I love.
You all remember the 80's, right? Yeah, we all lost our shirts. It seems that Norm Krug, a farmer at Chapman, decided to change his cash crop to popcorn, and the rest is history. Preferred Popcorn now ships to seventy countries, as well as every state in the Union, of course. He isn't raising all that popcorn by himself; there are four “founding fathers” in the area, and lots more; even in Indiana, called Preferred Popcorn East.
They basically have the market cornered on popcorn kernels; you can order the kernels plain, or you can order several microwave styles, like buttered or kettle, for instance. So, they have decided to now sell popped popcorn. And that's where the development director for York county comes in.
I checked her out; Lisa Hurley has had a couple awards. She knows her stuff, and is on top of things. Somehow, and I don't know how, she learned that Preferred Popcorn was going to buy a warehouse in Omaha in which to make popped popcorn..
At Waco, my dear old hometown, they used to make Earth stoves, the most efficient wood burning stoves on the market. We had one on the farm at Apex; it was really nice to have auxiliary heat, and even a place to warm coffee or soup when the power went off. And we had a lot of wood.
Well, the demand for the Earth stoves dried up and the warehouse where they made them has sat empty, right on Highway 34, for quite a while. Lisa called the Preferred Popcorn people to tell them about this fine building, and what do you know? They are going to make their popped popcorn in Waco!
It's been renovated for their purposes, and Allen has toured it. It's all brand spanking new and clean, and they are hiring. (Isn't everyone?) But I think I'd like to work for this company. If you get on the website, you see some core values displayed. They match up with the ones I grew up with, in Waco!
So, now, those farmers who are hailed out have a handy dandy place to work for the rest of this year. Who knows, some may decide not to go back to farming. I've often remarked that when a farmer gets a 40 hour a week job, with insurance, paid holidays, and two weeks of paid vacation, he will think he's died and gone to Heaven!
Here is their opportunity: as I said, I love stories like this!