January 25, 2021

Archives for January 2015

Don Haverman Retires After 44 Years at MaxYield Cooperative

DSC_0067 (2) (1024x782)Don Haverman was honored at a retirement coffee January 20th in West Bend, recognizing his 44 years of service to MaxYield Cooperative.

Joining Don at the event was his wife, Mona.

Haverman began his career in 1971, operating the elevator in Rodman, and retires from MaxYield as Plant, Property and Equipment Coordinator.

In between, he helped lead the construction of many of the cooperative’s assets.

Congratulations Don and Mona on the next chapter of your lives!



Is Your Rain Gauge Obsolete? Top 10 Reasons to try Climate Corporation’s Online Tools

20141009_maxyield_351 (1024x681)

SciMax Solutions Specialists Rodney Legleiter and Rachel Amundson check out Climate tools online.

Imagine waking up in the morning, going online, and signing in to see how much it rained on your fields in the night. You can scan the information in the comfort of your home while enjoying your morning cup of coffee.

It’s possible, thanks to The Climate Corporation’s convenient Climate tools, including the free Climate Basic online service and App. “I tell growers that Climate Basic is something everyone should be using,” said Greg Sweeney, seed team leader at MaxYield Cooperative. “There’s lots of good information there, no matter how big or small your operation is.”

There are 10 good reasons to visit www.climate.com and get started with the free Climate Basic system, which lets you:

1. Track rainfall the easy way. After you create your password-protected Climate Basic account online, you can easily map your fields. Search by section or township, select your fields, and name them. Then the system will start tracking weather information, including rainfall. “I was surprised by how accurate it is,” said Sweeney, who used the tool throughout the 2014 growing season. “It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty impressive.” The rainfall total reflects an average of the field as a whole, not just one reading where a traditional rain gauge is located. For a field near Algona that Sweeney tracked, the system recorded individual rainfall events, such as the 3.52 inches that fell on the field on June 16. The system also adds up rainfall throughout the season. In Sweeney’s example, rainfall totaled 28.6 inches on the Algona field from April 1 to Sept. 15.

2. Receive email or text message alerts. You can receive Climate Corporation emails or text message updates daily about how much rainfall your fields have received in the past 24 hours. Your account can also notify you when your fields get hail. Where does all this information come from? “Climate Corporation models the data from radar,” Sweeney said.

3. Use the App. While Climate Basic’s smartphone App has much less information than the website, it can track rainfall for the past 24 hours, predict precipitation amounts for the next 24 hours, and provide other basic tools.

4. Check out weather forecasts. The Climate Basic website provides the latest weather forecasts. (Note: this option isn’t available on the Climate Basic App.)

5. Access useful weather graphs. Climate Basic records the high and low temperature for your area every day throughout the growing season. It also compiles this information in an easy-to-read line graph.

6. Review history at a glance. Climate Basic offers historical weather data related to your fields. Not only can you view a chart of accumulated precipitation throughout the growing season, but you can review previous years’ rainfall data, too.

7. Monitor crop growth stages. After you enter your planting dates into the system, Climate Basic will monitor the growth stages of your crop during the growing season.

8. Assess field workability. Climate Basic can make predictions about when your fields will be fit for fieldwork by tracking the percentage of soil moisture and the growth stage of the crop.

9. Record field scouting notes. Climate Basic offers a handy way to record and access your field scouting notes.

10. Utilize customer support. Climate Corporation offers an excellent customer support system to help you maximize the technology, Sweeney said.

You can also count on MaxYield to answer any questions about Climate Corporation’s online tools. SciMax Solutions team members are experts in Climate Corporation’s technology-based solutions. MaxYield’s seed solutions specialists and agronomy team members are also familiar with Climate Basic and know how it works. “Feel free to contact us with any questions,” Sweeney said.

20141009_maxyield_368 (1024x681)Check out Climate Pro
Ready for more? Climate Corporation also offers Climate Pro, a secure, web-based system with five additional resources.

“Climate Pro can help you maximize your high-yielding farms,” said Peter Bixel, team leader for SciMax Solutions. “It is also useful if you have fields 20 miles away or more from where you live.”

There is an acre-based fee for Climate Pro, which has no App but includes five web-based tools (known as “Advisors”) for:

1. Planting. Enter your crop’s maturity, and Climate Pro will advise you about when you should be able to plant, based on weather forecasts. “It may tell you to switch hybrids or varieties, depending on weather conditions in your area,” Bixel said. This Advisor ties in with the Precision Planting system, so you can sync your data from the 20/20 monitor right to your Climate Pro account. “You don’t have to enter any information, since the data can go right to the cloud,” Bixel said.

2. Nitrogen. This tool isn’t a big focus for SciMax Solutions clients, because SciMax Nitrogen offers a better resource, Bixel said.

3. Field Health. This satellite imagery feature is somewhat similar to the R7® Tool, which combines local data with precision ag technology. It helps you find ways to fix the poorer-producing areas of your fields and push yields even higher in the good areas.
4. Pests. Climate Pro makes crop scouting easier. “It tracks when corn larvae might be a challenge, for example, based on temperature and other factors,” Bixel said. “It helps you know what to look for where and when as you scout your fields.”

5. Harvest. This is one of Climate Pro’s most unique features, Bixel said. After entering your corn hybrid and planting data, the tool will give you an idea of when the crop should dry down to around 18% moisture. This can help you determine when to harvest for optimal results.

“We believe there will be some things of real value for you in Climate Pro,” Bixel said. “These resources also fit well with SciMax Solutions and MaxYield’s seed solutions.”

The 2015 fee for Climate Pro is $3 per acre. Clients will sign an agreement with MaxYield to participate in the program. Climate Pro is flexible, Bixel added. “You don’t have to commit all your fields. You can pick and choose which acres you want to include.”

Going forward, the Climate Corporation plans to add more Advisors to the Climate Pro tool. “This technology will continue to evolve and get better,” Bixel said. “We look forward to helping you make the most of it.”

For more information on Climate Basic or Climate Pro online tools, contact your local SciMax solutions specialist, or your nearest MaxYield seed or agronomy team member. ■

Meet MaxYield’s Whistleblower: Ryan Stokes Stays On Top of His Game

20141008_maxyield_100 (1024x681)Call registered officials the Rodney Dangerfield of sports. They play a vital role at each game but don’t get any respect. Okay, maybe they’re just underappreciated—but that doesn’t matter much to Ryan Stokes.

“I enjoy the experience,” said Stokes, MaxYield Cooperative’s location leader at Mallard, who also serves as a registered official for boys’ and girls’ basketball games. “I get some exercise, I can help out the community, and comments from the crowd don’t bother me.”

While it’s easy to overlook referees unless they make a bad call, Stokes stands out for his valuable contributions, both in the gym and at MaxYield. Here are five things you may not know about Ryan:

1. Ryan’s rural roots run deep. Ryan grew up in the Mallard area, where both of his grandfathers and his uncle farmed. Ryan’s father, Dan, ran the Agri Center in Mallard. Ryan started working there part-time around age 12. “After school I’d go in when they needed extra help, and on weekends I helped clean the feed mill,” Ryan said. During his years at West Bend-
Mallard High School, Ryan joined the local FFA chapter and enjoyed competing on the soil judging team. After studying ag business at Iowa Lakes Community College, Ryan returned to Mallard to begin working full-time in 1997 at the Agri Center, which specialized in feed, seed, fertilizer, and crop protection products. Many of the MaxYield clients Ryan serves today did business in years past with the Agri Center, which came into the MaxYield family in 2005. “Since we knew a lot of the people in the area, becoming part of MaxYield was a smooth transition,” Ryan said.

2. The Stokes family loves sports. Ryan grew up watching sports, attending Iowa State University basketball and football games, and cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes. In high school, he loved playing football and basketball, in addition to running track. He’ll never forget his senior year, when the West Bend-Mallard Wolverines won the 1994 state football championship. “We beat Winfield Mt. Union by one point in overtime,” said Ryan, who played free safety. Ryan wasn’t the only athlete in the family. His younger brother, Scott, played basketball at Iowa Lakes Community College and Morningside College in Sioux City. Today, Ryan still enjoys watching college sports, especially football and basketball.

3. Ryan can pass the ref test. When Ryan’s uncle, Mark Johnson, needed some extra help refereeing basketball games for West Bend-Mallard, Ryan gave it a try. “The first year you didn’t have to be licensed,” recalled Ryan, who started in 2002 by attending a rules meeting in the area. “You could get your feet wet and see if it was something you wanted to do.” Ryan discovered that he enjoyed refereeing boys’ and girls’ basketball games for West Bend-Mallard’s middle school and junior varsity teams. Within the first three years of officiating, he had to take a written exam at Storm Lake. “It’s more extensive than you’d think,” Ryan said. “You have to explain what calls you’d make in a lot of different situations.” To maintain his registered official status, Ryan takes an online test every year to keep up with the latest rules changes.

4. Ryan likes to stay busy. Ryan won’t commit to officiate any games until after Thanksgiving. “By then, harvest is over and the ground is usually frozen, which slows down agronomy work,” Ryan said. West Bend-Mallard plays all its middle school basketball games in Gilmore City, including five home games for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. The games usually start around 4 p.m. on Mondays or Thursdays. “I’m one of two refs who officiates the boys’ game and a girls’ game each time,” said Ryan, who will also begin officiating Emmetsburg middle school and junior varsity basketball games this winter. “I appreciate that MaxYield has been flexible when it comes to my officiating schedule.”

5. Teamwork pays off, both on and off the court. Ryan learned discipline by playing sports and values the power of teamwork. That’s why he appreciates MaxYield’s culture. “MaxYield is all about the team. When you don’t make the play, you let others down.” Working together to serve clients effectively is important to Ryan, who works with 10 team members who operate Mallard’s large grain complex and provide agronomy products and solutions. “We have a great team here at Mallard. We all enjoy agriculture because there’s always something new.”

Editor’s note: Ryan and his wife, Lori, live in the country between Mallard and Rodman, where they are raising their four children, Tyler, 10; Austin, 8; Sean, 5; and Ashlyn, 2. Ryan has served as a volunteer firefighter in Mallard for three years. In his free time, you might find Ryan teaching Tyler about deer and pheasant hunting or watching Austin play flag football.

Don Haverman – Retirement Open House – January 20th

20120417_maxyield_276 (2) (682x1024)Long-time fixture at MaxYield Cooperative, Don Haverman, will be soon be retiring after 43 years of service.

We are honoring Don with a retirement coffee on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

The event starts at 9:00 a.m. and concludes at 11:00 a.m.

We hope that you can stop by to honor Don for a great career and service to agriculture!


MaxYield Tires & Service – Open House

20141008_maxyield_165 (1024x681)OPEN HOUSE: MaxYield Tires & Service is hosting an open house January 23, 2015 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Stop by for food, door prizes and see our new facility and expanded inventory for cars, light trucks, tractors, and large trucks!

Also learn more about our new state-of-the-art engine diagnostic equipment and new light engine repair capability.

Contact Bryan Traub at 515-887-TIRE for more information.

Condominium Storage Program Offered

20141008_maxyield_066 (1024x681)INFORMATIONAL MEETING SCHEDULED!
Join us Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Clay County Regional Events Center to learn more about this beneficial program. Contact any MaxYield location with questions or to request your packet to sign up.

More information is available at www.MaxYieldGrain.com/condo.

MaxYield Cooperative is offering another condominium grain storage program.

Condominium storage was offered by MaxYield for the first time in 2006 and again in 2007. Each offering was very well received by our membership and sold out. We have only had a few Condo units exchange between Condo members. The shares traded at, or above, the original purchase price.

What is Condominium Grain Storage?
Each Condo investor would purchase and own one or more shares in a Limited Liability Company (one share equals 5,000 bushel) The LLC would construct and own a large storage 725,000 bu bin at a MaxYield location. As an investor in the LLC, you may deliver your storage bushels to any MaxYield location (with the exception of Kerber Milling, GP Lakota, or Hawkeye Pride). The investor enjoys the tax benefits equal to the depreciation on the bin. You have reserved storage space, and no grain storage costs. We expect the Condo bin to have a 40 year useful life span.

There are many benefits and we know you have questions. Many of the answers you’re looking for are on our condo storage fact page, found here. You can also contact your nearest MaxYield location or members of our grain team.


(This communication is not an offer to sell storage units or solicitation of an investment in an LLC. Any offer to sell storage units or to solicit an investment in an LLC is made only through a prospectus.)

Deploying SWAT: MaxYield Cultivates the Next Generation of Safety Professionals

What if you or a key person in your operation became incapacitated and couldn’t handle major jobs, like planting or harvesting the crop? How would your operation carry on?

MaxYield Cooperative team members started asking the same questions about your cooperative. That’s why we created the Safe Workplace Apprentice Team (SWAT) in February of 2014.

“We want to find better ways to protect our team members,” said Tom Winkel, MaxYield’s assistant operations and safety director. “We also want to protect your investment in this company and find solutions to prevent service interruptions.”

Teresa Mosiman, Jeremy Joynt, Tom Winkel. Not shown: Tom Angus.

Teresa Mosiman, Jeremy Joynt, Tom Winkel. Not shown: Tom Angus.

The key words are “apprentice” and “team” with MaxYield’s SWAT, which includes Teresa Mosiman at Klemme, Tom Angus at Algona, and Jeremy Joynt at Emmetsburg. “We need to have a succession plan in place,” Winkel said. While MaxYield could hire a new safety director as its safety specialists retire, that’s not enough, he added. “There’s no way anyone can become an effective safety director right away. Plus, you’re back to square one if that new team member doesn’t stay. That’s why we took things to the next level by creating SWAT.”

Making progress
Creating the three-member SWAT builds on MaxYield’s existing safety program, which includes regular safety briefings and other safety training programs. While SWAT bolsters MaxYield’s safety culture, the group is small enough to be manageable.

“We recruited team members who live the MaxYield promise, can devote extra time to safety, and are willing to move into new leadership positions,” said Winkel, who added that team members represent MaxYield’s three regions. “I realize these folks have many daily duties, so we want to keep SWAT manageable while helping them learn more about safety.”

Each SWAT member is invited to attend meetings of the Ag Cooperative Safety Directors. They’ve also completed a 10-hour safety class from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with a three-hour OSHA refresher course. In addition, SWAT members have been getting acquainted with staff from OSHA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “I want them to know these people on a first-name basis, so MaxYield can maintain a proactive partnership with these agencies,” Winkel said.

This summer, SWAT members also assisted Winkel with the annual tour and safety critique of MaxYield’s locations. They each went to locations outside their region to conduct a site survey and bring a fresh perspective. The goal is to spot potential issues and correct them before they endanger team members’ or clients’ safety or cause service interruptions.

“I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’re making,” said Winkel, who noted that no other cooperative in the area has a system like SWAT. “We live and breathe a safety culture at MaxYield, and SWAT is keeping things moving forward.” While SWAT members have been focusing on safety issues, Winkel would like to get them more involved with compliance issues next. “Looking into the future with our safety and compliance solutions helps keep people safe and gives MaxYield a competitive edge in this industry.” ■

Belmond equity member meeting CANCELLED; Britt meeting ON

MaxYield Cooperative’s equity program member meeting, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Thursday, January 8th in Belmond has been cancelled due to hazardous driving conditions and worsening forecast.

The equity program meeting scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at the Duncan Hall is still ON as planned.

Artisan Iowa Shrimp: Mike Heuck’s Shrimp Shed Offers a Fresh Alternative

Shrimp have been called the fruit of the sea, but they are also the latest crop on Mike Heuck’s Clay County farm east of Everly.

“I was looking to diversify my operation but didn’t want to do something everyone else was doing,” said Heuck, a third-generation farmer who has farmed full-time since 1985. “There aren’t a lot of shrimp farms like this, so it seemed like a good opportunity.”

Heuck and his wife, Tammi, decided to move forward with their new venture in 2013. While Heuck used to custom feed cattle, his facilities were worn out, and he didn’t want to replace them. He did his homework before taking the plunge into shrimp farming.

In 2012, Heuck visited with a family who were raising shrimp on their farm south of Cherokee. He also toured an Iowa farm that raises hybrid striped bass. Next, he traveled to Indiana to tour shrimp farms and connect with RDM Aquaculture, a shrimp farming consulting company in Fowler, IN.

20141008_maxyield_007 (1024x681)After Heuck developed a plan and shared his financial projections with his banker, he had the green light to move forward with his project. In the summer of 2013, Heuck built a 120-foot by 36-foot shed on his farm to house his new shrimp operation. He also got an aquaculture site permit license from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “It has been quite a learning experience,” said Heuck, who stocked his first shrimp in December of 2013 and sold his first “crop” in March of 2014.

Choose from live or Easy Peel shrimp
The process begins when Heuck drives nine hours to Indiana with his truck and trailer. He purchases post larval (PL) baby shrimp and hauls them back to northwest Iowa in four insulated, 70-gallon fiberglass tanks on the trailer. “I make this trip every other month,” he noted.

The PLs, which weigh half a gram to three quarters of a gram, are collected with mesh nets and are transferred into the 14-foot-diameter tanks in The Shrimp Shed. While the 12 tanks are four feet tall, Heuck fills them to the three-foot level so the shrimp don’t jump out as they grow. Nets also cover the tanks to keep the shrimp in place.

It takes about three to four months to raise shrimp to their market weight of 22 to 24 grams. Heuck’s goal is to produce 120 to 130 pounds of shrimp out of every tank. “There are 18 to 22 shrimp in a pound,” noted Heuck, whose family sells live shrimp and Easy Peel shrimp direct from the farm and at local farmers’ markets.

Successful shrimp production requires careful management, Heuck added. “It’s hard to produce farmed shrimp in volume. If the tanks are too big, it’s too hard to control the water chemistry and maintain the health of the shrimp. That’s why there’s a niche for an operation like mine.”
Water quality is key
There was a steep learning curve, however. In the early months of the business, Heuck and his hired man worked at The Shrimp Shed eight hours a day all winter, learning how to maintain  water quality and manage other variables.

Today, Heuck tests the water once a day in the morning before the shrimp receive the first of their two daily feedings. “You need to test the water at the same time every day for consistency, since water parameters change throughout the day,” Heuck said.

In the small lab in The Shrimp Shed, Heuck or his employee checks the water samples daily for temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, nitrates, ammonia, and more. “Some water is lost through evaporation, so we have to add new water periodically,” added Heuck, who noted that each tank also contains 400 to 500 pounds of sea salt.

Shrimp live in the same water the whole time they are on the farm, added Heuck, who uses biological filtration to maintain the water quality. Even though the shrimp lose their shells about three times a month as they molt and grow, the biological filtration system dissolves the shells.

20141008_maxyield_010 (1024x681)Each shrimp tank also includes a radiant heat system with 130 feet of tubing per tank to keep the water around 82 degrees. A propane-fueled boiler in the mechanical room heats the water, said Heuck, who purchases his liquid propane from MaxYield Cooperative. “Our delivery driver, Adam Gisch, pays close attention to our LP tank because he knows this is The Shrimp Shed’s only source of heat. I’m also on the monitoring system, so I don’t have to worry about running out of LP.”

When it’s time to feed the shrimp twice a day by hand, Heuck uses a pelleted feed made of fish meal and shrimp meal that he purchases from Zeigler Bros. in Pennsylvania. “It takes me two to three hours a day to do the feeding and water testing,” said Heuck, who also raises corn and soybeans and sells much of his grain to MaxYield’s Fostoria location.

Part of the chores also includes checking the mechanical systems that keep The Shrimp Shed running, such as the motors that power the aeration pumps for the tanks.

When it’s time to harvest the shrimp, Heuck uses a dip net. He sorts the shrimp in a bucket and returns the small ones to the tanks. “It’s helpful to have two people help with the harvest, Heuck noted. “The shrimp are easier to catch this way. Otherwise, they will start circling around the tank and are harder to net.”

Discover what fresh tastes like
To promote and market their shrimp, which are always sold fresh, never frozen, the Heucks use The Shrimp Shed’s Facebook® page. They also attend the farmers market every Saturday in Spencer during the summer.

“We’re proud to provide locally grown, clean saltwater shrimp,” said Heuck, who noted that The Shrimp Shed’s products have been featured in menu specials (including shrimp tacos) at restaurants in Spencer.
Iowa-grown shrimp provide a healthy food option, Heuck added. Approximately 90% of shrimp consumed in America are imported, which can create challenges. “In Asia, shrimp producers dose their shrimp with antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, which is banned in the United States,” Heuck noted.

Locally grown shrimp also offer a superior texture and sweeter flavor than imported shrimp, according to a customer from Gillette Grove. “If you haven’t tried shrimp from The Shrimp Shed, do it!” said the customer, who commented on The Shrimp Shed’s Facebook page. “We bought some other shrimp [from a local grocery store] for comparison. Tracy’s mom was afraid she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Well, you can! The Shrimp Shed’s shrimp are much sweeter and so much easier to eat.”

Interacting directly with customers and providing them with high-quality shrimp is one of the best parts of running The Shrimp Shed, said Heuck, who plans to expand into farmers’ markets in Sheldon and Arnolds Park in 2015. “There’s a lot of potential to grow.”

For more information about The Shrimp Shed, log on to www.facebook.com/shrimpshed or call 712-834-2323. ■

Spencer equity member meeting POSTPONED; Emmetsburg Meeting ON

MaxYield Cooperative’s equity program member meeting, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 6th at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer has been postponed to a date to be determined later. We will send out the rescheduled date when it becomes available.

The equity program meeting scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the Wild Rose Casino in Emmetsburg is still ON as planned.