April 22, 2019

Archives for April 2013

Bob Burkhardt to Retire as MaxYield CFO

Bob Burkardt

Bob Burkhardt will retire as CFO from MaxYield in 2014.

MaxYield Cooperative today announced that Bob Burkhardt, chief financial officer, will retire from the company, effective January 1, 2014. Burkhardt has been the company’s CFO since 1999.

Burkhardt has been and will continue to be a key member of MaxYield’s senior team.

During his tenure at MaxYield, the company has significantly improved its balance sheet, achieved record earnings in three of the last five years and the cooperative has grown significantly during that time.

MaxYield will begin the search for Burkhardt’s replacement in June 2013.

 

Total Seed Solutions: MaxYield Sees Higher Yields in Your Fields

Greg Sweeney MaxYield SeedHow do you squeeze out an extra 5 to 10 bushels per acre? By working with seed experts who know your farming operation and understand your unique situation.

“We want to be the seed knowledge experts who can spot the next big things to help you boost yield,” said Greg Sweeney, who is transitioning from a seed solutions specialist to MaxYield Cooperative’s seed team leader. “Since it’s hard to be a leader without really understanding everything that’s going on with our clients’ acres, we’re emphasizing education about seed genetics and hybrid and variety management techniques to provide total solutions for our clients.”

Sweeney’s new role will help ensure a unified focus on seed solutions throughout MaxYield. He will also work closely with Seed Solutions Specialists Kurt Metzger and Dan Stokes to identify clients’ needs and work more effectively with seed companies. “We’ll have a seed expert in every area of MaxYield to provide our clients with customized seed solutions,” said Sweeney.

Spending more time in the field

This new arrangement will allow MaxYield’s seed solutions specialists and agronomy specialists to spend more time in clients’ fields during the growing season and assist clients more effectively throughout the year.

“Seed has become, and will continue to be, a more complex decision for our clients,” said Metzger, MaxYield’s seed solutions specialist for the West Region. “MaxYield is placing more of an emphasis on seed to benefit our clients and help us move forward with our seed division.”

Making soybeans more fun to grow

Some of the most exciting changes in the seed industry in the near future will involve soybeans, Sweeney noted. “There are new solutions on the horizon that will make soybeans more fun to grow. We will be looking at new ways to help clients produce 60, 70, or 75 bushels per acre consistently.”

As Sweeney transitions to his new role as seed team leader, he’ll continue to work directly with some clients as MaxYield hires a replacement for his seed solutions specialist role. He looks forward to the opportunities that his leadership role will bring. “This is a new challenge for me, and it’s also a way to help take MaxYield’s seed solutions from good to great.”

More information about MaxYield Seed, can be found online at www.MaxYieldSeed.com.

 

 

Hedging 101: How MaxYield’s Risk Management Benefits You

MaxYield West Bend IA cornHedging isn’t just for farmers. It’s also a smart risk management strategy for MaxYield Cooperative.

“Hedging allows an elevator to hold its grain until a favorable marketing opportunity comes along,” said Karl Setzer, grain solutions team leader for MaxYield. “This ultimately benefits our clients.”

To help you understand how this works, we’ve compiled some questions and answers to give you an insider’s perspective on hedging and risk management.

Q: Why does MaxYield hedge?

A: Hedging is a critical price protection strategy. Since grain elevators don’t have revenue insurance, we have to make our own through hedging. Think of this as an insurance policy that helps protect MaxYield from the time we purchase grain from clients until the time we sell a trainload of grain (which equals 360,000–400,000 bushels).

“Hedging allows a cooperative like MaxYield to accumulate inventory, with the ultimate goal of adding value,” said Bruce Nelson, senior risk consultant with FCStone in West Des Moines. “By combining small grain purchases from clients, MaxYield can offer large purchasing opportunities for major end users and processors that are interested in buying up to one million or more bushels at a time.”

Hedging also helps protect MaxYield from market volatility, added Setzer, who noted that price swings of 15 to 20 cents per day aren’t uncommon. “In years past, we’d tally up how much grain the co-op took in that day, and we wouldn’t put on hedges until the end of the work day,” said Setzer, who has spent 17 years of his career with MaxYield. “Now, I hedge each bushel of grain within seconds of MaxYield buying it to eliminate risk.”

Q: What could happen if MaxYield didn’t hedge?

A: Grain terminals and ethanol plants have gone out of business by failing to hedge properly, said Setzer, who noted that the majority of large commercial grain handlers and cooperatives hedge their grain. “We have an important responsibility to our members, and we’re not in the business of speculating.”

This is a smart solution, Nelson said. “In my 27 years in this business, I’ve never seen a customer get in trouble by running a legitimate hedge, but I can’t count the number of people who’ve lost big by speculating.”

Q: How does MaxYield hedge?

A: Straight futures contracts are the most common hedging tool, although options can also be used. MaxYield tends to use straight futures contracts, because they are more defined. “We use a back-to-back system, so as soon as we make a grain purchase, we make a sale on the Board of Trade,” Setzer said. “We hold that futures position until we sell the cash grain.”

Q: How does hedging influence MaxYield’s grain bids?

A: A disciplined hedging program allows MaxYield to find more grain marketing opportunities, which can translate to higher bids. “The better we can hedge, the more attractive bids we can publish,” Setzer said. To understand why competing elevators or end users sometimes offer higher bids, it’s important to understand basis (the difference between futures and cash values). Basis is determined primarily by transportation costs, handling fees (the money it costs to put grain in the bin, take it back out, and load it), and insurance costs. “Basis is like a choke or a throttle,” Setzer said. “When you tighten it, it means you need more grain, and when you widen it, you need less grain.”

Since end users need a constant supply of grain and don’t store grain, they pay farmers a premium to give up some of the opportunities provided by the local cooperative.

Q: What are some other ways that hedging benefits MaxYield’s clients?

A: MaxYield understands the importance of risk management in agriculture. “Each time we buy a bushel of corn, we know what we paid for it, but we don’t know how much we can sell it for,” Setzer said. “That’s why we rely on hedging for price protection. It’s also why we promote risk management so heavily to our clients, because we know how critical it is.”

Clients can feel comfortable with MaxYield’s grain marketing solutions, Nelson said. “MaxYield is a phenomenal company with a solid risk management plan in place.”

RESCHEDULED: Preferred Stock Meeting Slated for Lakota

UPDATE 2: Lakota meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, April 25th. Details below. 

 

MaxYield Cooperative announced recently the sale of $6 million in preferred stock that pays an annual 5% dividend. We know you’ll have questions. That’s why we have scheduled an informational meeting in Lakota.

This meeting is open to the public, and you do not need to be a MaxYield member or client to attend or participate.

We look forward to seeing you in:

Thursday, April 26th: 7:00 p.m. @ the Lakota Eagle Center

Additional information about the stock offering is online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com/preferredstock.

See you there!

 

 

 

This is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy Class A preferred stock issued by MaxYield Cooperative. Offers are made only by disclosure statement and other offering materials. No commission or other compensation is being paid to brokers or sales agents related to this offering.

Confessions of a Pinball Wizard

Randal MoffittImagine a place where you can feel like a kid again, energized by flashing lights and chiming bells as you blast a silver ball from corner to corner of a vintage pinball machine. It’s an everyday occurrence in Randal Moffitt’s basement-turned-arcade.

“Pinball is still the best,” said Moffitt, 44, a MaxYield Cooperative truck driver and custom applicator from Estherville. “I have 15 restored pinball machines in my basement, and I play almost every night.”

Like many kids who grew up in the 1970s, Moffitt got hooked on pinball at an early age. “Dad would take us to Evans Recreation in Estherville, where there were a couple of pinball machines in the back of the pool hall. Playing pinball was great, and I’d just get lost in it.”

Moffitt’s love for the game never died, and here are five things you may not know about this “pinball addict.”

1. Moffitt helps preserve pieces of the past. An American phenomenon, pinball machines are time capsules of American history. In the 1930s, airplane themes abounded on pinball machines, while rocket-inspired designs dominated by the 1960s. Through the decades, pinball machines’ artwork also reflected American pop culture, from music to movies, said Moffitt, who noted that Close Encounters of the Third Kind was the first movie-themed pinball machine. At the height of the pinball craze in the 1960s and 1970s, a dozen companies in the Chicago area manufactured pinball machines, added Moffitt, who can tell a Gottlieb from a Bally just by the sound of the bells. Today, only the Stern Company of Illinois continues to manufacture pinball machines.

Randal Moffitt pinball2. Moffitt knows pinball machines inside and out. When pinball machines debuted in the 1930s, the first games were little more than nails on a board. “It was like Plinko, where players shot the ball and it fell wherever it landed,” said Moffitt, who noted that manufacturers added zipper flippers in the 1940s to keep balls in play longer. As the machines became more sophisticated, manufacturers added self-cleaning electrical contacts. “The engineering that went into these machines was unbelievable,” said Moffitt, who noted that all pinball machines operate with essentially the same types of switches and gears.

3. Restoring classic Americana is more than fun and games. Since pinball machines were designed to attract attention and make money in bars, bowling alleys, and pool halls, they took a lot of abuse and had to be durable. “To find one in really nice condition is pretty rare,” said Moffitt, who has restored pinball machines for more than a decade. “The worst thing for a pinball machine is to just sit. They need to be played with.” To keep his machines in top condition, Moffitt replaces the balls every year and uses a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe down the play fields, which he also waxes periodically.

Sky Jump pinball4. Younger generations are fascinated by Moffitt’s old school classics. While the introduction of video games in the 1980s marked the end of pinball’s heyday, kids are mesmerized when they see a pinball machine for the first time. “A few years ago my wife and I took two pinball machines to Graettinger for the prom, and the kids flocked around the machines all night,” said Moffitt, who enjoys playing pinball with his sons. While games sometimes end after a few seconds, they can last up to six minutes on one round if you follow the right sequence to keep the ball in play, Moffitt noted. “Pinball is relaxing and fun at the same time.”

5. MaxYield’s culture rings a bell with Moffitt. Just as Moffitt appreciates the variety of challenges that come with restoring pinball machines, he also enjoys the variety of jobs he handles at MaxYield. Since he joined the company in September of 2012, he has hauled liquid fertilizer, loaded trains in Dickens and Mallard, and will handle custom application jobs this spring. “I love the work and really appreciate MaxYield’s safety-first culture,” Moffitt said. “The people of MaxYield have a positive attitude, and this says a lot about the company.”

 

Editor’s note: A 1987 graduate of Estherville High School, Moffitt is married to his high school sweetheart, April, who teaches family and consumer sciences. The couple has two sons, Connor, 14, and Shane, 10. When he’s not spending time with his family or restoring pinball machines, Moffitt leads the FIRST (For Inspiration, Science and Technology) 4-H Club and teams up with his wife to teach 5th and 6th grade Sunday school classes at the United Methodist Church in Estherville.

MaxYield Completes Sale of Garner Lumber Business

MaxYield Cooperative announced today the closing of a real estate transaction to sell its Lumber & Supply business to Adam and Denise Upmeyer. The Upmeyer’s will operate the business as Garner Lumber & Supply Company. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

In September 2012, MaxYield Lumber & Supply’s south warehouse and inventory were destroyed in a fire. There were no injuries, however, the structure and contents were a total loss.

At the subsequent MaxYield board of director meeting, the board directed the leadership team to pursue transferring ownership of their lumber business to an interested local buyer.

The real estate closing was completed Wednesday, April 10th and the inventory closing will take place in the summer of 2013, upon completed construction of the Upmeyer’s new warehouse.

“This is just what MaxYield Cooperative and our board of directors hoped to accomplish following the September fire. The transition of the Garner lumber business to a local buyer is a positive for Adam & Denise, MaxYield and the Garner community,” said Keith Heim, MaxYield CEO.

Heim stated that the cooperative will be working with the Upmeyer’s on the transition of the business to a new location.

MaxYield Cooperative is a local member-owned agricultural cooperative that has 17 locations in Iowa and one in Riga, MI. It is headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com.

 

Collete Haag Earns Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Collete Haag MaxYield Scholarship

MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Collete Haag is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Thomas and Patti Haag of rural Buffalo Center. She will be a 2013 graduate of North Union High School. Haag will be attending Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Accounting, with an emphasis on agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA. More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

 

 

Collin Julius Earns Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Colin Julius MaxYield Scholarship

MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Collin Julius is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

He is the son of James and Rhea Julius of Titonka. He will be a 2013 graduate of Algona High School. Julius plans to attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Animal Science.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA. More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

Lakota Preferred Stock Offering Meeting Scheduled

MaxYield Cooperative announced recently the sale of $6 million in preferred stock that pays an annual 5% dividend. We know you’ll have questions. That’s why we have scheduled an informational meeting in Lakota.

This meeting is open to the public, and you do not need to be a MaxYield member or client to attend or participate.

We look forward to seeing you in:

Thursday, April 18th: 7:00 p.m. @ the Lakota Eagle Center

Additional information about the stock offering is online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com/preferredstock.

See you there!

 

This is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy Class A preferred stock issued by MaxYield Cooperative. Offers are made only by disclosure statement and other offering materials. No commission or other compensation is being paid to brokers or sales agents related to this offering.

 

Spencer Location Continues to Grow

MaxYield SpencerThe Spencer location is no longer MaxYield Cooperative’s best-kept secret, and that’s great news for MaxYield’s clients.

“Our Spencer facility has been a hidden success story, but we want people to know that we’re ready and able to do more business in the Spencer area,” said Larry Arndt, MaxYield’s agronomy team leader.

MaxYield has leased its Spencer facility, which is located on the west side of Highway 71 near the Ready-Mix plant, since 2009. In years past, the facility housed a privately-owned seed company and was once owned by Cargill®. Arndt is based out of Spencer, along with Paul Anderson, a MaxYield grain originator who previously worked at the Fostoria location. MaxYield’s A.J. Goodchild also works out of the Spencer location during the spring seed season from March through early June.

Conference area offers meeting space

Since the Spencer location doesn’t include a grain elevator, it’s not your typical co-op facility. It fits perfectly with MaxYield’s needs, however, since it features a 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art seed warehouse that has allowed the company to add seed treatment services for its West Region. The Spencer location also includes more than 8,000 square feet of storage space for crop protection products.

In addition, the facility features a 3,400-square-foot office, complete with a modern conference area that can accommodate groups of 10 to 12 people. MaxYield has hosted meetings here for team members, board members, and growers.

“Because MaxYield’s business is growing, especially south and west of Spencer, this location has become a key facility for us,” Arndt said. “As we increase our seed business and expand our agronomy service at Dickens and Fostoria, we continue to get more use out of the Spencer location each year.”

The Spencer location also includes nine acres of research and development farmland where MaxYield team members have planted various test plots and conducted LibertyLink® soybean trials.

You’re invited to stop by

Anderson, who has been based in Spencer since early 2013, looks forward to serving more MaxYield clients as he focuses on grain origination. “We’ve got a pot of coffee on, and I encourage you to stop by and visit.”