November 27, 2020

Archives for October 2013

Lakota Hunting with Heroes Receives Airfare Contribution

Hunting with HeroesSheryll Denney, MaxYield-Lakota Team Leader (right) presents Bernie Becker with a contribution for the Lakota “Hunting with Heroes” project. The contribution will pay the airfare to fly the soldiers to Iowa for the event in November.

The Land O’Lakes Foundation provided matching funds to further offset the cost of air travel.

“Hunting with Heroes” provides a pheasant hunting weekend at the Becker farm near Lakota, IA to injured active duty U.S. Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejune, NC.

MaxYield Cooperative is a member-owned cooperative that has 18 locations in Iowa and Michigan. They are headquartered in West Bend, IA. More information about the local cooperative can be found at:

The Land O’Lakes Foundation ( supports causes that improve the quality of life in rural communities where the cooperative has members, employees, plants and facilities.

Seed Internship Grows Into SciMax Job

Rachel Norby SciMaxWe will be at ISU’s Ag Career Day October 15th and at SDSU in Brookings, SD October 16th, discussing internships and careers at MaxYield.

When Rachel Norby was hired as marketing and sales intern at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in 2012, she enjoyed working closely with the SciMax Solutions team. After the internship concluded, she took the opportunity to work part-time with SciMax during her last semester at Iowa State University (ISU), developing sales sheets and promotional materials.

When a SciMax Solutions level 1 trainee role opened up in the spring, Norby was ready for her next career move. “You have to prove yourself as a young professional in agriculture,” said Norby, who earned her degree in ag studies from Iowa State University in May of 2013. “SciMax is growing, and I wanted to be a full-time member of the team.”

Norby had already built a solid foundation by working part-time with Peter Bixel, Rodney Legleiter, Janie Imming, and Eric Goodman. “I also enjoyed getting to meet SciMax clients at winter meetings. I like interacting with clients to help them maximize their profit potential.”

Rural roots run deep

Norby’s passion for agriculture is rooted in her rural background. She grew up on a corn and soybean farm near Osage, and her experiences in 4-H and FFA inspired her to study agriculture in college.

“I especially liked the leadership competitions in FFA, including parliamentary procedure, conduct of meetings, and farm business management,” Norby said.

Although she began her college career in ag education, Norby switched to the more broad-based ag studies curriculum by the end of her sophomore year. Her interest in agriculture grew as she completed a number of internships as an undergraduate, including crop scouting with BMP Agronomics in Charles City and working with ISU Extension in Mitchell County.

The knowledge she gained through her college internships, along with her ISU education and part-time role at SciMax, helped her transition quickly to her full-time job with SciMax. Today, she handles a variety of duties, such as collecting data from clients’ yield monitors and entering the data into the computer.

“While I had some background in precision ag coming into this job, I’ve learned a lot at MaxYield. I like working with the people at SciMax and MaxYield because they help answer my questions and make me feel like I’m part of the team.”

Norby also appreciates the opportunity to grow her career in northern Iowa and work with area farmers. “It’s a great time to be involved in agriculture, and I’m glad to be part of SciMax.”

Editor’s note: Norby’s family raises Morgan horses. In her free time, Norby enjoys working with the horses and going on trail rides.



Megan Phelan’s Career Takes Root at MaxYield

Megan Phelan MaxYieldWe will be at ISU’s Ag Career Day October 15th and at SDSU in Brookings, SD October 16th, discussing internships and careers at MaxYield.

When Megan Phelan received her diploma from Iowa State University’s (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences last December, she was surprised when Dean Wendy Wintersteen stopped her as she crossed the stage.

“In front of everyone she congratulated me on my choice to work for MaxYield Cooperative and said they are a really great company,” said Phelan, who earned her degree in agronomy and international ag studies. “That made me feel really good.”

Phelan joined MaxYield in early January of 2013 as an agronomy specialist level 1 trainee in the company’s West Region. After participating in extensive sales and agronomy training, Phelan headed to the fields this spring and summer to scout clients’ crops, assess weed pressure, and write up work orders so the right crop protection products can be applied. She also had the opportunity to ride along in a sprayer to learn more about that side of the business.

“Everyone has been really helpful,” said Phelan, who is based in Fostoria. “This strong support system has helped me transition quickly into an agronomy specialist mode.”

Growing in new directions

An Iowa native, Phelan credits her interest in agriculture to her family’s farming heritage. Although she started her college career as an education major, she switched to agronomy during her junior year.

“I made this decision one day while I was helping my dad plant our crops,” recalled Phelan, whose family farms near Perry. “As I was working with the seed, I decided I didn’t want to work in a classroom every day.”

Phelan knew she had made the right choice when she began taking ag classes at ISU. “I especially like the science of agronomy and enjoy going out to the field and diagnosing weed and insect issues.”

To expand her knowledge, Phelan joined ISU’s Agronomy Club and worked in research part-time at a company in Ames. Her interest in international agriculture also opened up opportunities to travel and study abroad in Ghana, China, and Brazil.

As her December 2012 graduation quickly approached, Phelan turned to the ag career office at ISU as she began searching for jobs in the seed industry and agronomy sales. Career Services Director Mike Gaul connected her with MaxYield.

“Mike had good things to say about MaxYield. As I looked at MaxYield’s website, I got a real sense of the people behind the company and liked their values. I also liked the fact that MaxYield could help me build a career in Iowa.”

People-first culture sets MaxYield apart

Since accepting MaxYield’s job offer, Phelan has enjoyed establishing her career in agriculture.

“I appreciate all the on-the-job training and have been learning a lot,” said Phelan, who has shadowed sales calls with team member Mark Eisenman in Britt.

What is the most enjoyable part of her job? Getting to know the growers in the area. “Farmers in this area are very progressive, and I learn from every one of them.”

As she continues to build her skills, Phelan has been attending many Answer Plot field days this summer and is looking forward to a week-long agronomy training seminar in Minnesota this fall. “MaxYield gives me the resources I need to provide solutions to our clients.”

This culture of excellence sets MaxYield apart from the competition, Phelan added. “When you’re looking for a job, I think a company’s culture is even more important than location, job duties, or anything else. I like the close-knit, family atmosphere at MaxYield. We’re encouraged to build our skills, and we’re well-respected here.”

Editor’s note: Phelan is an avid fan of ISU football and enjoys tailgating at Jack Trice Stadium. She also cheers on the men’s and women’s basketball teams at ISU.


Yield loss harvesting soybeans below 13%


MaxYield grain analyst Karl Setzer passes this along…



Mason Nicklos Meets a New Challenge

Mason NicklosWhen Mason Nicklos accepted an agronomy specialist level 1 trainee job at MaxYield Cooperative in June of 2012, he had no idea he would advance so quickly.

“By late fall of last year, MaxYield needed a client service representative to help our agronomists,” said Nicklos, who is based in Emmetsburg. “It was a baptism by fire, but I’ve been given lots of support in this new role.”

In January of 2013, Nicklos transitioned permanently into his new role, which is part operations and part sales. He manages the seed warehouse, handles work orders and billing, and oversees safety efforts. Nicklos and his team members serve clients in Iowa from Pocahontas and Mallard to Ruthven and Ayrshire and beyond, and into Minnesota.

“I appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given here and like the family atmosphere at MaxYield,” said Nicklos, who grew up in Ogden. “People show you respect, and I’m increasing my agronomy knowledge every day.”

Mentors make a positive difference

Nicklos first became acquainted with MaxYield while he was still a student at Iowa State University (ISU). He made a point to visit with MaxYield team members during the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s spring career fair.

“I had heard nothing but good things about MaxYield and wanted to meet them,” said Nicklos, who earned his ag business degree from ISU in May of 2012.

Pursuing an ag career in Iowa was the logical next step for Nicklos, who began working on farms when he was about 12 years old and later bagged seed at the DeKalb plant near Boone.

“I grew up around agriculture and love the people in this industry. By the time I interviewed for a job with MaxYield, I knew I wanted to stay in the Midwest and was really interested in ag sales.”

When he started as an agronomy specialist trainee, Nicklos did a lot of job shadowing with Kurt Metzger, Dan Stokes, Greg Ervin, Danny Davis, and Brad Shirk, along with SciMax Solutions team members.

“MaxYield set me up with many good mentors. I asked a lot of questions and took a lot of notes. This helped shorten the big learning curve with crop protection products, where you need to know which products to use where and at what rates.”

Nicklos has also appreciated the warm welcome he has received from local growers. “There are a lot of progressive farmers around here. Even though I don’t have 25 years of agronomy experience, they are willing to work with me.”

Nicklos is excited that more area growers are enrolling in SciMax to boost their crops’ yield potential. “They want to learn just as much as we want to teach them, and I’m glad I can be part of this.”

It takes a team

From the start, MaxYield team members have provided Mason Nicklos with the tools and resources required to meet clients’ needs, without micromanaging his day-to-day tasks.

“I’m fortunate to have really great teammates I respect a lot, from managers to outside operations specialists. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from working together and getting the job done.”

Nicklos encourages other young professionals to build their career at MaxYield. “Job opportunities in ag are endless today. If you’re looking at your options, I’d put MaxYield at the top of the list.”

Editor’s note: An avid outdoorsman, Nicklos enjoys deer and pheasant hunting and ice fishing when he has time off from work.


Wright County Junior Fair Receives Co-Bank Matching Funds

MaxYield Wright CountyMaxYield Cooperative’s Chuck Svendsen (center) presents Wright County Junior Fair vice-president Brian Worden (left) and president Dean Kluss with a contribution totaling $2500 from CoBank. The funds match an earlier contribution from MaxYield Cooperative to the fair’s recent livestock arena building project.

CoBank made the charitable contribution through its “Sharing Success” program.

CoBank is a $95 billion cooperative bank that provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses in all 50 states. In 2013, they will make $3 million available to local communities as a part of the “Sharing Success” program. More information about CoBank is available online at

MaxYield Cooperative is a local agricultural cooperative in 17 Iowa communities. To learn more, visit the co-op’s website at