Across the United States, members of BASF's Harvest Partners preferred customer program are pooling Harvest Points award credits to make a difference in their communities.

Beginning in 1993, Harvest Partners, a rural customer loyalty program, began allowing Harvest Partners members to donate their Harvest Points to charities and non-profit organizations as a point redemption option.

To date, members have given more than 42.3 million points — more than $423,000 — to organizations across the United States, including the American Red Cross, the National FFA Organization, international relief organizations and community churches, schools and development projects.

In Rushville, Ill., members pooled points to create the Schuylar Track and Field Association. “Kids in our town needed something to do,” said Chris Trone, a founding member of the Schuylar Track and Field Association. “So a small number of us decided we should build a track. We have raised money in many ways for the track, but the donated Harvest Points are a big part of its success. They have made a lot of things possible, including our new press box.”

Since 1996, Harvest Points also have been used at the track to build new lights and a section of bleachers. Trone himself donated more than 100,000 points to the project.

Ronald Downs, a Harvest Partners member since 1993, has given more than 400,000 points to the track. “I decided the best thing to do was to donate my points and help out the kids,” Downs said. “Now when I get points, I hand them to the association. I know how much they can use them.”

Other Harvest Partners members donated points to the track, and Trone is quick to point out that no matter the size, all point donations are helpful. “This would not have happened without all of the people who have donated points, whether they gave 10 points or 10,000,” he said. “A small number of points may not mean much to one person, but when you put them towards one goal like this, they add up and make a big difference.”

In Clutier, Iowa, Harvest Points are making a difference as well. Mike and Diane Wieben donated their points to the Dysart Community Service Committee, an organization started to build a new library and swimming pool for their town.

“I had used Harvest Points for a few other things, but when my father donated his points, I realized this would be a good thing to do with ours,” Mike Wieben said. “We cashed in two years worth of points and gave it to the library and pool fund. It was the best way we could contribute.”

Along with countless other donations from the community, the Wieben's points are making a difference. Construction for the library will begin this year.

Doyle and Janie Moss, lifelong residents in Brownfield, Texas, and members of the Grace Baptist Fellowship Church, also have seen good things happen with donated Harvest Points.

“The money we donated through Harvest Points went toward the purchase of pews for our church,” Doyle Moss said. “I was glad I could do it. The ability to donate points is a good program, and it worked out well for us.”

Founded in 1992 as a way to reward growers for purchasing select crop protection products, Harvest Partners was the first — and is still the most comprehensive — rural customer loyalty program.

The program, which now has 1.2 million members, came under the auspices of BASF when the manufacturer acquired American Cyanamid in 2000. Harvest Partners is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year by highlighting the numerous benefits of the program.

“Using Harvest Points for non-profit groups or community projects is just a wonderful way to help others,” said Jeff Klock, Harvest Partners program manager. “We are pleased to be able to help our members give back to their communities or those in need.”

To learn more about the Harvest Partners program or donating points, visit the Website at www.harvestpartners.com or call 800-258-2345.