January 25, 2021

Archives for September 2014

Local Women Participate in Farm Transition Course

Annie's project - 2 photo Palo Alto Emmet

Managing for Today and Tomorrow focuses on the management processes and decision needed to make successful farm operation transitions. Front Row: Michelle Jensen, Stacy Christensen, Jody Leuer, Kathleen Graves. Back Row: Angie Strohman, Carmen Schacherer, Renee Chism, Kim Hoffman, Marilyn Gappa, Nancy Rosbuug, Britney Rosburg.

Area women wanting to learn more about transition planning benefited from participating in Managing for Today and Tomorrow which is an Annie’s Project Course.

Creating a transition plan to make sure a farm continues as a productive, agricultural business can be challenging. Farm women have a key role in successful farm transitions. Managing for Today and Tomorrow, a new Annie’s Project course for women, is divided into the following planning areas:
• Succession Planning -Transferring knowledge, skills, labor, management, control and ownership between generations.
• Business Planning – Developing goals, strategies and actions that form a road map to business growth.
• Estate Planning – Managing an individual’s asset base in one’s lifetime, at death or after death.
• Retirement Planning – Designing an enjoyable and productive time in life.

This program is a five week course that brings in local speakers and Iowa State Field Specialists to teach various topics related to transition and succession planning. Managing Today and Tomorrow creates a safe haven environment for women involved in agriculture to ask questions and learn from each other as well as the local professionals.

“Farm transitioning is not intuitive or easy to do,” said Angie Strohman, Program Coordinator for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Palo Alto County. “This course offered information from knowledgeable educators and experienced professionals which benefited the participants and the future of their operations. Participants now know of resources available to make those difficult decisions easier.”

Managing Today and Tomorrow is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2011-49400-30584. This new Annie’s Project course is offered by state university extension programs, Farm Credit Council, Farm Credit National Contributions Program, and several local Farm Credit associations. This local program was also sponsored by MaxYield Cooperative, and Iowa State University and Outreach in Emmet and Palo Alto Counties.

This is the first time the Managing for Today and Tomorrow program has been offered in Emmet and Palo Alto counties. Iowa State Extension and Outreach plans to continue offering programs for women in agriculture and is planning an Annie’s Project and Grain Marketing focus groups for the next year. If anyone is interested in learning more about these programs, contact Angie Strohman, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Program Coordinator in Palo Alto County 712-852-2865 or by email: angies@iastate.edu.

Photo Caption: Managing for Today and Tomorrow focuses on the management processes and decision needed to make successful farm operation transitions. Front Row: Michelle Jensen, Stacy Christensen, Jody Leuer, Kathleen Graves. Back Row: Angie Strohman, Carmen Schacherer, Renee Chism, Kim Hoffman, Marilyn Gappa, Nancy Rosbuug, Britney Rosburg.

Lakota Hunting with Heroes Receives Airfare Contribution

DSC_0009 (1024x848) Sheryll Denney, MaxYield-Lakota Team Leader 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.

“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 Lejeune, NC.

The weekend will conclude with a Veterans Appreciation Banquet Sunday, November 9, held at the Lakota Eagle Center. Social time begins at 5:00 p.m., with program at 5:30 p.m.

All area veterans, spouses, and surviving veterans’ spouses are invited to attend this free banuquet. Anyone wishing to attend should RSVP to Cathy Kelly at 515-538-0572 or Denny Murra at 319-269-4124 by November 1.

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: www.MaxYieldCooperative.com .

Remembering Yesteryear: Russ Imoehl Reflects on History as He Saw It

20140722_maxyield_153 (681x1024)Russ Imoehl celebrated his retirement from MaxYield Tuesday, September 23rd. We wish him the best! Here is the story from My Solutions magazine that chronicled his career….

History never looks like history when you’re living through it. Just ask Russ Imoehl, who has worked in the cooperative system for 36 years.

“When you look back, you see that you’ve been part of some big changes,” said Imoehl, MaxYield Cooperative’s operations/assistant safety director, who serves the company’s east region.

As he prepares to retire from MaxYield on Sept. 26, Imoehl reflected on how Iowa agriculture has evolved throughout his lifetime. Here are his top five observations.

1. The definition of a “big farm” has changed dramatically. Imoehl grew up on a 240-acre farm in northeast Iowa near Elma, where his family raised crops, hogs, beef cattle, and dairy cows. “We had a little bit of everything,” said Imoehl, a 1967 Cresco High School graduate, who earned his business/accounting degree from Loras College in 1972. “That was an era when a 320-acre farm was considered a big operation.” All those small farms supported Iowa’s small towns, which often boasted grocery stores, cafes, taverns, service stations, schools, dentists, doctors, veterinarians, car dealerships, sale barns, implement dealerships, and more.

2. The co-op was once a must-stop for every farmer. After starting his career at Standard Oil’s fertilizer division, Imoehl joined Farmers Co-op Society in Garner in 1978. “Back then, farmers usually stopped by the co-op every time they came to town,” said Imoehl, a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who managed the co-op’s agronomy department for 25 years. “We had three guys working behind the counter, because it was common to have 50 to 75 farmers a day in there.” When farmers stopped by to buy livestock feed, cat food, and dog food, they also checked the grain prices. “In those days, about the only way to get the latest grain prices was to hear them on the radio, or call or stop by the co-op,” Imoehl said. Farmers also frequented the co-op’s lumberyard to buy supplies. “Everyone had livestock, so there was always something to fix,” he noted. The co-op’s annual meeting marked a highlight of the year and was extremely well attended, Imoehl added. “The co-op was a hub of the community that brought people together.”

Russ I retirement (1024x768)

Russ celebrated his retirement from MaxYield on September 23rd. We wish you the best!

3. Crop protection and safety have come a long ways. When Imoehl started his career, the co-op sold 6-24-24 starter fertilizer and herbicides like LASSO®, Ramrod, and atrazine, which farmers applied themselves. As farms have grown larger, more farmers now hire the co-op to apply crop protection products. In turn, the co-op’s focus on safety has increased. “Back when I started, we got all our safety training in one day, and that was premier training,” said Imoehl, who noted that many companies didn’t even have any safety training programs. “Now, MaxYield makes safety training a priority throughout the year.”

4. Seed has grown into power traits. In the 1970s, the co-op sold Corsoy soybeans, Imoehl recalled. This public variety came from Iowa State University, a leader in seed genetics at the time. Imoehl knew that big changes were on the way, however, when he traveled to St. Louis in the late 1980s. “I was visiting Monsanto’s facilities, where scientists were working on Roundup® Ready. That technology changed everything.”

5. People stayed at the same company for years. It wasn’t uncommon for employees to spend their entire career at the local co-op. “You worked with the same small group of people, and they
became your family,” said Imoehl, who worked with longtime team members like Jack Toppin at Garner for 25 years. “All that’s changing as we become a more mobile society and lose the rural population.”

While agriculture continues to evolve faster than ever, some things haven’t changed, Imoehl added. “We’re still blessed with dedicated team members, good farmers, and a strong co-op. I’m glad MaxYield views clients as friends and focuses on their success.”

Editor’s note: Russ and his wife, Mary, who retired earlier this year from Winnebago Industries, have four grown daughters: Melissa in Ft. Worth, TX; Kristi in Galesburg, IL; Michelle in Mason City; and Laura in Marshalltown. The Imoehls also have nine grandchildren, ranging from a senior in high school to a one-year-old. Later this fall, the Imoehls look forward to traveling in their free time.

Rooting Out Corn Rootworm: Top Tips to Protect Your Crop

20140723_maxyield_424 (1024x681)If it seems like corn rootworm (CRW) has become more of a challenge in your fields, you’re not alone.

“CRW has become a bigger issue in MaxYield’s east area in the past four or five years,” said Greg Sweeney, MaxYield Cooperative’s seed team leader. “We’ve also seen a lot more CRW pressure in the central area in the last year.”

The situation reflects not just resistance issues, but increasing CRW pressure from western corn rootworm and northern corn rootworm, Sweeney added. “When the CRW trait first came out 10 years ago, we saw a whole set of roots chewed off in our Answer Plot at Whittemore. Was there resistance then? No. Was there a lot of CRW pressure? Yes.”

The corn rootworm complex is one of the most widespread, problematic corn insect pests, causing at least $1 billion in lost annual revenue for growers across the Corn Belt, according to
the Genuity® website. Root feeding and pruning by CRW larvae can reduce yield by limiting uptake of water and nutrients, which can prevent corn plants from reaching their full genetic potential. In addition, severe feeding can increase lodging, which makes the corn harvest more difficult.

Yield losses from CRW can range from 20 to 100 bushels per acre, said Sweeney, who has seen consistent losses of 50 bushels per acre in areas of strong CRW pressure. “If you don’t manage this pest this year, you’ll have a significantly higher risk of crop failure next year,” he added.

Understanding the enemy
To control CRW, it helps to understand the life cycle of the pest. Western and northern corn rootworms have only one generation per year. Eggs of both species are deposited in the soil by female beetles from mid-summer until autumn. The eggs overwinter and begin hatching from late May to early June in most areas of the Midwest, although this is changing.

“We’re seeing larger hatches, and we’re still finding CRW larvae through August and even into September,” Sweeney said. “In the last two years, some beetle populations in our trade territory have been increasing around the time of the Clay County Fair.”

Why? The pest has adapted to the region’s cropping systems. Also, soil-applied insecticide fizzles out about the same time in mid-season that the CRW trait gets diluted and delivers lower
doses to pests feeding later in the season, Sweeney said. “For nearly 60 years, we’ve essentially been selecting for late-hatching larvae,” he added.

It’s not time to push the panic button, however. CRW can be managed through crop scouting and varying modes of action to lower the risk of insecticide resistance, Sweeney noted.

MaxYield Seed Team Leader Greg Sweeney says, "We're seeing larger hatches...and CRW larve through August and Septebmer.

MaxYield Seed Team Leader Greg Sweeney says, “We’re seeing larger hatches…and CRW larve through August and Septebmer.

Taking control
The first and easiest step to manage CRW is to rotate to a non-host crop like soybeans. With careful management, however, CRW can also be curbed in corn-on-corn acres. “I’ve seen fields with 20 or more years of corn-on-corn production that successfully control CRW,” Sweeney said.

It’s also important to select the right traits to control CRW. Sweeney recommends Genuity® SmartStax®, which offers two different modes of action to manage rootworms. You may also need to use a soil-applied insecticide at planting, Sweeney added.

Not only is it important to address CRW challenges to limit damage to the corn crop, but it’s vital to reduce the number of egg-laying females and suppress the number of larvae that could emerge in the next growing season, Sweeney said.

“The main thing growers aren’t doing is spraying for beetles. While the beetles normally come out around silking time, they are emerging later as they’ve evolved through the years.”

Crop scouting from the early tassel stage through early September is also useful to monitor adult CRW beetle counts and assess whether insecticide applications are warranted. “Once we start seeing beetles, we wait a week before we line up the aerial applicator,” said Sweeney, who noted that MaxYield has sprayed for beetles after corn tasseling. “Why? Because male beetles hatch approximately one week earlier than the females.”

Aerial application can be a good investment that will benefit you in the future, Sweeney noted. “You’re spending those dollars to protect next year’s crop.”

Take these factors into consideration as you plan for your 2015 crop, added Sweeney, who encourages you to contact your local MaxYield agronomist to develop a CRW management strategy for your acres. “The good news is that CRW is extremely manageable, if you follow the right steps.”

MaxYield Selected as Top 100 Workplace in Iowa

TWP_TOP100_DesMoinesRegister_Portrait_2014_AWMaxYield Cooperative is pleased to announce that it has been selected as one of Iowa’s Top 100 Workplaces.

The Top Workplaces are determined and based solely on team member feedback. The team member survey was conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.

MaxYield Cooperative invests in its team members through internships, trainee programs, and through team member education and developmental programs. “We also invest in their well-being through industry recognized safety and team member wellness programs,” said MaxYield CEO Keith Heim.

“We are proud to receive this honor as a top workplace in Iowa,” Heim went on to say. “152 of our 161 team members responded to the survey, and we are excited that they overwhelmingly said MaxYield is a great place to work.”

The Des Moines Register published the complete list of Top Workplaces on September 21st. For more information about the Top Workplaces lists, please visit www.topworkplaces.com.

MaxYield Cooperative is a local member-owned agricultural cooperative serving over 2000 members in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and southeastern Michigan. More information about MaxYield is available on the web at www.maxyieldcoop.com.

Banwart Earns Iowa Institute Scholarship

20130724_maxyield_112 (532x800)Congratulations to past MaxYield Cooperative Client Relations/Communications intern, Haley Banwart on earning a $1000 scholarship from Iowa Institute for Cooperatives! Details, below…

The Iowa Institute for Cooperatives is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Iowa Cooperative Foundation Scholarships.

The awards were given to full time students at two and four year colleges or universities who had work experience or an internship at Iowa Institute for Cooperatives member cooperatives. We received 51 applications and they were evaluated based on their leadership experience, cooperative work experience, cooperative essay question and references.

The committee was so pleased with the quality of the applications they awarded seven scholarships instead of the planned six.

The following students will each receive a $1,000 scholarship award for the 2014-15 school year. Congratulations to all of them and thank you to our members for their generous support of this new program.

Haley Marie Banwart
West Bend, IA
MaxYield Cooperative, Summer 2013
Iowa State University, Agricultural Communications and Journalism



Excellence Attracts Opportunities: Students Make the Most of Their Summer Work Experience

Left to right: Roman Fahnlander, Blake Wilson, Sydney Kalkman, Aaron Montag, Tory Schmidt.

Left to right: Roman Fahnlander, Blake Wilson, Sydney Kalkman, Aaron Montag, Tory Schmidt.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato in a fruit salad.

Humorous, yet practical, right? Practical, real-world wisdom is a key benefit for the talented students who gain summer work experience at MaxYield Cooperative. This creates a win-win for the students, who gain valuable training, and for MaxYield, which benefits from this year-round recruiting strategy.

“Be ready to go on day one,” said Blake Wilson, 19, whose mentors included members of the SciMax Solutions team. “Work hard, and know that you can play an important role in the solutions MaxYield provides for clients.”

When we asked Wilson and other college students to tell us more about their summer work experiences, they had plenty of other interesting insights about what it’s like to be part of the MaxYield team.

• Blake Wilson, agronomy/outside operations/SciMax. Although Wilson is a 2013 graduate of Johnston High School, his family has farmed near Corwith for many years. This planted a seed that grew into an interest in agriculture, said Wilson, who connected with MaxYield during a career fair at Iowa State University (ISU). Working with SciMax was especially appealing to
Wilson, a sophomore who is majoring in ag systems technology, with an emphasis on machine systems operation, industrial technology/manufacturing, and soil science. During his job this summer, Wilson worked in MaxYield’s east territory, where he helped with soil sampling so the SciMax team could write prescriptions for clients. “I saw the process from start to finish and really enjoyed working with the SciMax specialists. They are very down-to-earth, personable people who help you learn a lot about agronomy and soil science.” After completing his degree, Wilson would like to stay in the Midwest and work for companies that take farm equipment concepts from prototypes to mass production. His summer work experience at MaxYield was well worth the effort, he added. “You get out of it what you put in.”

• Sydney Kalkman/office assistant. After graduating from Emmetsburg High School in 2013, Kalkman headed to Argosy University in Eagan, MN, where she is training to become a dental hygienist. While she had no idea what a “chem shed” was when she was hired for a summer job at MaxYield, Kalkman has learned a lot about agriculture in just a few short months. “I’d never worked for a cooperative before, but I’ve loved learning more about the industry.” Kalkman, 19, worked as an office assistant at MaxYield’s corporate office in West Bend, where she assisted with billing, purchase orders, and other accounting duties. She also worked at various MaxYield location offices, where she helped run the scale. “Going to the top of the elevator in West Bend was a cool experience,” said Kalkman, who enjoyed getting to know members of the MaxYield team. “I like how everyone works together, and team members know our clients by name. MaxYield made me feel welcome, and I felt like I was part of the family.”

• Tory Schmidt, electrician in training. Tory is no stranger to MaxYield, since he worked here last summer and during the Christmas 2013 break. All this training, combined with his recent summer work experience, has given him a big jump on his education at Northwest Iowa Community College (NICC) in Sheldon, where he is training to become an electrician. “Working at MaxYield has helped me learn a lot, plus it’s fun,” said Schmidt, a 2013 graduate of West Bend-Mallard High School. He has worked with Frank Schmidt, MaxYield’s maintenance electrician, and team member Joe Elbert to handle a variety of jobs, from working on grain bin sensors to other electrical systems. “I go all over MaxYield, working on anything with wires connected to it,” said Schmidt, who will graduate from NICC in December of 2015, after completing some additional electrical technology programming courses. It’s also interesting to watch the major construction projects take shape and learn how the MaxYield team works with the contractors, said Schmidt, who sometimes puts in 45 to 50 hours a week. “You’re not just a monkey stringing conduit,” added Schmidt, who appreciates the opportunity to work with MaxYield. “You learn a lot about troubleshooting and gain hands-on, practical experience.”

• Roman Fahnlander, millwright. Hands-on, practical work experience is also important to Fahnlander, who is studying wind energy and turbine technology at Iowa Lakes Community College. MaxYield’s millwright team has offered a good fit for Fahnlander, who grew up on a farm near Royal and was interested in learning more about operations at local grain elevators.
“I’ve helped with everything from routine maintenance to repairs,” said Fahnlander, who helped replace conveyors, gained welding experience, and enjoyed learning more about motors and electrical wiring. Since he’s not afraid of heights, Fahnlander had no problem working from a basket on a crane. “MaxYield is a friendly, safe working environment,” added Fahnlander, who would like to be based in Iowa after he graduates from college in May of 2015. “I got a lot out of my summer work experience, because the MaxYield team is very knowledgeable and easy to work with.”

• Aaron Montag, agronomy/outside operations/grain. Montag had such a positive experience working at MaxYield’s Whittemore location in the summer of 2013 that he returned this summer to expand his skills. “I’ve done a little bit of everything and have learned a lot,” said Montag, 19, who has assisted with soil sampling, operating the grain elevator, loading trains, and helping the team at the tire shop in West Bend. “It’s something different every day, which keeps things interesting.” A 2013 graduate of West Bend-Mallard High School, Montag is currently studying agriculture at Iowa Lakes Community College before he transfers to Iowa State University. While ag education and agronomy interest Montag, who grew up on a farm near West Bend, the grain industry is also appealing. Montag has learned a lot from his older brother, Mitch, who works as a grain merchandiser, and another older brother, Chris, who works at MaxYield’s West Bend location office. Montag also credits other MaxYield team members with helping him discover the many career opportunities in agriculture. “Everyone has been willing to help me and
answer my questions,” said Montag, who looks forward to his SciMax Solutions/precision ag internship this fall. “I’d definitely recommend MaxYield to others.”


MaxYield Supports Ag in the Classroom

Ag In the Classroom MaxYield donation 2014MaxYield Cooperative recently presented a check to North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom in the amount of $500.

North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom educates children in seven Iowa counties about the importance of agriculture.

MaxYield’s Adam Suntken presented the contribution to Brenda Adams.

More information about MaxYield Cooperative is available at www.MaxYield Coop.com.

MaxYield Helps Iowa Lakes Students Discover Variety of Ag Careers

Kristin O'Connell, Dakota Kraninger, Brandi Goodman

Kristin O’Connell, Dakota Kraninger, Brandi Goodman

In agriculture, nothing beats real-world experience. That’s why MaxYield Cooperative offers many on-the-job training opportunities for Iowa Lakes Community College students each year. This summer, we were pleased to welcome Brandi Goodman of Whittemore, Dakota Kraninger of Milford, and Kristin O’Connell of Cushing.

“Working here gives you a whole new perspective about how many job opportunities there are in agriculture today,” said Goodman, who started working at MaxYield’s agronomy facility in Algona in late May. “It really opened my eyes.”

The MaxYield team also appreciates these ambitious students’ valuable contributions, said Chad Meyer, client relations/communications team leader. “We learn from them as they ask questions and remind us of the basics of why we do what we do. These students also highlight how year-round recruitment efforts are extremely valuable to MaxYield.”

• Grain piques Brandi Goodman’s interest. While Goodman grew up in town, she discovered that she wants to pursue a career in agriculture after working at MaxYield this summer. “MaxYield is a really good place to start,” said Goodman, 20, who will be a sophomore at Iowa Lakes, where she’s studying ag business. At MaxYield’s agronomy facility in Algona, she helped run the fertilizer mixing equipment and assisted with crop scouting. She also worked at the West Bend seed warehouse and the Whittemore location. “I’ve really enjoyed working at MaxYield,” said Goodman, who plans to enter the workforce after earning her degree from Iowa Lakes. “People work as a team, and it’s like a family here.” After gaining an insider’s perspective of the cooperative system, Goodman can picture her future in rural Iowa. “I’m interested in working at a cooperative, particularly on the grain side.”

• Kristin O’Connell tries new roles. O’Connell started her on-the-job training last fall at MaxYield’s Dickens location, before working at the Mallard location this spring and summer. She has handled a variety of duties, from running the scale to assisting MaxYield’s agronomists with field maps and more. “I’ve always been interested in agriculture and like working with people,” said O’Connell, 19, who will be a sophomore at Iowa Lakes, where she’s studying ag business. “I like how the MaxYield team has encouraged me to try a variety of things, and I’ve enjoyed meeting MaxYield’s clients,” added O’Connell, who is interested in working at MaxYield’s Emmetsburg location to gain even more experience. After she graduates from Iowa Lakes, O’Connell can see herself working at a cooperative like MaxYield. “I absolutely love the people at MaxYield, who are like a second family.”

• Dakota Kraninger envisions his future in northwest Iowa. From the time he started working with MaxYield in March of 2014, Kraninger knew he was in a good place. “Everyone is great to work with,” said Kraninger, 19, who will be a sophomore at Iowa Lakes, where he’s studying ag business. “Whatever you want to do, they try to find a place for you to learn.” Kraninger wanted to know more about agronomy, so MaxYield gave him the chance to treat seed at the Spencer location this spring. He also assisted the agronomy team at Emmetsburg with orders for fertilizer and crop protection products. “The people at MaxYield answer your questions, and they don’t micromanage you,” said Kraninger, who appreciates the opportunity to continue working with MaxYield this fall. After he graduates from Iowa Lakes, Kraninger wants to start his career in northwest Iowa. “There’s something for everyone in agriculture, and I’d definitely recommend working at MaxYield.”

Preserving the Land

MESERVEY | When Wayne Koehler, Meservery, first started farming in 1970 farmers would plow the land multiple time without realizing how much top soil they were losing.

Today, Koehler and wife Val are doing everything they can to be good stewards of their farmland. They’ve even been recognized for their efforts by receiving the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during the Iowa State Fair in August.

“We need to do something to help conserve the soil,” Wayne Koehler said. “Not just for our generation but future generations. It takes too long to rebuild the top soil.”

Koehler’s efforts toward more environmentally friendly farming began in the 1990s when he moved to no-till for both corn and soybeans. However, not seeing the results he wanted with corn acres, he switched to minimum-till with corn.

He has continued with no-till soybeans, and in the mid-2000s when yield monitors and GPS were widely used in tractors and combines Koehler started participating in precision farming programs through SciMax Solutions, which is part of MaxYield Cooperative.

To read the complete story of the Koehler’s dedication to preserving the land for the next generation, click here.