January 25, 2021

Archives for February 2016

Farmer to Farmer: Fostoria’s Paul Anderson Provides Grain Solutions

20120927_farmers_007 (1024x681)It’s no secret that grain marketing tends to be one of a farmers’ least favorite tasks. Paul Anderson understands the challenges of grain marketing, since he farmed for years before joining MaxYield Cooperative.

“I know what growers are going through and what they need,” said Anderson, who has served as the grain team leader at MaxYield’s Fostoria location since 2012. “I also realize that most clients would rather produce a crop than market it. We can help.”

Anderson knows agriculture from the ground up, since he farmed with his father and brother for a number of years and worked at the co-op in Ringsted from 1978 to 1987 following his graduation from Ringsted High School. After working at a large cattle feedlot in the Milford area for 15 years, he joined MaxYield part-time in 2009. He helped with a little bit of everything at the Fostoria location, from unloading grain to earning his commercial applicators’ license so he could apply 32% UAN fertilizer in the spring of 2010.

The job was such a good fit for Anderson that he joined the MaxYield team full-time in October 2010. He credits Dustie Millsap, Fostoria’s client care leader, with helping him learn the skills needed to become a grain solutions provider for MaxYield’s West Area. “The team is everything,” Anderson said. “We work together to find the answers our clients need.”

Making grain marketing easier
These solutions include updating clients on the markets, informing them about MaxYield’s grain policies, assessing different marketing strategies, answering phone calls, working with clients who stop by the Fostoria location, dispatching trucks for on-farm grain pickup, and more. The diversity of the work is a plus for Anderson.

“We serve the whole gamut, from clients who know how they want to market their own grain, all the way to those who would rather have someone do it for them,” Anderson said. “Also, some people are willing to sell grain two years ahead, and others don’t sell it until they have the grain in hand. We tailor marketing solutions to each client’s specific needs.”

Buying grain is a fun part of the job, Anderson added. “Our upgraded facilities have helped a lot. The Fostoria location has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to tremendous support from clients in the area.”

Anderson looks forward to building relationships with more MaxYield clients to help them find the right marketing tools to maximize their profit potential. “Our team understands local agriculture and can provide the solutions you need.”

Editor’s note: When Anderson has time off from work, this avid hunter and fisherman enjoys watching NASCAR races. During the past eight years he has traveled to various racetracks, including the Texas Motor Speedway, to watch his favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., compete. Paul and his wife, Shannon, a sales professional at Pure Fishing in Spirit Lake, also spend time with their family, which includes Paul’s three grown children (Joe, Jared, and Jessi) and the Anderson’s daughters Cassie, who is a junior in college, and Adreanna, who is a junior in high school.

MaxYield Decreases 4-H Fees in Clay County

Jo Engel, County Youth Program Coordinator (left) and Amy Forrette, County Associate Director Youth Programming, accept MaxYield's contribution to decrease 4-H membership fees.

Jo Engel, County Youth Program Coordinator (left) and Amy Forrette, County Associate Director Youth Programming, accept MaxYield’s contribution to decrease 4-H membership fees.

MaxYield Cooperative presented Clay County Extension and Outreach with a contribution aimed at decreasing the cost of enrollment in 4-H youth programs.

“We are continuing our support of local 4-H and our commitment to our youth,” said Chad Meyer, MaxYield Client Relations Director. “Recently, we presented a contribution for $10.00 per 4-H member in order to decrease the cost of 4-H membership.”

Meyer said the cooperative has two goals in providing the program. “First, we want to make 4-H an affordable youth program for local families, especially families that have multiple children enrolled. Secondly, by paying a portion of each 4-H member’s enrollment fee, we are able to continue our mission in supporting 4-H so that each member benefits.”

The cooperative contributed nearly $2700 to Clay County Extension and Outreach and will contribute more than $18,000 to 4-H in seven Iowa counties annually.

“We believe that 4-H is one of the cornerstones in developing youth and 4-H provides an excellent foundation to build strong families. 4-H also provides a great way for young people to learn more about agriculture and its exciting future,” commented Meyer.

MaxYield Cooperative is a local farmer-owned cooperative serving members and clients in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. Founded in 1915, MaxYield Cooperative is headquartered in West Bend, Iowa. More information about the cooperative can be found online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com.




ISU, North Central Iowa Research Association Sponsor Educational Meeting

Event Flyer 2016
Wesley, Iowa –New products for waterhemp management, an update on corn rootworm management and a grain market outlook will highlight the annual meeting of the North Central Iowa Research Association at the Iowa State University Northern Research Farm.

The annual meeting of the North Central Iowa Research Association and educational program of the ISU Northern Research Farm is open to the public, and will take place on Mar. 10 at the Wesley Community Center, located at 204 West Main, Wesley, Iowa 50483. Registration and refreshments will be at 9 a.m. The meeting will start a 9:30 a.m. and adjourn at 2 p.m.

There is no cost to attend. Those interested in attending are encouraged to pre-register by Mar. 6 to plan for meal numbers and handout materials. Please call the ISU Extension and Outreach Kossuth County office at 515-295-2469 or the ISU Extension and Outreach Hancock County office at 641-923-2856 to register.

Dennis Schwab, North Central Iowa Research Association president, will begin the morning program. Schwab will update attendees on recent activities of the association. The association is the owner of the research farm at Kanawha and advises ISU on research priorities.

Matthew Schnabel, ISU Northern Research Farm superintendent, will provide a season review from the Northern Research Farm at Kanawha. Karl Nicolaus, ISU Northern Research Farm Ag specialist, will discuss results from the On-Farm Cooperator Trials and the involvement of local farmers. Reports that summarize current research projects at the farm will be available.

Bob Hartzler, weed specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will discuss waterhemp management, new herbicide technology, and strategies that may decrease resistant weed development in the future.

Erin Hodgson, entomology specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will discuss corn rootworm management, issues with trait resistance and other potential insect problems in 2016.

Angie Rieck-Hinz and Paul Kassel, ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists will discuss current research projects at the research farm at Kanawha. Topics will include results of long-term tillage trials and soil fertility research.

Kelvin Leibold, ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist, will provide an outlook for grain markets in 2015 and discuss crop insurance decisions.

MaxYield Cooperative and others will sponsor the lunch.

Operation LZ: It’s Never Too Late to Thank a Veteran

Veteran viewing the wall-X3For many Vietnam-era veterans, coming home to America was as bitter as the cups of coffee thrown in some veterans’ faces. For decades, many of these veterans rarely—or never—discussed their military experiences, not even with their families.

It troubled Riley Lewis, a Forest City-area farmer who had been interviewing local veterans and sharing their stories on KIOW Radio during his free time. “America sent these men and women to war, but America wasn’t there for them when they returned. It was time to honor their service.”

Lewis, who lost four high school classmates in the Vietnam War, began asking Vietnam-era veterans for their input. While they didn’t want a parade or a large banquet, they liked the idea of a gathering where they could bring their families.

In the winter of 2014, Lewis and a committee of 20 other volunteers, including 16 veterans, began planning what would become Operation LZ. The Vietnam-era vets/welcome home event took its name from the landing zones (LZ) in Vietnam, where much of the war was fought.

“Little by little, things came together,” said Lewis, who met with the Operation LZ committee every two weeks for 18 months.

There was nothing little about Operation LZ by the time the free event took place from Aug. 27-30, 2015. Held at the Forest City Airport, Heritage Park, and the Winnebago Rally Grounds, it attracted approximately 18,000 people on Saturday, Aug. 29, and 6,000 people on Sunday, Aug. 30. “We wanted the veterans’ children and grandchildren to know that these veterans served honorably and did their job well,” Lewis said. “It was remarkable to see families come together and honor their loved ones.”

8292015_ 679-X3Bringing the generations together
Operation LZ featured a wide array of activities, including:
• Education days with area students. On Aug. 27-28, approximately 1,900 high school and middle school students from 10 local school districts had the chance to visit with Vietnam-era veterans. “They wanted to know why the Vietnam veterans were treated so poorly when they returned home,” Lewis said. “Also, the coach of the Mason City High School football team wanted his players to hear from the veterans what teamwork is all about.”
• Huey and Cobra helicopter rides. “There was always a line of people waiting for rides,” said Lewis, who noted that the helicopters flew up to Iowa from Georgia. “We hauled 930 people during these free rides.”

• Distinguished guest speakers. The speakers included Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Navy Lt. Commander Larry Spencer, an Iowa native who spent seven years as a prisoner in the “Hanoi Hilton,” and retired Lt. General Dennis Hejlik, a Garner native who served with the U.S. Marines Corps. “Today’s U.S. military is highly trained, highly equipped, and all volunteer,” said Hejlik, who credits his youth on his family’s farm for teaching him responsibility and accountability. “America has this remarkable military because of the legacy of the Vietnam-era veterans.”

_DSC8411 copy-X2• Presentation of commemorative medals. As Hejlik presented the medals to each Vietnam-era veteran who attended Operation LZ, he thanked them for their service and welcomed them home. “I had a homecoming when I returned from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon,” said Hejlik, who completed five combat tours during his 44-year military career. “Since the Vietnam-era veterans didn’t receive this kind of homecoming, Operation LZ was a very humbling, emotional event for many families.”

These families and veterans came from all over the Midwest and beyond to enjoy the Private Malone Car Show, air show, hot air balloon rides, display of the Vietnam Traveling Wall Memorial, pancake breakfasts, food vendors, patriotic live music, and many other activities.

“We intended to focus on nine counties in our area when we started planning,” Lewis said. “As word of Operation LZ spread, however, we got calls from Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Kansas City, and other communities. We didn’t want to turn these veterans down.”

As the scope of the event grew, so did the influx of donations. “We raised $260,000,” said Lewis, who noted that contributions ranged from $5 to $30,000. “We appreciate the generous support of local organizations like MaxYield Cooperative, which play such vital roles in our local communities.”

Based on the success of Operation LZ, Lewis and his fellow volunteers are already thinking about hosting a “Super LZ” event in 2017. In the meantime, Lewis knows there are still many opportunities to honor those who served. “It’s never too late to thank a veteran, especially a Vietnam veteran.” N

Remembering the Vietnam War
• 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
• More than 3 million young men and women were called to fight for America in Southeast Asia.
• During the war, 58,286 Americans were killed, while 153,303 were wounded.

Town Girl Turned Farm Girl: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Melanie Elbert

20151015_maxyield_463 (1024x681)While Melanie Elbert never envisioned a career in agriculture, she knew she’d found the right fit when she accepted a job offer from MaxYield Cooperative on her birthday, March 14, this year.

“I always thought the ideal job for me would be a place where I could apply my skills and wear jeans all day,” said Elbert, who became client care leader at MaxYield’s Whittemore location on April 1. “I feel right at home at MaxYield.”

Although she didn’t grow up on a farm, this northwest Iowa native has quickly adapted to her new role and is handling even the biggest challenges like a pro. “MaxYield’s team members are so helpful and are good at answering my questions,” Elbert said. “At first I was nervous about harvest, but now I’m ready to rock.”

Here are five things you might not know about Elbert, who is becoming known around MaxYield for her friendly smile and tasty, home-cooked treats.
1. Listening is one of Elbert’s many skills. After earning her administrative assistant degree from Iowa Lakes Community College in 2008, Elbert worked as a service advisor at Motor Inn in Algona for four and a half years. She handled everything from warranty work to scheduling appointments. “I learned how to work one-on-one with people, listen to their concerns, and help point them in the right direction,” Elbert said. “I also got to know a lot of MaxYield clients from my previous role, and it’s rewarding to help them in my new job.”

2. Elbert is right at home in the kitchen. Elbert grew up in Sioux Rapids in a family of six kids. Since her parents both worked outside the home, Elbert learned to do a fair share of cooking and household chores. Those culinary skills serve her well as a working mom. “I love to cook,” said Elbert, who bakes homemade pizza every Friday night and prepares many other homemade foods, including her own spaghetti sauce and chili sauce.

3. Teamwork is important to Elbert. Many of the ingredients for Elbert’s recipes are purchased in bulk or come fresh from the garden. “My husband, Matt, and his dad help a lot with our garden, while Matt’s mom helps me can tomatoes and freeze sweet corn,” said Elbert, who also prepared 30 one- quart bags of applesauce before harvest 2015 started. Help from her family (including her young son, Nolan), makes it easier to prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Elbert has five freezers, including an upright freezer, two chest freezers, and two refrigerator/freezers, to store a variety of homemade meals, including Swiss steak, tater-tot casserole, chili, stroganoff, beef and pork roasts, and more. Many of these freezer meals are prepared on Sunday afternoons, said Elbert, who enjoys bringing food to share at MaxYield every week or so. “It takes a good team to have a good working system like this,” she noted.

4. Healthy living is a must for Elbert. Home cooking became a lifestyle for Elbert after she experienced Para Partum Cardiomyopathy after her first pregnancy. “Your body takes on extra fluid, and your heart can’t keep up, which triggers high blood pressure,” said Elbert, whose second child is due in February. “That changed how I eat and how I cook.” Elbert’s cooking has also been influenced by her mother’s celiac disease. Now Elbert focuses on low-sodium meals and looks for ways to add more vegetables to the dishes she serves her family. She has also become a consultant for Wildtree, which offers herbs, spices, and culinary blends that work especially well for people with special dietary restrictions. “I’m always interested in finding new options for preparing healthy foods my family will enjoy,” she said.

5. Farm life has grown on Elbert. Although Elbert grew up in town, she has always been connected to agriculture. Since her mother oversaw hog production sites, Elbert power-washed swine barns when she was in high school. Since 2011, she has been married to her husband, Matt, who farms with his parents, Walt and Dar Elbert, and operates a wean-to-finish hog operation. The young couple is proud to raise their growing family on an acreage between Whittemore and Cylinder that will become a Century Farm in a few years. Living close to the land is important to Elbert, just as it is to many MaxYield clients. “Every day brings something new when you farm and work at a grain elevator,” Elbert said. “I love the variety of the work and also love the freedom of country living and its wide-open spaces.”

Roger Allen Retirement Coffee Feb. 26

A retirement coffee honoring Roger Allen for his 36 years of service to the cooperative system in Britt will be held Friday, February 26th from 1:30-3:00 pm.

The event will be held at MaxYield’s office in Britt. We hope to see you there!


MaxYield Cooperative Announces $1000 Agriculture Scholarships

REMINDER::>> Applications for MaxYield’s ag scholarship program are (postmarked) by March 1, 2016.

MaxYield Cooperative announced today details of their scholarship program for area college students and graduating high school seniors. MaxYield will once again offer up to six $1000 scholarships to students who are in pursuit of a degree in agriculture.

“The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage area youth to pursue and prepare for careers in agriculture. This program is designed to provide financial assistance for students pursuing higher education in the field of agriculture,” stated Chad Meyer, Client Relations Director for MaxYield.

Applications are available at area high schools, local community colleges, and any MaxYield Cooperative location. As a part of the application process, students must submit an essay entitled “Why I selected agriculture as my career.”

Meyer continued, “Often, MaxYield is the largest employer in many of our communities. We feel we have an obligation to provide opportunities for our children to return to our local communities. This is one avenue by which we can support that goal.”

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2016.

MaxYield Cooperative serves nearly 2000 members in 14 communities, with about 160 employees. For additional information on the MaxYield scholarship program, contact any MaxYield location.

Scholarship applications are also available online at www.MaxYieldCooperative.com/scholarships.

Veterinary Feed Directive Meeting – Rescheduled

MaxYield Feed

Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) meeting has been rescheduled to:

Friday February 12th
11:30 am
@ Mat’s Place, Garner, IA
Please RSVP ASAP to Eric Malek
Office 641-923-2695
Cell 515-341-1230

Announcing upcoming Women in Ag programs through ISU Extension and Outreach

FarmHer event flyer

Farm women have always been an integral part of any farm operation. But the numbers show that the role of women in farming continues to grow in Iowa.

The most recent USDA Census of Agriculture shows that nearly one-quarter of Iowa’s farm operators are women. That’s nearly 33,000 women. And even more women are involved in related agribusiness operations.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has organized a program for women in agriculture to foster networking and learning opportunities.

We are excited to announce that the third Rural Women of North Iowa event will be held on February 22, from 6-8 pm at Iowa Lakes Community College Cafeteria in Emmetsburg. The speaker for this event is Marji Guyler-Alaniz who will be sharing photos of female farmers which is now her passion-FarmHer. Setting out to change the perception of women in agriculture, Marji has created FarmHer images with women sharing their agricultural stories through her photography.

The fee for this program is $15 per participant which includes a meal. Participants are encouraged to register by February 16 by calling the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Emmet County at (712) 362-3434 or email Britney Rosburg, Emmet County Program Educator at britneyr@iastate.edu.



Putting Seed Treatments to the Test

IMG_1465You never know whether sudden death syndrome (SDS) will develop in a given season and affect your soybean yields. When SDS blew up a couple years ago in Manuel Gerber’s fields near West Bend, he wasn’t sure what to do.

“It usually comes on late in the season, and I wasn’t sure how much it was affecting yield,” said Gerber, who farms northeast of town.

He discussed the situation with Dan Stokes, a MaxYield seed solutions specialist. The pair decided that a split application with ILeVO®, a seed treatment designed for SDS that also provides root-zone protection against soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), might be worth a try this spring. They also analyzed the best soybean varieties to plant on Gerber’s acres.

“I like to try new things, so we did half the planter with ILeVO-treated seed and half without,” said Gerber, who also planted the toughest SDS-defense seed genetics as step one.

Gerber felt comfortable with his decision until the emerging soybean cotyledons showed a telltale pinkish/reddish halo. “They looked like they’d been dinged with a chemical, but they came out of it,” he noted. Stokes also reassured him that this halo effect is common at that growth stage with ILeVO.

Throughout the 2015 growing season, it was hard to see much difference between the rows with the treated seeds and those without—until the soybeans started turning color in early September. “The areas with SDS stood out dramatically,” Gerber said. “As the plants started dropping leaves, the whole field was striped like a zebra.”

While the visuals were impressive, Gerber had a bigger question on his mind. How would the treated areas yield? He brought in a weigh wagon late in September to test 20-row strips.

“What blew my mind was that no matter where we took the tests, the areas treated with ILeVO consistently yielded at least 3.5 bushels per acre better than the untreated areas,” Gerber said. “The return on investment was good.”

“We have to prove it to ourselves”
Determining the return on investment is also important to MaxYield, said Stokes, who conducted a number of ILeVO trials in 2015. He and other members of the MaxYield Seed team also tested a variety of other seed treatments, inoculants, insecticides, and fungicides to see which ones offer the most bang for the buck.

“We have a lot of trials out this year and should get some good data,” Stokes said. “Before we recommend a product we want to prove it to ourselves first.”

The team has been evaluating seed treatments to help control SDS, which has cropped up in the area three of the last four years. “Last year the yield monitor dropped about 8 to 10 bushels in spots where SDS occurred,” Stokes said. “We’re trying to figure out if just focusing on SDS for a treatment is worth the cost of treatment.”

Since it occurs late in the season, growers often don’t realize how widespread SDS can be. “From the road you typically can’t see a lot, but when you send up a UAV to take aerial pictures, the situation is clear,” Stokes said. “Clients say, ‘Gosh, I didn’t know my field looked that rough.’”

For Stokes, the bigger issue is how a seed treatment for SDS might also help growers win the battle against SCN. “If it gives us more bushels because it helps with nematodes, that’s what we’re really interested in.”

Keeping ahead of fast-changing technology
That’s why MaxYield continues to conduct trials each year with various seed treatments and inoculants. In 2014, for example, the team studied Clariva® vs. Votivo® trials to assess SCN protection, and chose Votivo because of the favorable results. MaxYield’s seed specialists are also studying whether some products can function as more than just a seed treatment or inoculant.

“Some of these products also help with the fertility,” Stokes said. “This can be important on the high pH ground in our area that contributes to poor nutrient utilization.”

One thing is clear—seed treatment technology continues to change fast. Not only has MaxYield invested in modern, state-of-the-art treaters at West Bend, Garner, and Spencer to provide more accurate coverage on each seed, but the team continues to put the latest seed treatment technology to the test.

“If there’s something that can bump your yield potential, we want to make it available to you,” Stokes said.

Gerber appreciates this support and values MaxYield’s recommendations as he plans ahead for 2016. “I think I’ll pick out a field where we have some disease issues and give some of these newer seed treatments a whirl again,” he said.