January 18, 2021

Archives for May 2014

My MaxYield Internship: Collete Haag

Meet Collete Haag, MaxYield’s Grain Industry Intern

 Collete Haag

Why did you decide to pursue accounting in college?
I chose accounting because I enjoy working with numbers and organizing the financial aspect of a business. I have been able to see the career that my mom has, working as a loan secretary for Bank Plus. I have been able to see the environment of working in a bank, and have found it very interesting. Throughout my freshman year at Iowa State I took many business and accounting classes that also furthered my interest in accounting.


How did you hear about the MaxYield Grain Industry Internship?
When applying for MaxYield scholarships in the past, I learned about the different opportunities that MaxYield offers students, including many internship positions. When I was at the Iowa State Ag Career Fair this fall, I learned more about the various internships and thought the Grain Industry Internship would be a great fit for me.

Who are your mentors for the summer, and how have they helped you through your first weeks?
My mentors for the summer are Harry Bormann, Grain Team Leader, and Rick Abrahamson, Corporate Grain Accounting. I have enjoyed working with Rick and Harry during my first weeks at MaxYield. I know that whenever I have a question about a project they will help guide me through the task.

What have you learned through your internship so far?
My first few weeks I have been busy being involved in many different projects that have allowed me to see how grain is marketed, how to hedge grain, and also learning how important it is to have a grasp on the grain trucking logistics.

What has been your favorite of your first weeks at MaxYield?
Meeting the other employees throughout the office has been one of my favorite parts so far. I feel very welcomed every morning when I walk in the door. I have also really enjoyed meeting the other interns and participating in Kossuth County Economic Development events, such as the intern breakfast.

A familiar Sight

Ashley SmebyBy Ashley Smeby
The time has flown by since October when I found myself walking up to the MaxYield booth at the Iowa State University Agriculture career fair. The fall career fair can be an overwhelming experience for many College of Agriculture students, with over 225 agricultural companies looking for the best to represent their companies as summer interns.

Growing up very familiar with the MaxYield Cooperative name and brand, it was a relief to see many familiar faces at the booth. When talking with Chad Meyer, Client Relations Director for MaxYield, I knew that I wanted to pursue the Client Relations and Communications internship.

After interviewing and accepting the internship position I was excited for the summer to begin!

My internship started out on Monday morning, as the day began by being introduced to many welcoming staff members throughout the office. Following introductions, we started our first day meeting the other summer interns that are working throughout the company. Safety training was next on the agenda as Tom Winkel, safety director for MaxYield, reminded the interns that having a safe workplace is everyone’s responsibility.

Tuesday I was introduced to MaxYield’s free-lance photographer, Greg Latza and was able to get an inside look at how important photographs are when it comes to a company’s marketing strategy. Wednesday morning we were greeted by MaxYield’s education team leader, Patti Guenther, who gave the interns a brief history of the company and helpful hints when using MaxYield’s email system. The week was concluded with working on a few of my internship projects that I will be working on throughout the summer.

This summer, I am interested to see the various ways MaxYield uses different marketing and branding skills. As the first week of my internship is already complete, I am excited to see what the summer has to bring!



Multi Hybrid Planting

This is a booming topic in precision agriculture. Recent agricultural research is demonstrating that placing specific hybrids at optimum zones in a field can significantly increase overall yield. Soil type, fertility, drainage, past yield history, and other field characteristics play a role in final yield. These variables have been used when defining management zones within fields with SciMax clients and now we are taking it one step further.

This year SciMax, along with partner Precision Ag Systems of West Bend, has planted some research trial fields with two different hybrids in the recommendation along with different population ranges.

With a growing number of hybrids and varieties, farmers in the future will have the option to switch between hybrids and maximize soil resources. A particular hybrid may reach its maximum yield potential in the A or B zones, but due to certain field characteristics another hybrid might be a better choice for the C zone.

This technology has many advantages, but also will make planting a little more complicated. Ordering seed and delivering seed to the planter will need to be detailed and fine tuned in order to capitalize on this.

Setting the combine when harvesting when entering into each different hybrid will be a challenge as well. We feel that these disadvantages will be outweighed by the positives though or other technologies will arise to help take care of or correct this.

This is a developing technology that needs to be analyzed, but it is important to have local data to decide for ourselves. Kinze is the only company that currently has a planter on the market with other companies looking into it with near future releases.

As you can see in the pictures, this field was planted with two different hybrids, one being Croplan and the other Dekalb. Depending on the hybrid, there were different populations planted as well. We will be tracking these fields throughout the growing season and giving updates on their progress. Scimax Map #1Scimax Map #2Scimax Map #3

Growing Up in the Heart Of Agriculture

Ashley Smeby By Ashley Smeby
When asked time after time what I wanted to be when I grew up, it always seemed to be a different answer. When debating what I wanted to do with my life I had many different ideas. Would I be an orthopedics doctor, a veterinarian, or even follow in my mom’s path and become an elementary teacher?

I grew up on a farm south of Garner, Iowa with my parents Todd and Tracy and younger sister Brielle. Looking back, it seems that there was never a dull moment between my sister and I with softball games, piano lessons, and taking tractor rides with Dad.

Growing up I was always Dad’s farm girl, even on the days when loading pigs or helping run the pump tractor for our manure operation was not my ideal agenda for the day! I learned quickly that being born on a farm meant helping out no matter what time in the morning dad came to wake you up.

As I went through high school, I began to think more seriously about what I wanted to pursue after graduation. I became very involved in 4-H and FFA, and participated in many FFA contests of Agriculture Sales, and mock job interviews that helped develop my communications skills. During high school I became very interested in the agronomy side of our farm operation and decided that after graduating from Garner-Hayfield/Ventura I wanted to pursue Agriculture at Iowa State University.

This coming fall I will be a sophomore studying Agronomy and International Agricultural Relations at Iowa State University. Throughout my freshmen year I have developed interest in seed sales, and hope to pursue that career after graduating college.

I believe that working in agriculture is different than working in any other career. Unlike other careers, we depend heavily on Mother Nature, to not only look at agriculture as a business standpoint, but also as a lifestyle. Having a passion for agriculture is not just developed in a days’ time. It is deep rooted in every young agriculturalist, because we know that we are the future generation of agriculture. To have strong emotion and love or to be passionate about something is what I have developed in the field of agriculture, and I look forward to building my future career.



Hunting and Healing: Iowans Honor Veterans Through Hunting With Heroes

The Memorial Day holiday provides a time for reflection, remembering those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country’s freedoms. It should also serve as a reminder to thank and help those that are healing from recent deployments abroad. We are proud supporters of the Hunting with Heroes event, held annually near Lakota, IA. Read on to hear how one weekend of hunting provides so much for the heroes that defend our country…

Hunting with Heroes - Lakota IA

Photos courtesy of the Algona Upper Des Moines.


Always ready to respond when the nation calls, U.S. Marines accept the harsh realities of war. They endure the darkest elements of humanity. Many struggle to heal completely. These wounded warriors find hope in rural Iowa, however, thanks to volunteers like Jason Becker and dozens more from the Lakota area.

“We want to show them that people truly care, and the America they come back to is worth fighting for,” said Becker, who has helped his father, Bernie, spearhead Hunting With Heroes in northern Iowa for the past three years.

Since 2011, the Beckers have invited Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion (East) of Camp Lejeune, NC, to the Lakota area for a weekend of pheasant hunting. From the time Corporal William Christianson, Gunnery Sergeant Charlie Moralez, and First Lieutenant James Nash arrived at the Des Moines International Airport last November, they were treated to first-class Iowa hospitality.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders greeted the Marines, and people waiting for friends and loved ones at the airport cheered and clapped for the Marines as they stepped off the plane. Waiting at the end of the hall was Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, and members of the Marine Corps League Detachment in Des Moines. “Gentlemen, from this point on, you are guests and friends of Iowa,” Branstad said. “You’ll get to see the kindness and support that our local rural communities give.”

Hunting with Heroes - Lakota IAVeteran returns to say thanks
In Buffalo Center, Kossuth County Sheriff deputies picked up the caravan of Marines and gave a lights-and-siren escort into Lakota. Sergeant Jamie Lantgen, who participated in the 2011 Hunting With Heroes event, met the group at Road Runners, where steak dinners were on the menu.

“I just wanted to say thank you,” said Lantgen, who now lives in rural South Dakota and came to Lakota with his bird dog to serve as a guide for Hunting With Heroes 2013. “When I was here in 2011, I was still pretty beat up and in a painful part of my recovery. Hunting With Heroes helped me a lot, and I want to help the Beckers give something back.”

Lantgen and countless other volunteers showcased the best of the Midwest during Hunting With Heroes 2013. Local landowners refrained from hunting their property until after the Marines arrived. “These were some of the best shooters we’ve had,” said Becker, who noted that everyone attained their limits for both days of hunting—a first in the history of the local Hunting With Heroes event.

Excellence is the hallmark of Marines like Corporal Christianson, who has served in the Marine Corps more than seven years but will be medically discharged due to his injuries. “I take ‘protect and serve’ very seriously,” said Christianson, a machine gunner, marksman coach, and heavy weapons expert who served two tours in Afghanistan.

Spending time in rural Iowa brought back memories of home for First Lieutenant Nash, a tank platoon commander who has served in the Marines for more than four years. “I’m a fifth-generation farmer and rancher from northeast Oregon, and I grew up hunting and fishing,” said Nash, who can trace military service in his family back to 1750. “I felt very welcome in Iowa and really appreciated the opportunity to be part of this.”

After the first day of hunting ended, the group headed to the Main Street Pub in Bancroft for a hearty meal and more camaraderie. The next day included a lunch of homemade soup and sandwiches served by the local volunteer ambulance service. Simple, relaxing events like this were meaningful to Gunnery Sergeant Moralez, who has served in the Marine Corps for 21 years. “The last decade and a half of my service has been non-stop running,” said Moralez, who is glad to be done with deployments.

Hunting with Heroes - Lakota IASmall-town Iowa makes a big impact
On the Marines’ last night in Iowa, they joined more than 400 veterans and event sponsors in Lakota to enjoy a pork banquet catered by Hy-Vee. “I smile when I think of that number, because in my time the entire population of Lakota has never been as high as 400 residents,” said Becker, who works for Caterpillar in North Carolina. “It’s a privilege to have so many people come together to honor the Marines and our area veterans and their families.”

During the banquet, the Heartwarmers Quilt Guild of Buffalo Center gave a handmade quilt to each of the Marines, including Lantgen. Dr. Greg Williams and his family presented the Marines with thank-you books made by the Estherville-Lincoln Central Community School elementary classes.

The community’s support for Hunting With Heroes has been humbling, said Bernie Becker, a rural mail carrier in the Buffalo Center area. “This event couldn’t happen without volunteers. It’s heartwarming to see so many people come together for a worthy cause.”

Not only does Hunting With Heroes give the Marines an inside look at rural Iowa, but it renews their spirit. “When you’re in the military, you travel around the world and often see the bad in people,” said Lantgen, who retired from the service in 2012. “This reminds you of the good.”

For Nash, who had been hospitalized in Camp Leatherneck (Helmand Province, Afghanistan) just a year earlier before coming to Iowa, Hunting With Heroes inspires hope. “Keep doing what you’re doing. It makes a difference.”

Answers to Your Top 5 Connections Central Questions

20140128_maxyield_159 cmopWhen you log onto MaxYield Cooperative’s online account access at Connections Central, you can easily check your grain and accounting information, cardtrol transactions, and more.

This service has been available for more than five years and offers real-time information that you can access from your computer or web-enabled mobile device. “Connections Central is simple to use,” said Patti Guenther, MaxYield Cooperative’s education team leader. “It’s also handy if you go away for the winter, you’re a landlord who lives away from this area, or you’re a farm manager.”

Q: Where do I find Connections Central?
A: Log onto www.maxyieldcooperative.com and click on the “My Account” link in the upper right corner of the homepage.

Q: What tools are available through Connections Central?
A: You can look at anything that has to do with your MaxYield account, including grain contracts, deferred payments, invoices, grain tickets, member equity, and more. You can also print your statements. If you choose to go paperless and stop having MaxYield mail you a statement, be sure to check your statements online regularly.

Q: How do I sign up if I’m new to Connections Central?
A: You can either sign up online in the My Account section of www.maxyieldcooperative.com or contact your nearest MaxYield location for more details.

Q: Why can’t I pay my bill online?
A: Due to the complexity of billing, different farm rental agreements, and other variables, online bill payment is not an option at this time. MaxYield does offer an automated clearing house (ACH) payment system, where your payments to MaxYield are automatically deducted from your bank account. Payment on the account typically occurs after the 20th of each month, since our statements are released on the 20th. Contact your nearest MaxYield location for more details.

Q: How safe is Connections Central?
A: This is a password-protected site where your data is secure.

Ready to streamline your business with Connections Central? Contact your nearest MaxYield location to get started today.


On the Road to 300-Bushel Corn: Dr. Fred Below Shares “7 Wonders” with SciMax

SciMax Dr. Fred BelowWhat will it take to accelerate from 250-bushel corn production to the elusive 300-bushel mark? Serious management.

“It’s not the one thing you do for high yield; it’s what you don’t do that kills yield potential,” said Dr. Fred Below, a University of Illinois professor of plant physiology who detailed his “7 Wonders of High-Yield Corn Production” to SciMax Solutions participants at a recent meeting in Algona. “The ‘7 Wonders’ are like members of a basketball team. The benefit of each wonder is magnified by the other wonders.”

The 7 Wonders for 300-bushel corn, which build on the prerequisites of drainage, weed control, proper soil pH, and adequate phosphorus and potassium levels, include:
1. Weather. Uncontrollable, unpredictable, unmanageable— weather is the number-one factor affecting crop yield. On its own, weather contributes 70 bushels or more per acre.

2. Nitrogen (N). Used correctly, nitrogen accounts for almost the same value as weather. Combined with weather, N accounts for more than half the crop yield. Weather dictates when N can be applied, its availability, and its usability by the crop. “You can’t have weather-induced N loss and grow high-yield corn,” said Below, who recommends “weatherproofing” your N with a nitrogen stabilizer.

3. Hybrid. Choosing the right hybrid is one of the most important decisions you make each year. Not all hybrids are created equal, Below stressed. “I’ve seen a 50-bushel yield swing between the best and the worst hybrids. The gap is even more dramatic when you have a tough weather year.” Pay attention to “workhorse” hybrids, which are tolerant of low N conditions but not high plant populations, and “racehorse” hybrids, which show a large yield response to N and are tolerant of high plant populations, Below said.

4. Previous crop. Continuous cropping of corn costs yield. “Will this yield penalty go away if you just give it time? Not from what I’ve seen,” said Below, who cited an average yield penalty of 25 bushels per acre with corn-on-corn. “In fact, the continuous corn yield penalty gets worse over time.” In fields where corn has been rotated with soybeans, corn has better vigor and produces higher yields. “If your previous crop was soybeans, you get a yield bonus of 25 bushels,” he added.

MaxYield Dr. Fred Below5. Plant population. Higher yields come from higher plant populations. “Most of you are giving up 20 bushels of yield because you’re not planting enough plants,” Below said. “This is a factor that must go up to meet the world’s growing demand for grain.” Row spacing is one way to increase plant population, said Below, who thinks the future of high-yield corn lies in 20-inch rows. “At nearly every site where I’ve seen 20-inch rows compared to 30-inch rows, the 20-inch rows increased yield.”

6. Tillage. Reduced tillage plays an important role in saving soil and retaining valuable water and nutrients. Smart tillage practices can add an extra 15 bushels per acre in the quest for 300-bushel corn, Below said.

7. Growth regulators. Growth regulators include those compounds that can have a positive impact on plant growth, like fungicides, and protect against foliar disease, contribute to greener leaves, healthier plants, and improved yield performance. “The leaves are the business end of the plant, and you need to keep them healthy,” said Below, who noted that growth regulators can contribute an extra 10 bushels per acre towards 300-bushel corn.

Learn more with SciMax
High-yield corn production requires a proven system approach like SciMax Solutions, Below said. “I’m trying to show you what’s possible. Reaching 300-bushel corn and making a profit requires intelligent intensification, and that’s what SciMax does.”

For more information about SciMax Solutions, log onto www.SciMax.com. Contact your nearest MaxYield Cooperative location to start working with a SciMax Solutions specialist to find the right options for your acres.

Game On! Noel Keener’s Winning Attitude Benefits More Than MaxYield

Noel KeenerWhen you stop by the Cenex convenience store in West Bend, there’s a good chance you’ll see Noel Keener. Noel became the store’s team leader on Feb. 1, and he brings a diverse background to his new role.

Not only does Noel find innovative ways to keep MaxYield connected with the community, but he also serves others during his free time through his passion for gaming. Here are five things you may not know about Noel.

1. Noel is always up for a challenge. Noel started working at the Cenex store in January of 2011 as a night manager. During his tenure, he has taken on new roles, from handling much of the scheduling to training team members. “I like being able to think strategically and finding new ways to grow the business,” said Noel, who brought back hot sub sandwiches to the menu. As the team leader, Noel will use the store’s new computer system and automated inventory tracking system to analyze sales and identify niches that the store can fill. “We want to offer a good experience that our customers will remember.”

2. Moving in new directions is nothing new for Noel. Noel is a bit of a renaissance man who is learning the ways of small-town Iowa. Born in Texas and raised in Lake Havasu, AZ, Noel considered studying art in college. When he decided he’d rather become a pastor, he enrolled in Wayland Baptist University (WBU) in Plainview, TX, where he met his future wife (Mackenzie Garner) and earned his bachelor’s degree in religion. A few years ago the couple moved to northern Iowa, where Mackenzie’s mother lived. “I never thought my career would take the turns it has,” said Noel, who enjoys the safe, quiet lifestyle of small-town Iowa. Winters have been harder to get used to, however. “The first time it hit minus 17 degrees, I didn’t know my bones could hurt like that,” Noel said.

3. Lifelong learning motivates Noel. When he’s not at work, Noel stays busy studying computer networking and cyber security as he earns his bachelor’s degree in computer information technology from Southern New Hampshire University. He plans to complete his online courses later this year and is interested in computer programming.

4. Noel proves that playing games can be productive. All work and no play makes Noel a dull boy, so he carves out time for one of his favorite hobbies—gaming. In addition to playing “The Last of Us“ on Playstation 3, and “Far Cry 3“ and “Halo 4“ on his Xbox 360, Noel supports Extra Life, a charity event that benefits the Children’s Miracle Network. He has been involved with Extra Life since 2010, first as a donor and later as a participant. Extra Life gamers can play solo or in teams to raise money for charity. “Anyone who donated to my part of the event last year helped fund the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital,” said Noel, who has already signed up for Extra Life 2014. On Saturday, Oct. 25, he and his fellow team members will play video games for 25 hours straight, raising $1 per hour from each pledge contributed by family and friends. During this time, the gamers will also log onto social media such as Twitter, or livestream channels such as Twitch.tv, to “livecast” their experience and seek additional donations.

“Extra Life is the perfect combination, because I get to do something I love, and it benefits a worthy cause,” Noel said. Gamers who are interested in participating can join Noel’s team at www.extra-life.org/team/carefulzambies. If you’d like to donate to this charity event, you can sponsor Noel at www.extra-life.org/participant/hontchnr.

5. Staying healthy for life motivates Noel. Lest you think an avid gamer like Noel doesn’t stay active enough, think again. Noel became an exercise and fitness buff after his 2012 health assessment through MaxYield highlighted areas for improvement. “Back then, I had high cholesterol, I smoked, and my body fat was 22%,”Noel said. “Now I’ve quit smoking, my cholesterol is in check, and my body fat is 10%.” Noel goes to Broadway Fitness in West Bend three times a week, where he works out for two hours at a time. “I like power lifting,” said Noel, who weighs 145 pounds and can dead lift 200 pounds.

Whether he’s lifting weights at Broadway Fitness or greeting local students who stop by the Cenex store to pick up subs or pizza, Noel has become a familiar face around West Bend. “I’m glad to be at MaxYield and appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to grow my career here,” he said.

Money Made Easy

Want one less thing to worry about? It’s easy when you sign up to have checks from MaxYield Cooperative deposited directly in your bank account and payments to MaxYield automatically withdrawn from your account.

Through this automated clearing house (ACH) payment system, grain checks are electronically deposited in your account. You’ll save time and hassle when you don’t have to wait for a paper check to arrive in the mail and then take it to the bank.

Through ACH, you can also have your payments to MaxYield automatically deducted from your bank account. Payment on the account typically occurs after the 20th of each month, since our statement’s balance is due on the 20th. While we don’t offer an online bill payment system, this ACH payment system is a convenient option if you’d rather not write a check for your accounts payable to MaxYield.

It’s simple to get started
It’s easy to sign up for the electronic direct deposit option, the automatic payment deduction, or both. MaxYield has a separate form to fill out for the grain payment direct deposit and the authorization of payment. Complete both forms if you want to use both services. Both forms require a voided check from your bank account.

Today’s technology can help you manage your business more efficiently, and we’re ready to help. For more details, contact your nearest MaxYield location. You can also call Cory Thilges, MaxYield’s controller, or Doug Miller, credit manager, at the West Bend corporate office at 800-383-0003.


Amanda Post Awarded MaxYield’s Deanna Engstrom Memorial Scholarship

Amanda PostMaxYield Cooperative announced today that Amanda Post of Woden is the recipient of their annual $1000 Deanna Engstrom Memorial Scholarship award.

Post is a 2014 graduate of Forest City High School and is pursuing a major in Business Administration at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She is the daughter of Allen and Susan Post.

The scholarship award is given by MaxYield Cooperative in memory of Deanna Engstrom who worked for MaxYield for more than 20 years before losing her battle with cancer in 2003. She was committed to lifelong learning and creating opportunities to advance her career. She was also committed to helping women further their careers in business.

MaxYield Cooperative is a member-owned agricultural cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA. They can be reached online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.