January 25, 2021

Archives for November 2014

Join Us for the Annual Meeting December 16

We’re taking a new approach and meeting at a new location for MaxYield Cooperative’s annual meeting, and we hope you can join us.

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 16. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., snacks and refreshments will be served, and the meeting will be called to order at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Wild Rose Casino, Emmetsburg.

WHAT: MaxYield will present the cooperative’s audit, board chairman Howard Haas will deliver the chairman’s message, and Keith Heim, CEO, will also speak. Board election results will be announced. The board will meet after the annual meeting is adjourned.

“These changes are a reflection of the times,” said Howard Haas, MaxYield’s board chairman. “We’re trying a new, less formal format and different location for the annual meeting to attract more attendees.”

Meet your board candidates
This year’s board candidates include incumbents Dave Garrelts of Ayrshire, from MaxYield’s central area; Jim Black of Algona, from MaxYield’s central area; and Don Hejlik of Britt, from MaxYield’s east area.

The three candidates are running unopposed, since no other candidates stepped forward before the Aug. 31 deadline. “We appreciate these incumbents’ willingness to serve again,” Haas said.

All of MaxYield’s Class A members received a letter earlier this year notifying them that they could run for the open positions, Haas noted. “Nobody is entrenched on this board, and it’s not a closed club. We welcome new candidates to run for the board for a three-year term.”

Serving on the board is an enjoyable learning experience, Haas added. “It’s a good group of people who care about the future of MaxYield. We look forward to visiting with you at the annual meeting.”

Looking at the Up Side of Down

Editors note: MaxYield Cooperative’s annual meeting will be held Tuesday, December 16th. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and cookies, the business meeting will start at 10:00 a.m. and conclude prior to 11:00 a.m.

MaxYield Cooperative has finished another successful fiscal year, thanks to you, our members and clients. While earnings were down a little, we were still able to do the things we want to do financially to serve you better, including upgrading assets, retiring equity, and retiring term debt.

It was a challenging environment in a few areas of our business, including grain, which led to lower earnings. On July 31, 2014, local earnings totaled more than $2.1 million, compared to more than $4.2 million the previous year. Still, your MaxYield board was able to:

• Invest nearly $6.4 million in facilities and equipment, including rolling stock, throughout the company. Because of these expenditures, the board chose to retain some of the
2014 earnings but pay a higher percent of the patronage allocations (50%) in cash.

• Retire more than $900,000 of previously allocated patronage.

• Approve the allocation of $502,538 to MaxYield’s members, with 50% ($251,269) to be paid in cash.

At the end of fiscal year 2014, MaxYield’s balance sheet showed $32 million of working capital, term debt of $18.6 million, local equity of more than $35 million, and a local leverage factor of 52.9%. In one year, it’s quite possible the local leverage factor could be below 45%. It has been a long time since MaxYield has enjoyed such a local leverage number.

It’s also worth looking at our fiscal year numbers in terms of history. At the close of fiscal 2014, MaxYield’s retained savings totaled more than $34.6 million, up from retained savings of -$122,242 on July 31, 1997. This is progress!

Planning for the future
I’m pleased MaxYield’s 2014 financial results are keeping your cooperative on the right track as we move forward. Your board remains focused on a balanced approach of upgrading assets, retiring term debt, and revolving previously allocated MaxYield patronage.

I see reason for optimism as we move into the next fiscal year. We’ll have a good crop to handle and there will be some drying revenue. Even though the ag economy is cooling, I believe 2015 will continue to offer some opportunities, including carry in the market, which will enable us to continue meeting our key objectives.

Thanks for your continued support and patronage of MaxYield. I look forward to working with each of you to continue MaxYield’s success in fiscal 2015. ■

A word from Howard Haas, board chairman
“If you don’t consider the last six or seven years, a $2-million year would be considered a good year. In fiscal year 2014 we increased retained savings significantly, which strengthens the financial stability of your cooperative. We will also maintain our focus on increasing local equity. If you think your cooperative should move in a different direction, I encourage you to make your voice heard. We appreciate your support of MaxYield.” ■

An open letter to Lakota

Editor’s note: First Lieutenant James Nash was one of the Marines honored during the 2013 Hunting with Heroes weekend. He was invited to the 2014 event. He was unable to make the event, but sent the following letter. MaxYield Cooperative provides the airfare to fly the Marines to Lakota. Its the least we can do for those that have done so much for us. Below is the letter First Lieutenant Nash sent event organizers Bernie and Jason Becker.

Dear Bernie and Jason,
I thought you might want to share this at the banquet tonight. Something amazing just happened, but to understand it I have to tell you a larger story.

1st Lt. James Nash, during the 2013 Hunting with Heroes event.

1st Lt. James Nash, during the 2013 Hunting with Heroes event. Mindy Baker photo

Part one
August of 2012. I lay in a hospital in Afghanistan physically and mentally destroyed. I’ve lost 1/4 of my platoon in a single battle and have a suicide watch over me at all times. I have doctors and nurses asking me questions, pumping me full of medicine and I couldn’t care less whether I lived or died except that a black lab named Joe, who had been injured while serving as a bomb dog, came to visit me every day. I didn’t want to eat or drink or talk to anyone, but I loved seeing Joe.

Part two
November 2013, Lakota. I have been having the time of my life. Talking with salt-of-the-earth small town Americans. They are the people I imagine when wondering if the sacrifices of so many are worth it.

Walking through fields of tall grass and watching a black lab named Claire dart back and forth, flushing pheasants and retrieving them back to us again. At the end of the second day, on your place, Bernie, a bird got up a long ways out and I hit it, but it sailed into the next field.

Several dogs took after it, and Claire was among them. She hit a barbed wire fence at full speed and got tangled in the wires, and yelped and cried in pain. Hunters started to run to help her, but she freed herself and instead of giving up, ran into the field, overtook the other dogs and chased the rooster until she caught it and then retrieved it. I was nearly in tears.

Part three
I retired from the Marines in February of 2014 and began the long drive from North Carolina to my home in Oregon. The drive was made longer because I stopped to look at every litter of black labs within 100 miles of my route.

In Blackfoot, Idaho I found the one I was looking for, set her in my truck and finished my trip — a trip that had begun with me bleeding into the dust of a country you will never see, and ended with a female lab sleeping in my lap. Every time she woke up and looked at me, I could only smile and say, “Hi, Claire.” It had been a very long way home.

Nash, shown with event organizer Jason Becker. Mindy Baker photo.

Nash, shown with event organizer Jason Becker. Mindy Baker photo.

Part 4
This morning (Sunday, Nov. 9), while you were out hunting with heroes, I came home from duck hunting and saw a rooster pheasant in my back yard. This is the first pheasant I have ever seen on my property. I grabbed my Savage over and under you gave me, called Claire and walked into the tall grass of the field next to my house.

She flushed the rooster and I wounded it and watched him sail out of sight. Claire went after him and so did I, at a dead run. She found where he landed and then 200 yards later jumped him. They ran over the hill and out of sight again. I heard barbed wire screech and my dog yelp. It stopped me in my tracks, thinking my little dog was hurt. But in a moment she came back into sight, with that rooster in her mouth and retrieved him all the way to me.

You see, Marines are called Devil Dogs. They have a job to do and they execute that job. No matter what.

I think Black Labs are the same.

I know what it is like to be caught in the fence.

I should mention that once I got out of the hospital in Afghanistan I could’ve gone back to the states, but I went back to my platoon. Two months later I was wounded again and after one month in the hospital I went back to my platoon again.
When we left the country to come home, I was the last man on the plane.

What you are offering those of us who are fortunate enough to hunt with you is much bigger than a fun weekend. It is bigger than I can describe, and I thank you for it.

I miss you, Lakota. I hope to see you again.

Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. James Nash

Giving men of war some peace

MaxYield is a proud supporter of the Hunting with Heroes project that brings Marines from the Wounded Warrior battalion from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, to Lakota, IA for a weekend of hunting, healing and fun. We are honored to provide the airfare to bring these heroes to our area and are grateful for the many organizers and volunteers that help make this a great event. Here is their story….


Story and photos by: Mindy Baker
Editor, Algona Upper Des Moines

LAKOTA — The fourth annual Lakota Hunting with Heroes wrapped up with its Veterans Appreciation Banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Lakota Eagle Center with more than 450 in attendance.

The event brings up to four Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for a weekend of pheasant hunting and a show of gratitude for their service.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Owen Bradley Pottorff accepts an envelope of letters from an Estherville-Lincoln Central student during the fourth annual Hunting With Heroes Veteran Appreciation banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9. Behind him, from left: event organizer Jason Becker, Staff Sgt. Phillip Shockley and Sgt. Ryan Ross.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Owen Bradley Pottorff accepts an envelope of letters from an Estherville-Lincoln Central student during the fourth annual Hunting With Heroes Veteran Appreciation banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9. Behind him, from left: event organizer Jason Becker, Staff Sgt. Phillip Shockley and Sgt. Ryan Ross.

The men

There were four Marines this year, and between them, they have been deployed more than 20 times in some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. They have survived a collected 15 enemy attacks with either an improvised explosive device or a rocket propelled grenade.

“I was hurt in February 2013,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Owen Bradley Pottorff. Pottorff joined the Marines on June 13, 1995. He is less than a year from his retirement date. He credits his grandfather for becoming a Marine.

“I was close to him, and I admired the way he carried himself, the way people looked up to him,” said Pottorff.

Pottorff has been on 14 deployments. In 2013 he was in the Helmand province of Afghanistan as part of Operation Dynamic Partner. “I was blown up five times in four days,” said Pottorff. “The fighting was so intense they couldn’t risk a helicopter to evac me out.”

Pottorff is a native Iowan, having graduated from Albia High School. It’s been five years since he’s been back in Iowa — 10 since the last time he went pheasant hunting.

Sergeant Ryan Rogers signed up in 2004. He knew the minute the Twin Towers went down that becoming a Marine was his calling. He’s been deployed five times. The worst for him was in 2010.

“I was in Afghanistan, and it was everything,” said Rogers. “IEDs and gunfights from sun up to sun down. I lost Marines there. It was bad the entire time.”

While the Ohio native has been pheasant hunting before — the experience in Lakota was over-the-top, and he wasn’t just talking pheasant. “It is amazing here. I’ve never been treated like this before. The hospitality here is more amazing than the hunting,” said Ross.

Staff Sergeant Tony Musselman is the first member of his family to join the Marines. He’s been deployed four times.

“I joined in 2007,” said Musselman. “I had wanted to be a Marine since I was little. I’ve enjoyed everyone I’ve got to meet, and everywhere I’ve got to go as a Marine.”

He grew up in Pennsylvania, hunting pheasant with his dad, however they had never hunted using dogs. “I can’t thank people enough for this,” said Musselman. “It’s relaxing, coming out here, clearing my mind. This has been the best hunting experience I’ve ever had.”

Staff Sergeant Phillip Lee Shockley joined the Marines right after 9-11 happened.

“I was 18,” said Shockley, who is from Scuffleton, N.C. “I wanted to go kill people who were attacking my country.”

DSC_0218Prior to his enlistment, none of his family members had ever been in combat. “You can’t prepare for it,” he said. “There is nothing you can do.”

He’s been deployed five times, and was injured in 2006 and again in 2011. He was floored by the welcome he and his fellow Marines received in Lakota.

“Everyone has been truly great,” said Shockley. “I don’t know what to do — I was just doing my job. I knew when I signed up things could happen.” He paused. “You know they can happen, but you don’t think they’ll happen to you.”

When Bernie and Jason Becker began Hunting with Heroes in 2011, they didn’t know what to expect, or what impact a weekend of hunting pheasant would have on wounded Marines.

For the second time, Jamie Lantgen came back to help with the hunt. The retired Marine Sergeant now boasts a full beard and a much more relaxed demeanor than in 2011.

“This event makes a difference in lives,” said Lantgen. “It’s the genuine care and compassion you have for these guys. I like coming back, seeing the other Marines, catching up with everyone — let them see my ugly mug and my beard.
“It shows them that there are things you can do after being in that deathtrap, that there is no stigma.” This year, Lantgen was joined by fellow retired Marine Sergeant and 2011 alum, Kevin Koffler, also sporting a bushy beard.

“When I was invited back this year, I said yes before I even talked to my wife,” said Koffler. “Coming here in 2011 meant a lot to me. The support then, and since then, has meant a lot.”

He spent the weekend laughing and joking with the other Marines, helping them know what to expect. “I didn’t give spoilers, but I let them know just how much is done here for them, the people donating their time, their dogs, their land,” said Koffler.

Now retired, he plans moving his family to Ohio, close to his wife’s relatives and a lot closer to Lakota. He wants to make helping with Hunting with Heroes an annual occurrence, and to come visit the area on a regular basis. “I want to say more to the people here than thanks, but words can’t describe what they are doing here,” said Koffler. “Keep doing what you are doing. You can’t ask for a better event than this.”

DSC_0254The banquet
The weekend of hunting always ends with a banquet that triples the population of Lakota and honors all area veterans, their spouses and all of the sponsors of the entire weekend. “It takes an army to do this,” said Jason Becker, one of the organizers of the event. “Every penny goes to bringing these men here and showing them true Iowa hospitality.”

As in years’ past, the Heartwarmers Quilt Guild in Buffalo Center provided handmade quilts to each of the wounded Marines. This year, Quilts of Valor donated an additional group of quilts to hand out to attending Purple Heart recipient veterans at the banquet and to a Gold Star Mother.

The Bishop Garrigan Danz Squad gave the four guests of honor a fleece printed with photos of their arrival at the Des Moines International Airport, while students from Estherville-Lincoln Central gave the men letters and cards. An anonymous donation of gift cards also surprised the veterans.

Three special edition Henry Golden Boy rifles were given away to veterans in attendance — Larry Weaver, William Elbert and Nick Wood.

Before releasing the more than 400 people in attendance to line up for ribeye steak sandwiches, both Koffler and Shockley stood to speak.

“My last deployment was Friday the 13, Aug. 13, 2010,” said Koffler. “I’ve had seven surgeries and I’m still recovering. I’m still fighting the VA — those of you here know what I’m talking about. It means so much — all of your support. It means so much to come back.”

While those in attendance laughed and cheered Koffler, it was Shockley that brought the audience to tears as he took the podium.

“Words won’t be able to describe everything everyone has done for us,” said Shockley. “Everything I’ve done on my deployments has been for you. I joined the Marine Corps because someone attacked my country.

“I’ve know you here for three-and-a-half minutes,” he added. “You are my family now. I would do anything for you. I am so grateful for this weekend.”
He then addressed the older veterans in the crowd.

“You are the man I strive to be,” he said. “I should be thanking you. If it was not for the sacrifices you made, I would not be able to do what I do. Your wars were harder than mine. Your welcome back was harder than mine. You are the heroes here.”

The next Hunting with Heroes will be the first weekend in November, 2015. For more information, or to view photographs from the entire weekend, visit the Hunting with Heroes page on Facebook.

R7 Tools Help Troy Watne Unleash the Power of Precision Ag

20140723_maxyield_430 (1024x681)While Troy Watne is interested in precision ag, he had one big question: Is the technology so complicated that it will be more trouble than it’s worth?

“I wanted to see if there’s an easy way to get started,” said Watne, who has farmed full-time near Belmond since 1991. “If you pick up just three to five bushels an acre, the return on investment is huge.”

That’s why Watne was interested when Cody Ostendorf, a local MaxYield agronomy specialist, encouraged him to try the R7® Tool, which combines local data with precision ag technology.
In February, Watne sat down with Ostendorf and Rodney Legleiter, a SciMax Solutions specialist, to develop a variable-rate planting plan for 2014. As they talked, Ostendorf could project the satellite imagery and more from WinField Solutions’ R7 tool onto a large television screen for easy viewing.

After analyzing five or six different fields, the team decided that the R7 system would work well on a 160-acre field that Watne farms northwest of Belmond. The field contains clay-based, tight soils, including Clarion, Nicollet, Webster, and Terril. The land includes side hills with slopes ranging from 2% to 4%, as well as low areas. “The field was ideal for the R7 trial, because Troy had improved the drainage and fertility levels prior to variable-rate planting,” Ostendorf noted.

With the R7 technology, Watne and the MaxYield team could review 10 years’ worth of aerial imagery for this field and observe changes over time, all with the touch of a button. “I was intrigued that we could go back that far,” said Watne, who noted that the whole process only required a couple hours of his time. “I was also impressed by how fast the process was.”

The MaxYield team then went to work to map out management zones throughout the field. Zone A denotes areas with the highest yield potential, while Zone B includes areas with average productivity. Zone C consists of challenging areas with lower productivity levels due to poor drainage, lower fertility levels, or other factors.

Data from dry years and wet years were overlaid to create a composite management zone map, said Ostendorf, who wrote a variable-rate planting prescription for Watne to download into his 24-row John Deere® DB 60 planter.

“Downloading this information into the planter was easy and just took a few minutes,” said Watne, who planted DeKalb® 5356 on May 9 on the field, which had been planted to soybeans in 2013. The corn hybrid was planted at 34,000 to 38,000 plants per acre, with an average of 36,000 plants.

By early August, the lush, green corn plants were thriving. “The crop has been looking really good,” said Watne, who is part of WinField Solutions’ Greater Acre project, which is following a select group of growers’ results throughout the 2014 growing season. “I’m looking forward to harvest.”

So is Legleiter, who has seen the benefits of the R7 tool and variable-rate planting in fields throughout MaxYield’s territory. “Variable-rate populations are the easiest, most affordable way to boost yield, as long as the field’s drainage, pH levels, and fertility are adequate.”

Fine-tuning crop production
The R7 tool offers a valuable resource to help any grower gain a better understanding of specific fields, without having to produce years of yield data, noted Keaton Krueger, an ag technology specialist for WinField Solutions.

“It’s a great tool to determine the right hybrids for your acres and helps bridge the precision ag gap. Aerial imagery from your field can be used to write prescriptions, even before you have the yield data.”

The R7 tool also provides a good summary of each hybrid offered through MaxYield, including pictures of the hybrid’s root mass, ear size, and more. It’s important to note that the correct variable-rate seeding prescription can vary widely from hybrid to hybrid. That’s where the MaxYield and SciMax specialists can tailor the R7 data to each client’s specific needs. “Not all hybrids work for variable-rate planting,” Ostendorf noted.

“Some withstand lower and higher populations much better than others, so it’s important to find the right fit for each client’s acres.”

DeKalb 5356 was the right fit for Watne’s field, because it develops a strong root system that can penetrate clay soils. “It’s also a good fixed-ear hybrid where you can push populations higher on well-drained areas,” Ostendorf said.

To track the crop’s progress during the growing season, Ostendorf took tissue samples from high-population areas and low-population areas of the field around the V4-V5 stage in May, at the V12 stage, and around tasseling. As Ostendorf pulled samples throughout the field, this allowed him to conduct more extensive crop scouting.

“It’s good to have another set of eyes looking at my crop,” said Watne, who appreciates this peace of mind. “I can ask Cody how my crop compares with other fields in the area and get a better idea of what issues might need to be addressed now rather than later.”

Ostendorf checks the R7’s satellite imagery that’s updated every week or two during the growing season to track the vegetative index and measure various factors, including the crop’s response to plant populations and response to nitrogen.

“The R7 tool gives you a better idea of how to fine-tune your management throughout the growing season,” said Watne, who included check strips across his field. “You don’t have to sit around wondering what’s going on in the field. You’ll know if you need to add more nitrogen in season, for example.”

Taking the next step to SciMax
Improved management through the R7 tool provides a good stepping stone into SciMax Solutions, Legleiter noted. “Once you get started with R7 and get some yield data, this helps you move into SciMax, where we use your yield data to develop a management plan.”

MaxYield and SciMax make the process easy. “Our goal is to save growers time,” Legleiter added. “It’s even more efficient once you’ve been through the process.”

Going forward, Watne is interested in using the R7 tool on more fields and wants to include variable-rate nitrogen. “The end goal is to produce more consistent yields,” he said.

Put R7 to work for you
The R7 tool is a value-added service available to all clients through MaxYield. “There is no charge to map a field and show you the potential this tool can offer you,” said Legleiter, who noted that the initial consultation and historical aerial images are free.

Now’s the time to take your farm management to the next level, said Peter Bixel, SciMax Solutions’ team leader. “We’re ready to develop precision ag solutions for your 2015 crop.”

For more information, contact your local MaxYield agronomy specialist or SciMax Solutions specialist or visit www.MaxYieldSeed.com or www.SciMax.com. ■