January 18, 2021

Archives for March 2016

Kim Dornbier Earns Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

20150616_maxyield_252 (681x1024)MaxYield Cooperative announced today that Kimberly Dornbier is the recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

She is the daughter of Phil and Michelle Dornbier of Garner.

She is a 2013 graduate of Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School and attends Iowa State University in Ames, IA, majoring in Ag Business. Dornbier is a past ag scholarship recipient from MaxYield

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.

Tyler Harson Earns Ag Scholarship from MaxYield Cooperative

Tyler HarsonMaxYield Cooperative announced today that Tyler Harson is a recipient of the cooperative’s $1000 Ag Scholarship.

He is the son of Dennis and Jill Harson of Emmetsburg.

He will be a 2016 graduate of Emmetsburg High School and plans to attend Iowa Lakes Community College, majoring in Ag Business and Farm Operations.

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.



Turning Setbacks Into Comebacks: Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Inducts Joe Anniss Into Hall of Fame

Joe and Bev Anniss.

Joe and Bev Anniss.

There had to be an easier job. When Joe Anniss became the general manager of the West Bend Elevator Company (WBEC) in 1998, the situation he inherited could only be described as disastrous.

“The co-op was broke, both figuratively and financially,” said Bob Burkhardt, then MaxYield’s CFO who retired from the cooperative several years ago.

The co-op had negative retained savings. The hedge-to-arrive (HTA) debacle of the mid-1990s was still not settled. WBEC’s relationships with lenders and suppliers were shaky at best. Employee morale was dismal. Member-owners had lost confidence in their cooperative.

It was a devastating time for an Iowa cooperative with such a rich history. After all, WBEC had been founded in 1915 and was one of the first cooperatives in Iowa. It boasted one of the first cooperative soybean processing plants in Iowa, plus it was an innovator in unit train shipping. (Remember those pink grain hopper cars?)

Undaunted, Anniss viewed all this as a challenge and wanted to take it on as the final chapter in his cooperative career. “From the moment I met Joe, I wanted to be part of his team,” Burkhardt said. “Why? I knew Joe was the right person to turn WBEC around.”

Leading a quiet revolution

Turn it around he did. Anniss transformed a cooperative that was on the brink of collapse into a thriving, vibrant organization. In honor of his remarkable leadership, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives inducted Anniss into its prestigious Hall of Fame in November 2015.

“If you don’t have cooperatives, you don’t have anything,” said Anniss, who was humbled and honored to be named to the Hall of Fame. “While the model has changed through the years, the original mission behind the cooperative system is as valuable today as it was in the beginning.”

Saying that Anniss’ first few years at WBEC were tough is an understatement. Unpopular decisions about personnel and facilities had to be made. “Change is hard for people,” Burkhardt said. “Joe often made the comment that the only folks who like change are babies with wet diapers.”

The changes started to pay off, however. Anniss worked with legal counsel to bring the HTA issues to an acceptable conclusion. He regained CoBank’s support and financial backing. Sales increased. Local savings again became a reality. Retained earnings grew.

A quiet revolution was also taking hold with the co-op’s culture. Employees became team members. Customers became clients. The co-op stopped “selling stuff” and began focusing on providing solutions. As WBEC regained a sense of purpose and direction, the organization became
MaxYield Cooperative.

“Joe’s positive attitude and tireless effort left little doubt that together we could make this company something special,” said Chad Meyer, MaxYield’s client relations/communications team leader.

20131010_maxyield_465 compGrowing for the future

This win/win attitude positioned MaxYield for future growth. In the late 1990s, regional cooperatives still owned and operated local grain and agronomy facilities in the area. Anniss and his team worked with the regionals to get these facilities back under local ownership through innovative financing and partnership agreements, preserving the local cooperative presence in their communities.

Anniss also led the cooperative through a unification with Fostoria Cooperative Elevator and Farmers Cooperative Company of Britt. In addition, he guided the company through a lease-purchase of facilities in Belmond and Clarion and the purchase of facilities in Garner, Klemme and Meservey. In each case, the cooperative was able to either preserve cooperative markets or introduce cooperative principles in the case of Belmond.

During this time, some ag leaders feared the emerging ethanol industry in northern Iowa would mark the end of local co-ops. Not so, Anniss said. “Ethanol was going to be a good thing for our producer members. I wanted to work with the ethanol plants, not against them, by investing in cooperative plants and helping them and MaxYield succeed by developing innovative grain origination agreements.”

Through Anniss’ leadership, MaxYield Cooperative built its financial strength, growing sales from
$94 million in 1998 to $179 million in 2007. Retained savings for the cooperative rose from $1.1 million to $8 million during the same period.

“When Joe began his tenure here in 1998, this cooperative was at a critical juncture,” said Howard Haas, chairman of MaxYield’s board of directors. “Joe not only helped us survive a very tumultuous period, but thrive. Thanks to his leadership, the cooperative created and executed a plan that brought stability, growth and an ambitious vision for the future.”

Anniss’ legacy lives on

Part of this vision included precision ag technology. “While some people thought this was just a new fad, Joe helped MaxYield become one of the first co-ops to recognize this pioneering approach to production agriculture, years before many other cooperatives got involved,” Burkhardt said.

While Anniss retired in 2007, his legacy endures. “Joe’s vision for MaxYield helped us create
a true ‘client-first’ culture,” Haas said. “While many cooperatives are just now recognizing this importance, MaxYield embraced those values years ago.”

Anniss is grateful that CEO Keith Heim and MaxYield team members have embraced those values. He also appreciates clients’ strong support for MaxYield. “It’s vital to carry on the values of the cooperative system,” said Anniss, who learned the value of the cooperative system while growing upon his family’s farm in southeast Illinois. “Where would we be without the cooperative system? Farmers would be facing a whole different scenario, without a doubt.”

Iowa’s rich cooperative heritage and modern cooperative community are a tribute to dynamic, visionary leaders like Anniss, said Dave Holm, executive director of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. “Our Hall of Fame represents a select group of people who’ve promoted the cooperative system. Joe not only worked throughout the United States developing cooperatives, but he helped create the remarkable culture that has become MaxYield.” Those who served with Anniss are forever grateful for what he did to position MaxYield for the future, Burkhardt said. “MaxYield wouldn’t be what it is today without Joe’s dedication and passion.”

Here’s to New Beginnings! Sweeney Named MaxYield Seed, Agronomy and SciMax Team Leader

20151015_maxyield_360 (681x1024)The seed for new beginnings has been planted at MaxYield Cooperative. Greg Sweeney has been named seed, agronomy, and SciMax Solutions® team leader, effective Dec. 31, 2016. Sweeney will assume the position held by Larry Arndt, who recently announced plans to retire from MaxYield in December 2016.

“MaxYield is grateful for Larry’s leadership and dedication to our cooperative during his 12-year tenure here,” said Keith Heim, MaxYield’s CEO. “During Larry’s time at MaxYield, we have moved forward as a solutions-based agronomy company focused on seed, precision agriculture, and data and information management. We’ve also achieved steady growth in our seed and agronomy business.”

A complete search was conducted to find MaxYield’s next seed, agronomy, and SciMax Solutions team leader. Sweeney was the right fit, Heim said. “It’s an extra pleasure to promote a talented team member internally. I look forward to working closely with Greg in this role.”

Sweeney, who has been with MaxYield for 13 years, most recently served as MaxYield’s seed team leader. Before that, he was a seed solutions specialist in MaxYield’s eastern territory and an agronomy specialist in the cooperative’s Emmetsburg area.

Arndt and Sweeney will work together over the next year to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. “This will benefit MaxYield and our clients, since so many things in the agronomy calendar happen across the span of a year,” said Heim, who added that MaxYield is re-evaluating the structure of the seed and agronomy divisions.

In his new role, Sweeney will be responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for MaxYield Seed/Agronomy plus SciMax Solutions and GE-Max Nutrients LLC. Sweeney will also be responsible for product purchasing, pricing, inventory management, and the education and development of the seed and agronomy sales teams.

“We’re excited to have Greg step up into this new position,” Heim said. “He will spend each day finding ways to elevate our seed, agronomy, and SciMax business units and help us achieve our goals of increased market share.”

Sweeney looks forward to the challenge. “We have a great team to work with on a daily basis,” he said. “The great thing about working in ag is that it’s never dull. Every year is different, every day is different.”

Sweeney can speak from experience, since he remembers when corn was $2 a bushel, soybeans were $7 a bushel, and producers were focused on loan deficiency payments (LDPs). As he transitions to his new role, Sweeney will emphasize two key areas. “The first is fundamentals, from what we do on a daily basis to what we recommend to our clients,” Sweeney said. “We need to carefully evaluate and make sure the economics are there for our clients to implement the solutions we recommend.”

The second key to success? Focusing on new products and technologies to boost yields and profitability. “Growing more with less is a motto we’ve had for a number of years, and I don’t see that changing, especially with the current political and regulatory landscape,” Sweeney said. “MaxYield’s team will continue to improve and implement new practices to help our clients succeed.”

Editor’s note: Sweeney is a 2002 graduate of Iowa State University, where he earned his degree in agronomy. He lives near Kanawha with his wife, Heather, and two sons, Owen, 9, and Caleb, 6.

Arndt Reflects on MaxYield’s “Seed-First” Solutions Focus

20151015_maxyield_367 (681x1024)When Larry Arndt started calling on MaxYield more than a decade ago to market his information company AgKnowledge, he could tell that there was something new and exciting happening here.

“It wasn’t the old West Bend Co-op any longer,” said Arndt, who joined the MaxYield team in May 2004. “MaxYield was becoming a solutions company, not just another provider of ‘stuff.’”

Since then, Arndt has played a key role in shaping the future of MaxYield’s seed and agronomy divisions, as well as SciMax Solutions. Now, as he approaches retirement and helps Greg Sweeney transition into the role of seed, agronomy, and SciMax Solutions team leader, Arndt looks back on how far MaxYield and SciMax have come in the past 12 years.

Q: How has MaxYield become a solutions provider during the time you’ve spent with MaxYield?
A: When I joined MaxYield, Joe Anniss, the general manager, could see the value of information management and what it could do for MaxYield clients. After a year of research, we named the MaxYield information company SciMax Solutions and began adding members to the top-notch SciMax team.

Also, in my first year at MaxYield we had the opportunity to work with Gold-Eagle Cooperative to create a very successful enterprise called GE-Max Nutrients LLC. GE-Max has set the standard for using the best agronomic principles to spread organic poultry nutrients on clients’ farms and improve soil fertility.

With SciMax Solutions, GE-Max, and a great agronomy team, MaxYield transitioned into a solutions provider. We’ve also achieved steady growth in our seed business.

Q: What do you appreciate about Greg and the skills he’ll bring to his new role?
A: Greg and I have worked together since I joined MaxYield, and I’m proud to have him as my successor. I value his leadership and great work ethic. Greg is also a talented agronomist who has taught me a lot about the seed business.

I’ve worked in the agronomy business more than 40 years and was trained that the fertilizer sale comes first. Greg taught me that by procuring the seed sale first, we can fully understand clients’ needs for their total crop production program. This “seed first” concept gives MaxYield a competitive advantage.

Q: How will the transition period between your retirement and Greg’s new role benefit clients?
A: The transition may seem long, but Keith Heim and I agreed that if we are going to do this right, it will take quality time. I procure all of the crop nutrients and crop protection products for MaxYield Seed. Our purchase agreements for agronomy inputs normally occur six to eight months before the products are applied to clients’ fields. We also need to keep a variety of products in storage so they’re available when clients need them. Managing this balancing act will be the hardest job to teach, because there are so many variables.

Q: What fun things do you plan to do in your retirement?
A: I’ve been in agriculture my whole life and plan to continue to work part time. My wife and best friend, Mary, and I will spend more time with our son, Ben, and his wife, Sara, and their family, as well as our daughter Sarah and her family.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: All of the MaxYield team members have been great to work with. I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful career and am really encouraged by the MaxYield culture we’ve created in the past 12 years.

Big Check Represents Big Coverage for Mike Horstmann

MaxYield energy solutions specialist Mark Collins (right) presents a check totaling $17,901 to Britt, Iowa’s Mike Horstmann to cover repairs on a Versatile® tractor covered under the Cenex® Total Protection Plan®.

MaxYield energy solutions specialist Mark Collins (right) presents a check totaling $17,901 to Britt, Iowa’s Mike Horstmann to cover repairs on a Versatile® tractor covered under the Cenex® Total Protection Plan®.

MaxYield recently delivered a big check to one of our clients. The 3-foot-long check was delivered to Mike Horstmann of Britt, Iowa, by Mark Collins, energy solutions specialist for MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa, along with Mike Crane of CHS. The oversized check represents the amount of money paid for a claim submitted under the Cenex Total Protection Plan® program.

Horstmann received $17,901 to cover repairs to a Versatile tractor covered under the Cenex Total Protection Plan, which extends beyond manufacturers’ warranties to provide valuable coverage to farmers who use Cenex premium diesel fuels and lubricants. It covers new equipment for up to 10 years or 10,000 hours and used equipment for up to 8 years or 8,000 hours, with no deductible.

Enrolling equipment in the Cenex Total Protection Plan was “the best thing we could have done for our business, (especially) since the market has downturned. I normally trade my equipment every two years. With the recent change in the market and economy, I have to run my equipment longer,” says Horstmann.

“I know Cenex products and their warranty provide the protection I need,” says Horstmann. “We have all our equipment on the program. We can’t afford not to.”

“If there ever was a no-brainer in agriculture, this is definitely it,” says Collins. “For the small amount of money you spend on the plan, compared to the high cost of today’s equipment and repairs, it’s very worthwhile protection for both new and used equipment. And as far as the quality of the products goes, there’s nothing better on the market, period.”

More information about Cenex lubricants and the Total Protection Plan is available at any MaxYield location or by contacting them online at www.MaxYieldEnergy.com.



Happy Birthday Loren!


This photo and caption was submitted by MaxYield’s Tom Winkel. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of a man who helped preserve our freedom and contributed significantly to Iowa agriculture.

I was fortunate enough to stop and say Happy Birthday to Loren Greiner at noon yesterday to celebrate 108 years (yes 108!!)

Loren was the guy that took soil cores from this part of the Country 60 years ago and his book is what I learned from.

Loren received a call from Tom Vilsack (U.S. Sec of Ag) just before I arrived telling him he was the oldest WWII vet in Iowa and the 3rd oldest in the U.S.

It’s guys like this that paved the way for the rest of us, and yes we can learn from those before us.


Happy birthday Loren!



MaxYield Seed IMCA Northern SportMod Nationals “Topless” in 2016

Nick Meyer, Whittemore, IA, was the 2015 SportMod Nationals winner. MaxYield's Matt Keel joins him in victory lane.

Nick Meyer, Whittemore, IA, was the 2015 SportMod Nationals winner. MaxYield’s Matt Keel joins him in victory lane.

$4000 possible to win, $200 to start

+++Updated to reflect improved race purse!

Officials with the Hancock County Speedway announced today that MaxYield Seed will once again be title sponsor of the annual IMCA Northern SportMod Nationals held at the Britt, IA track. The event will be presented on June 21st by Croplan, DeKalb/Asgrow and Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.

The speedway also announced that for the first time Northern SportMods will compete with the roofs and sail panels removed from the cars.

“We are pleased to have the support of MaxYield Seed and their partners for the SportMod Nationals,” said track promoter Joe Ringsdorf. “The fans are in for a treat with the event being ‘topless.’ Fans will be able to watch the drivers more closely, and the cars look awesome without the roofs on.”

Ringsdorf also stated that the race purse structure has been improved too. “The event in 2016 will pay $2500 guaranteed to win. Just like last year, the SportMod Nationals winner can collect $500 bonuses for racing at least six times at Britt, collecting a feature win, and for perfect attendance, making the top spot worth $4000 in possible prize money.

Race purse highlights include second earning $1200, third place paying $1000, fifth place worth $700, tenth place earns $500 and the event pays $200 to start. “The purse from the seventh position through last place has been increased over last year,” Ringsdorf added.

The winner of the DeKalb/Asgrow Dash, which determines the starting order of the top qualifiers, earns $200, while the Croplan by WinField Hard Charger Award nets $100 to the driver advancing the most positions from their original starting spot in the main event. Top finishers in the Latham Hi-Tech Seed Last Chance Qualifiers earn their way into the championship feature.

The main event will be 30 laps in length, with no scheduled pit stop at halfway, and starts 24 cars.

The 2016 edition of the IMCA Northern SportMod Nationals will take place Tuesday, June 21st.

Whittemore, Iowa’s Nick Meyer was last year’s winner of the event and the six-foot tall trophy.

Other past winners include Tim Donlinger – 2007, Nate Chodur – 2008, 2010, 2013, Adam Ackerman – 2009, Doug Smith – 2011, Matt Lettow – 2012, and Aaron Benson in 2014.

More information about the Hancock County Speedway and MaxYield Seed can be found at www.hcspeedway.com and www.MaxYieldSeed.com.

Show Feed Clinic – March 17th

show feedYou are invited to join us Thursday, March 17th from 6:00pm-8:00pm for MaxYield’s Show Feed Clinic at the Garner Pizza Ranch.

What: MaxYield Show feed Clinic
When: Thursday, March 17th, 2016, 6:00 PM
Where: Garner Pizza Ranch, Garner, IA
Who: All FFA and 4-H Members, Leaders, and Parents from any county are encouraged to attend.
Why: With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about those fair projects and what we will be feeding them.

Please join us for our 2016 Spring show feed clinic at the Garner Pizza Ranch.

Please RSVP by March 15th to Eric Malek (515-341-1230)
Supper Will Be Provided

Directions: The Garner Pizza Ranch is located South off Highway 18 at 405 State St on the East Side of the road.

Wayne Ditsworth Honored at Retirement Coffee

Wayne Ditsworth retirement 2016 (1024x680)Wayne Ditsworth (R) accepts a gift and congratulations from MaxYield Cooperative CEO Keith Heim.

Ditsworth worked at the cooperative in Britt for many years and was the long-time refined fuels delivery driver there.

A retirement coffee was held at the Britt location on March 4th in his honor.

Congratulations Wayne! Thank you for your commitment to MaxYield!