April 20, 2019

Archives for April 2015

MaxYield 100 Years: Dickens Co-op Elevator & Lumber Co.

SWest Bend 15042913010_0001 hh (1024x791)In this week’s look back at MaxYield Cooperative’s history…we share the front and back cover of the Dickens Cooperative Elevator and Lumber Company’s annual report form 1954.

Sales at the conclusion of 1954 totaled more than $1.02 million, with net earnings of $42,487.10.

Then manager Russell Uhl stated in the report, “The manager takes this opportunity in presenting you with your 1954 Financial Statement of the Dickens Cooperative Elevator and Lumber Company.”

“I wish to thank each member for your fine support and cooperation you have given me during the past years and with this loyal support, we can look forward to making the Dickens Cooperative Elevator Co. bigger and better in the years to come.”

The cooperative in Dickens was established in 1938, and in 1991 merged with West Bend Elevator Company.

 

Adventures With Farmer Fred: West Bend-Mallard FFA Helps Kids Learn About Agriculture

20150115_maxyield_209 (1024x681)When Anita Fisher gets a good idea to promote agriculture, she’s not afraid to share it, even if the concept might seem a little unusual at first. Consider Farmer Fred, who introduces agriculture to young children in a fun, interactive way.

“I think the FFA students thought I was insane when I suggested using Farmer Fred to teach young students in the school about agriculture,” said Fisher, the West Bend-Mallard ag instructor
and Hawkeye FFA advisor. “I was also worried that Cindy Bormann, the West Bend-Mallard Little Rines’ Early Childhood teacher, would think I was crazy.”

Bormann, who teaches 26 children ages three to five at the West Bend-Mallard school, loved the idea, however. Farmer Fred is inspired by Flat Stanley, a beloved children’s book character who goes on a series of adventures. Fisher asked one of her FFA students to create a fictional character similar to Flat Stanley who could follow local FFA students around to many different farm-related activities. Farmer Fred came to life after Aaron Montag sketched him on a piece of paper, complete with the iconic blue FFA jacket.

“While we live in an ag community, fewer kids come from a farm background,” Fisher said. “I saw Farmer Fred as a way to keep them connected.”

Farmer Fred became an instant hit when he debuted in the fall of 2013. His adventures at West Bend-Mallard have included photographs of himself riding in a combine, which allows the FFA students to engage the children in conversations about what farmers do at harvest. The FFA students and Farmer Fred have also brought baby pigs and goats to school.

“The Early Childhood students get very excited when they see a visual of the Farmer Fred fictional character on our daily schedule,” Bormann said. “They ask, ‘What’s Farmer Fred going to tell us about today?’ and ‘When will Farmer Fred’s friends be coming to our classroom?’”

Kids soak up information like “little sponges”
Throughout the year, the FFA students take photos of Farmer Fred with their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) projects. They host Farmer Fred activities about once every two months and spend 15 to 30 minutes each time with the preschool and pre-K students.

20150115_maxyield_193 (1024x681)“Farmer Fred is a great way to connect to the younger kids and talk about agriculture,” said Colton Wickman, a West Bend-Mallard sophomore. “They associate him with our blue FFA jackets.”

The Early Childhood students were thrilled when the FFA students drove their tractors to school one day. “The young students thought it was awesome to stand by the tires and see how big the equipment is,” Fisher said. “They also loved climbing up in the cab to sit with Farmer Fred and an FFA member.”

Activities as simple as having a high school ag student read to a preschooler also make a positive impact. “The students recognize Farmer Fred and his FFA friends as trusted adults who share their knowledge of agriculture,” Bormann said. “As Farmer Fred explains photographs of ag-related experiences with the children, the kids learn new vocabulary words and soak up information like little sponges.”

The preschoolers also loved the opportunity to visit the Davis dairy farm in Humboldt County last year and are looking forward to an end-of-the-year field trip to the Knobloch farm near West Bend to see the animals and the farm equipment. “There’s nothing like hands-on learning,” Bormann said.

Advocating for agriculture
Farmer Fred hasn’t just benefited the preschoolers. The program has challenged the FFA members to think about the best way to explain agriculture so that someone with little or no farming knowledge can better understand.

“While agriculture is second nature to us, it’s not for most people,” Fisher said. “Working with the children teaches the ag students to communicate better with people of all ages, which has helped them become better ag-vocates.”

While Farmer Fred is fun, numerous Iowa Early Learning standards and Teaching Strategies GOLD objectives are met each time Farmer Fred and the FFA students collaborate with the Early Childhood classes.

“The preschool and pre-K students express curiosity, interest, and initiative in exploring their environment by engaging in experiences and learning new skills, which meets the Iowa Early
Learning standard 9.1,” Bormann said. “The young children also demonstrate positive approaches to learning, in addition to remembering and connecting experiences, which reflects
Teaching Strategies GOLD objectives 11 and 12.”

Fisher is glad her passion for Ag in the Classroom can benefit not only her high school ag students, but younger students as well. “It’s exciting to see the FFA kids take ownership in this program and help it grow,” she said.

Bormann agrees. “I feel fortunate to collaborate with the FFA students and Farmer Fred. I’m very grateful to Ms. Fisher for her creative vision and her willingness to help my students learn about agriculture.”

GRAINS-Corn touches one-month low, soy slips on bird flu concern

U.S. corn drops for third day, hovers near one-month low

* Concern U.S. bird flu outbreak to cut feed demand

* Wheat slips as short-covering support fades

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, April 22 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures touched a one-month low on Wednesday and soybeans dropped on concern that a bird flu outbreak in the United States may cut feed demand, as forecasts for favorable U.S. planting weather in coming weeks also weighed on prices.

Wheat was slightly lower as early short covering support faded in light trading.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn fell 1/4 cent to $3.72-3/4 a bushel by 12:25 p.m. CDT (11725 GMT) after earlier hitting a low of $3.69-1/4, the lowest since March 18.

May soybeans shed 1-1/4 cents to $9.74 a bushel in a second straight session of declines. CBOT May wheat was a penny lower at $4.99-3/4 a bushel.

U.S. Midwest weather was cooler than normal but largely free of precipitation on Wednesday. Recent rains recharged soils with moisture but have delayed early planting progress.

“The rains have been a great benefit to the dry soils that are starting to get built back up so there’s really not much as far as drought in the heart of the corn belt,” said Karl Setzer, analyst with MaxYield Cooperative.

Read the rest of this Reuter’s commentary, click here.

Taylor Kluver Awarded Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Taylor Kluver 2015MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Taylor Kluver is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Lynn and DeEtta Kluver of Garner. She was a 2012 graduate of Garner-Hayfield/Ventura High School.

Kluver attends Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Agricultural Studies and minoring in Agronomy.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

 

 

 

Joe Roberts Awarded Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Joe Roberts 2015MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Joe Roberts is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

He is the son of Carl and Carol Roberts of Belmond. He will be a 2015 graduate of Belmond-Klemme High School.

Roberts will attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Agronomy and minor in Seed Science.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

 

 

 

Brianne Bier Awarded Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Brianne BierMaxYield Cooperative announced today that Brianne Bier is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Lloyd and Jan Bier of Garner. She was a 2014 graduate of Garner-Hayfield/Ventura High School.

Beir attends Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Agronomy.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Don Haverman Looks Back on 44 Years

Don Haverman, shown with his wife Mona, reflects on his 44 years at MaxYield.

Don Haverman, shown with his wife Mona at his retirement coffee this winter, reflects on his 44 years at MaxYield.

Editor’s note: As MaxYield Cooperative celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, we’ll be sharing a variety of stories throughout the year that honor the people and events that have shaped MaxYield into the thriving cooperative it is today.

Don Haverman, construction and equipment coordinator, recently retired from a 44-year career at MaxYield, he shared his remarkable story with us.

I grew up on a farm in Carroll County, along with my parents and eight brothers and sisters. My parents owned 360 acres, rented an additional 160 – 200 acres, and raised hogs, beef, lambs, stock cows, broiler chickens, laying pullets, and 15-35 dairy cows. When that wasn’t enough work to keep us all busy, my parents saw that we were hired out to neighbors, doing custom corn shelling, hay baling, and other chores as needed.

After I graduated from high school in 1970, my older brothers were returning home from the service and were first in line to farm, so Dad advised me to get an education or find work away from the family farm.

Since I always loved farming, I wanted to do something related to agriculture. Some of my greatest childhood memories involved trips to the local Halbur Cooperative for our farm supply needs. I recall thinking how cool it would be to work with grain, feed, and fertilizer someday.

Living the dream
I enrolled at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge in the grain elevator and farm supply management program. After I graduated in July of 1971, I recalled the words of one of my favorite college professors, who said, “Choose a profession you love, and you will never work a day of your life.”

In mid-August, I received a call from the West Bend Elevator at Rodman about operating and managing a recently constructed, 270,000-bushel concrete grain elevator and assisting with the fertilizer plant operations. Darrell Herscher, location manager, gave me a tour and introduced me to Butch Wilderman, assistant manager, and Fred McKim, general manager. That day they offered me a full-time job starting at $1.60 per hour plus overtime. I was thrilled!

I started work on Monday, Aug. 24, 1971, and helped with grain, feed, and fertilizer. I was at the perfect location, and the days went by fast. I recall thinking, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this. I’d do this for free.”

After working for West Bend Elevator at Rodman for a short while, I met a local gal from the Rodman area, Mona Bruellman, and married her on Dec. 15, 1973. Suddenly the reality of working to build a home and raising a family became very real to me. In January 1974, I gave my two weeks’ notice, since my wife and I were both seeking work opportunities in Illinois. Mona was a licensed lab technician and could transfer to any hospital.

How can I possibly do this?
Soon after giving notice that day, Butch Wilderman called and asked me to visit with him in West Bend. He explained the company’s need for an operations manager, since the previous manager, Tim Klien, had passed away in early December. This job was far greater than any I had ever dreamed of, and I was filled with excitement and gratitude of such an offer.

At that time, West Bend Elevator had a soybean processing plant that operated around the clock, 365 days a year, along with a feed mill, grain elevator, maintenance shop, TBA station, fuel depot, fertilizer business, local coal sales, and two satellite locations at Mallard and Rodman. The West Bend location alone was huge. I recall thinking, “I’m only 21. I’ll be supervising employees much older and more experienced than me. How can I possibly do this?”

Butch must have sensed this and calmly said, “Don, walk and talk softly, but carry a big stick.” I agreed to give this a year to see if I was the right man for the job. It was an overwhelming amount of responsibility. I worked many late hours. As I honed my skills and tried to learn every aspect of the company, I lived in fear of failure. I pressed on, however, and worked side by side with many employees to gain their respect and trust.

This never was the same company
Through the years, I watched West Bend Elevator grow by acquiring more local coops and other ag business to stay competitive and meet members’ needs. I’ve often been asked what motivated me to stay at the same company so long. The answer is simple. It never was the same company as the business evolved and expanded.

When I started, there were two satellite locations (Rodman and Mallard), 19 to 22 full-time employees, eight part-time employees, and annual sales of $15 to $17 million. Today MaxYield has 160 fulltime team members, many seasonal team members, and annual sales soaring to
$300 to $400 million.

This company has always been progressive. In the early 1970s, West Bend Elevator became one of the first cooperatives to ship 54-car trains, later moving to 75-car trains, which are now
110-car trains. During this time, West Bend Elevator also became one of the first ag cooperatives to operate multiple locations jointly as one company now known as MaxYield.

Thanks for the memories
In my role as MaxYield’s construction and equipment coordinator, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to oversee many building and repair projects for grain receiving facilities, grain storage, fertilizer plants, rail sidings, and more to better serve our clients. It has been an honor and a joy to serve one of best cooperatives in Iowa.

It’s now time for a younger generation to help MaxYield see more in your fields. This is not just a slogan; it’s a promise that is lived every day by MaxYield’s exceptional team, management, and board of directors.

I’d like to thank all the team members, managers, and board members I’ve worked with through the years. Most of all, I’d like to thank you, our clients. Serving you at MaxYield has been a wonderful experience I will never forget.

Editor’s note: Don and his wife, Mona, look forward to spending more time with their three grown children and nine amazing grandchildren.

Leveling the Playing Field: MaxYield Forms New Grower Learning Group

Dan Goemaat, left, discusses weed control strategies with Cody Ostendorf.

Dan Goemaat, left, discusses weed control strategies with Cody Ostendorf.

The boom times that transformed agriculture in the past few years encouraged many young adults to return home and farm. Many of these new farmers are finding out how steep the learning curve can be, however, especially with technology changing so fast.

“We’ve found that there are a lot of agronomic principles, new products, and technology that many farmers need to brush up on,” said Amanda Pederson, a MaxYield Cooperative agronomy specialist based in Algona. “We wanted to provide a solution.”

That’s why MaxYield created the New Grower Learning Group in June 2014. Growers throughout MaxYield’s trade territory with five or fewer years of farming experience are invited to attend. “We want to give them useful information and help level the playing field,” said Pederson, who coordinates the group’s quarterly meetings with Greg Sweeney, MaxYield’s seed team leader, and Cody Ostendorf, a MaxYield agronomy specialist.

In January, the New Grower Learning Group met in West Bend at MaxYield’s new Tires and Auto Service Center. Growers learned about in-season fertilizer options and side-dressing, crop protection strategies, and the importance of rotating modes of action to manage resistance. MaxYield CEO Keith Heim also detailed the benefits of cooperative membership.

In September, 30 growers met at the Britt Answer Plot®, where MaxYield team members challenged some myths regarding soil sampling, variable-rate technology, and other agronomy topics. Pederson was glad to see fathers attend with sons. “These sessions are something they can attend together, and discover new solutions for their farms.”

Becoming better stewards of the land
There is no fee to attend the meetings of the New Grower Learning Group, which are held in the early evening, usually last about an hour and a half, and include dinner. There are no sales pitches or pressure to do business with MaxYield. “We want to offer an open forum where people can network, learn, and open the lines of communication,” Pederson said.

Dan and Sara Goemaat of Belmond appreciate this opportunity. “While we’re the new kids on the block, it’s good to know we’re not the only ones,” Dan Goemaat said. “I like the informal setting where we get a refresher course in agronomy basics and learn from each other.”

The topics are timely, Sara Goemaat added. “When we talked about modes of action and herbicide resistance, it’s clear that the choices you make have a lasting impact. We want to use these technologies wisely and preserve their effectiveness.”

Pederson hopes to create New Grower Learning Groups in each of MaxYield’s three regions and reach out to more young farmers like the Goemaats. “Our goal is to help farmers have the best tools to be sustainable for the long-term and to be more profitable,” she said.

For more information on the New Grower Learning Group, contact Pederson at 712-260-1856.

McCaully Johanson Awarded Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

McCaully JohnansonMaxYield Cooperative announced today that McCaully Johanson is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

He is the son of Grant and Joan Johanson of Britt.

He will be a 2015 graduate of West Hancock High School. Johanson will attend North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA, majoring in Agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.

Amanda Anderson Awarded Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Amanda Anderson 2015MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Amanda Anderson is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Matt and Dini Anderson of Algona. She will be a 2015 graduate of Algona High School.

Anderson plans to attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Ag Business and Animal Science.

MaxYield Cooperative annually makes scholarships available to graduating high school seniors and college students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

MaxYield Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in West Bend, IA.

More information about the cooperative can be found at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.