January 25, 2021

Archives for August 2017

MaxYield Continues Support for NC Iowa Ag in the Classroom

MaxYield Cooperative recently presented a check to North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom in the amount of $500.

North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom educates children in several Iowa counties about the importance of agriculture.

MaxYield’s Adam Suntken presented the contribution to Brenda Mormann, NCI AITC program coordinator.

More information about MaxYield Cooperative is available at www.MaxYield Coop.com and www.FromTheField.com.



MaxYield Cooperative Announces Fiscal 2017 Results

WEST BEND, IA, August 25, 2017 – MaxYield Cooperative® recently announced its fiscal results, for the year ending July 31, 2017.

“The current economic environment in the ag industry began in early 2014 and has impacted the cooperative, our members and the industry as a whole. This is the fourth consecutive year of lower net farm income and its impact is widespread. Revenues at MaxYield were down this year due to decreased margins, and reduced farmer spending,” stated MaxYield CEO Keith Heim.

MaxYield Cooperative’s Local Savings from Operations for the 2016-2017 fiscal year were ($1,258,390), and pre-tax Total Savings for the cooperative totaled nearly $3.1 million.

Heim noted that even though the fiscal year was challenging, the cooperative continues to have a very strong balance sheet. “It seems counter-intuitive to say, coming off a difficult earnings year, however, the balance sheet at MaxYield has never been stronger. Term debt has decreased, member’s equity increased and we added $2.4 million to working capital in 2017. MaxYield also increased retained savings, which now totals over $45.0 million. In 1997, retained savings were ($122,242), so you can see we continue to make significant progress in strengthening the financial position of MaxYield. We have been and will continue to focus on enhancing revenue and decreasing expenses in this tight economic environment,” he added.

The cooperative’s annual meeting is December 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the Clay County Regional Events Center, located in Spencer, IA.

About MaxYield Cooperative

MaxYield Cooperative is a member-owned, diversified agricultural cooperative founded in 1915 and is headquartered in West Bend, IA. The cooperative has 24 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for two Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com.


Spencer Shaw, agronomy/seed internship

Spencer Shaw was familiar with MaxYield since he grew up on a farm near Meservey, Iowa, however, he was still in for a surprise this summer.

“While it’s a big company, it’s also a team,” said Shaw, 21, a 2014 graduate of Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School. “I like the family atmosphere here.”

As the Iowa State University (ISU) senior prepares to graduate with an ag business major and agronomy minor, he considers his MaxYield internship time well spent. “With any internship, you get out of it what you put into it,” said Shaw, who is the son of Chad and Ranae Shaw. “MaxYield’s team members know what they’re talking about and are here to help you, if you’re willing to learn.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: Since I grew up on a farm, I’ve been around agriculture all my life and like learning more about it.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield agronomy/seed internship?

A: I’ve been working with the R7 Tool that combines local field data and precision agriculture. I also helped with soil sampling and have been collecting plant tissue samples every Monday. MaxYield holds agronomy training sessions for the interns and trainees. These programs usually last an hour-and-a-half to two hours, and we cover everything from crop growth stages to modes of action with different crop protection products.

I’ve also done on-farm visits, mainly in MaxYield’s eastern territory, and like working with the clients. You can learn a lot about many different things with a MaxYield internship. I’m interested in learning more about grain merchandising, along with agronomy and seed.

Q: How have you benefited by having Matt Keel and Cody Ostendorf as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: Matt is fun to be around and I’ve learned a lot from him, since he’s very knowledgeable.  Cody is super smart and I’ve learned so much from him about seed and crop protection products.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I’m keeping my options open, although I like agronomy the best. I enjoy going out to the field and seeing how I can help the crop. I like to help farmers find the solutions they need.

Editor’s note: Shaw is a member of ISU’s Ag Business Club and likes to attend football and basketball games at ISU. In the summer of 2016, he went on the Wheat Run from the Texas/Oklahoma border through Kansas and Colorado up to Idaho, where he helped harvest a 1,300-acre field on a mountain. While Shaw worked 70 to 100 hours a week, he’d do it again. “You see some really amazing country out there,” said Shaw, who drove a LEXION combine and was part of a five-member crew. 

Jared Mullinix, soil sampling/crop scouting/feed mill intern

When you’re raised in one of America’s top 10 largest cities, your odds of being exposed to agriculture aren’t great—unless you attend James Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas.

“Although my high school is in the middle of a city with 1.6 million people, we had barns, livestock and a meat processing facility right in the middle of the campus,” said Jared Mullinix, 19, who graduated with a class of 797 students in 2016. “I had the chance to raise show cattle and hogs, participate in FFA and get involved in lots of meat judging contests.”

Mullinix not only became interested in agriculture but, also decided to come to Iowa State University (ISU) to major in ag business and minor in animal science. “Ames has been a great transition between San Antonio and Iowa,” said Mullinix, who is a sophomore at ISU. “I hate the rush of traffic, so I like the slower, calmer pace of things in Iowa and am glad to be at MaxYield.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My parents came from rural parts of Iowa. My mom was from Manchester, Iowa, and my dad was from Prescott, Iowa. They both went to the University of Northern Iowa to become teachers and ended up in Texas. While there are seven high schools in the school district where I grew up, I had the chance to go one that’s considered a magnet school and offers agriculture classes. I had some wonderful instructors who encouraged my interest in agriculture. I always joked with my mom that I was going to go to ISU someday. When I started looking at colleges, it was clear that ISU has one of the top ag programs in the nation.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield sampling/crop scouting/feed mill internship?

A: When I came into this internship I had only taken two introductory agronomy classes in high school. Coming to MaxYield has been a whirlwind of new information, which has been great. I want to learn the basics of agronomy so I know what goes into livestock feed. In Texas, farmers grow wheat, sorghum, cotton and oats, so I’m getting a whole new exposure to other types of crop production here in Iowa. I’ve been busy with everything from soil sampling to crop scouting to working at the feed mill, which has been awesome.

We’ve also had training sessions that all the MaxYield agronomists attended so we can learn about new seed technologies. These agronomy sessions have been very helpful. All the hands-on learning experiences here teach so many things you can’t learn in the classroom.

With a MaxYield internship you’ll work hard, you’ll be out in the sun sometimes and you’ll sweat, but you’ll learn so much that you will be very well-positioned to take the next step towards your career goals.

Q: How have you benefited by having Levi Quayle as your mentor at MaxYield?

A: Levi has a lot of energy and is a hard worker who has taught me a lot. I’ve also worked with Eric Malek at MaxYield’s feed mill. The first day I was there we did 5 tons of feed, and the next day we did 70 tons of feed. By my second day at the mill, I was helping develop feed rations, so it was pretty fast paced.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: My goal is to be an animal nutritionist for hogs or cattle and I’ll work full-time anywhere I can get a job. I think a job in agriculture is a great way to help society.

Editor’s note: Mullinix is a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan, a member of the FarmHouse Fraternity at ISU and a member of ISU’s Meat Judging Team. He brings years of experience, since he judged beef, pork and lamb on his high school’s meat judging team. He received top 10 honors in several contests and ranked seventh in Texas at one point. “When you buy steak—go for a prime cut if you can get it,” Mullinix advised. “You want as much marbling as you can get for the most flavor.”

Drake Frideres, agronomy sales intern

Although Drake Frideres grew up just one state away from Iowa, the fields and farms of northwest Iowa feel like a whole different world from his hometown of Onalaska, Wisconsin, north of LaCrosse.

“The farming between here and there is so different,” said Frideres, 21, a junior at Iowa State University (ISU) who is majoring in ag studies. “Back home there are a lot of 5-acre fields and land with 30% slopes. Dairy and beef are big in my area.”

Frideres knew a little bit about northern Iowa, however, before starting his MaxYield internship. His father, Steven, had grown up on a farm near Algona. Frideres has appreciated the opportunity to learn more about agronomy in the area where his dad was raised.

When Frideres described his role at MaxYield, he started to say, “Even though I’m just an intern,” before stopping abruptly. “From day one the people at MaxYield have said we’re part of the team, and they mean it,” Frideres said.

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My dad works in seed sales, so I’ve been going to seed plots and riding in the combine since I was a kid. I knew ISU has one of the top ag programs in the nation. When I went to an ISU football game in 2012 I loved the beauty of the campus. Since I didn’t grow up on a farm but wanted to study agriculture, I thought ag studies was the way to go, since it covers agronomy, animal science and ag business.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield agronomy sales internship?

A: I first heard about MaxYield from my uncles, who haul their grain to MaxYield’s Algona location. I was excited about coming here, because this is my first big-time, corporate internship.  I’ve gotten to work with the R7® Tool where I input clients’ hybrids, planting dates and planting populations to develop variable-rate prescriptions. I also go to clients’ fields to check stand counts, do tissue sampling and visit with the growers. My favorite part of the job is talking to the clients and finding ways to help them produce the best yields possible.

The time flies during a MaxYield internship. You aren’t micromanaged and have freedom to plan you schedule to meet deadlines. There are lots of opportunities for training, and the hands-on experience in the field is great. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. It’s also great that everyone on the MaxYield team, including our mentors, is there for us.

Q: How have you benefited by having Dan Stokes and Steve Schany as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: Dan is an experienced professional who has taught me the importance of building strong relationships with the clients and being proactive. Steve is a good conversationalist who puts people at ease.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I’d like to go into seed sales and am pretty wide open to go where the job opportunities are. I enjoy helping farmers choose the correct seed for their soil types. It’s an exciting business, since there are always new technologies coming along. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Editor’s note: Frideres is a member of ISU’s Ag Business Club. He also developed a lifelong passion for golf starting at age 4 and helps out CBS as a producer’s assistant/spotter at televised golf tournaments like the John Deere Classic. Since age 18, Frideres has helped at PGA Tournaments from Ohio to Tennessee. He is on the course and relays key information that is broadcast, such as “Jordan Spieth is hitting a sand wedge from 130 yards.” “Golf is the biggest mental game I’ve ever played,” Frideres said. “If you have a bad shot, you can’t let it ruin your whole game. Just learn from it and move on.”

Costas Hatzipavlides, soil sampling/crop scouting intern

When Costas Hatzipavlides was growing up in Pennsylvania, two diverse worlds influenced his life—agriculture and wrestling.

“I always liked being outside,” said Hatzipavlides, 19, who worked on corn, soybean and cattle farms near his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is located an hour west of Philadelphia.

Hatzipavlides also liked being in the gym from the time he started wrestling in third grade. “Wrestling has definitely taught me perseverance, self-respect and teamwork,” said Hatzipavlides, who is a sophomore at Iowa State University (ISU), where he’s majoring in agronomy and also studying ag business. “The team culture is what interested me about MaxYield.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: I was always close to agriculture when I was growing up. My family did a lot of gardening, and my grandfather farmed. I like crop production and knew ISU has the best agronomy program around. When I visited the campus, I knew this was the place to be.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield soil sampling/crop scouting internship?

A: When I talked to the advisors at ISU’s College of Agriculture, they said MaxYield is a great place for an internship. They were right. What struck me right away about Iowa is that the farms here are so much bigger than at home. This year’s MaxYield soil sampling interns had 42,000 acres of corn to soil sample. I’ve also sampled alfalfa fields.

Sometimes when I’m grid sampling, the growers will stop by and talk to me. It’s always great to meet them. I like to ask them questions, including what kind of weed management program they’re using. I’ve also spent time at some of MaxYield’s chemical facilities to find out more about specific herbicides and how they work. It’s great to have this hands-on learning.

Q: How have you benefited by having Justin Zwiefel as your mentor at MaxYield?

A: Justin is always open to all the questions I ask and has helped me with weed identification. He’s very professional, easy going, clear and to the point.

I’ve also gotten to see how Justin interacts with clients. He and the other MaxYield team members really care about doing things right. They are also very nice, willing to help and take the initiative to help guide me.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I want to have an agronomy-related job where I can work in the field and in the office, too. I’m willing to go where my career takes me, although corn and soybean production interests me the most. I want to thank everyone at MaxYield for the opportunity to intern here and for treating  all of the interns so well. It’s an honor to represent MaxYield.

Editor’s note: Hatzipavlides serves as treasurer of the ISU Wrestling Club and is also a member of ISU’s Soil and Water Conservation Club. In his free time, he exercises and follows an extensive training regimen that includes endurance weight training, sprints and long-distance running—up to an hour and a half at a time. Hatzipavlides also enjoys deer hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.

Connor Langerman, soil sampling/crop scouting intern

Connor Langerman had such a positive experience as a MaxYield intern in the summer of 2016 that he chose to return for new learning opportunities.

“I really enjoyed my internship last year and saw how well MaxYield treats its interns,” said Langerman, 21, a senior at South Dakota State University who will earn his degree in ag systems technology in December 2017.

Langerman, who grew up in the Whittemore area, has expanded his knowledge and responsibilities as a second-year intern at MaxYield. “I have a lot more freedom to work independently.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: There are so many things you can do in agriculture, and there are lots of good jobs. It’s a growing field where the technology is constantly changing and advancing.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield soil sampling/crop scouting internship?

A: I’ve been able to build on the skills I learned last summer and try new things like tissue sampling. The MaxYield team always takes the time to teach you and provides you with the tools you need to get the job done. I also like precision ag and making prescription maps. If you’re looking for a good internship, MaxYield is a great opportunity.

Q: How have you benefited by having Rodney Legleiter and Amanda Pederson as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: They are both experienced, well-educated agronomy specialists who care about helping you learn. Rodney is really flexible and fun to work with. Amanda is extremely knowledgeable and specializes in crop protection products. They both make sure I’m getting the experience I need to prepare for a career in ag.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I’d like to stay in northwest Iowa and become an agronomist or a precision ag specialist at an ag cooperative or an implement dealership.

Editor’s note: In his free time, Connor enjoys fishing, hunting, boating and camping. On June 10, 2017, he married his wife, Miranda, who’s an Algona native.

Alec Berntson, soil sampler/crop scout intern

Although Alec Berntson is from West Des Moines, don’t let that fool you. He’s a farm kid at heart.

“Traffic in the city drives me nuts,” said Berntson, 21, a 2014 West Des Moines Valley High School graduate who is an Iowa State University (ISU) senior majoring in ag business and minoring in agronomy. “My dad farms near Paullina, and I’ve always liked spending time up here.”

He appreciates the friendliness of the people he’s met, the rural lifestyle, and the warm welcome he received at MaxYield Cooperative this summer. “The people here are great. They take the time to get to know you and make you feel like part of the team.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: When I was younger I didn’t know the direction I wanted to take. When I went to college I decided agriculture would be a good choice. Feeding America is an honorable job. I got a job at a local co-op during my sophomore year of college. I’m interested in learning more about co-ops, because they provide solutions for farmers.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield soil sampling/crop scouting internship?

A: I’ve compared notes with interns who have worked at other co-ops, and MaxYield has the premiere internship. The MaxYield team does a great job of helping us learn, and you never feel like you’re just an intern. MaxYield offers weekly agronomy education sessions. Some are held at MaxYield’s learning center by Irvington, where we learn what to look for as we scout clients’ fields. It’s crop scene investigation (CSI), like MaxYield seed team leader Dan Bjorklund says, and there’s always a new challenge. It’s great to get first-hand experience with the things we’re learning in class.

Q: How have you benefited by having Eric Magnussen and Brian Cable as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: Having a couple of different mentors gives you different perspectives. They show you how to do the hands-on skills like stand counts and what to look for when scouting fields. Eric farms part-time near Paullina and is an upbeat, down-to-earth guy who’s really easy to talk to. Brian is also friendly, easy to get along with and helps you learn about agronomy.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I’m interested in agronomy and am pretty wide open to where my career takes me. I would recommend a MaxYield internship, because this is a big organization that gives you lots of opportunities. There’s a reason why MaxYield has been voted a top workplace in Iowa. They take care of their clients and team members.

Editor’s note: Alec’s father, Gene, farms in northwest Iowa. Alec is a member of the Ag Business Club at ISU and works part-time as a bouncer in Campustown in Ames. In his free time, Alec enjoys playing intramural basketball, flag football and ice hockey. An avid snowboarder, Alec is also a member of ISU’s Ski and Snowboard Club and enjoys ski trips to Breckenridge, Colorado.



Off to a Strong Start: New Team Members Grow at MaxYield


There are many different paths to success in life, just as there are different paths to a full-time career at MaxYield Cooperative. Some of our newest team members were former MaxYield interns, while others came to us through their job search during their senior year in college.

No matter how we connect with these young professionals, MaxYield offers a unique opportunity for all of them to gain the knowledgeand succeed.

Mason Mentink, agronomy specialist trainee

Sometimes the right opportunity doesn’t come along even when you think the time is right. “Just try again,” advises Mason Mentink.

“In the fall of 2015, I connected with MaxYield through Iowa State University (ISU) and interviewed for a MaxYield internship,” said Mentink, who grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa near Pisgah. “I didn’t get the job, though.”

By the time Mentink earned his ag business degree from ISU in December 2016, circumstances had changed. He landed a full-time agronomy specialist trainee job with MaxYield and started working in the co-op’s west region in January 2017.

Hands-on learning has come in a variety of forms for Mentink, who has handled crop scouting and soil sampling, in addition to working with the R7 precision ag tool and making work orders for MaxYield’s agronomy specialists. A variety of MaxYield mentors have guided him every step of the way.

“At a lot of companies, you’re given the job title and are expected to figure things out on your own,” Mentink said. “MaxYield’s trainee program gives you lots of support to shorten the learning curve and help you succeed.”

Mentink appreciates learning from experienced MaxYield team members like Nolan Hauge, agronomy specialist. “Nolan is a great teacher. It’s helpful to get his input throughout the growing season.”

All of this helps Mentink serve MaxYield’s clients effectively. “It’s an honor that clients put their trust in us to provide the agronomy solutions they need. These aren’t just clients to us; they’re friends.”

Mentink is excited to grow his career at MaxYield. “Not many companies or co-ops offer a trainee program like the one here. I’m grateful MaxYield offers this opportunity and wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Editor’s note: Mentink is preparing to marry his fiancé, Mariah, an Iowa Great Lakes native, in June 2018. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, boating and spending time outdoors.

Aaron Montag, operations assistant/client service representative

After working at MaxYield every summer since 2013, Aaron Montag brought a lot of experience to his roles as operations assistant/client service representative at the Emmetsburg location when he was hired full-time in May 2017.

“I like the variety of the work,” said Montag, a 2013 graduate of West Bend-Mallard High School. “No two days are alike.”

From his part-time roles to his full-time work, there isn’t much Montag hasn’t done. He has dumped grain in the fall, learned about SciMax Solutions’ precision ag services and is now expanding his skills in agronomy. It’s a good fit for someone who likes to learn and enjoys working outside.

“This fall the first priority will be fertilizer,” said Montag, who has been studying to get his applicator’s license and commercial driver’s license (CDL). “I’ll be working in a tender truck and might be interested in applicating.”

These new opportunities allow Montag to put his college degree to good use. After studying agriculture for two years at Iowa Lakes Community College, he transferred to South Dakota State University, where he completed his agricultural sciences degree with minors in animal science and ag business in May 2017.

The learning hasn’t stopped since Montag joined MaxYield full-time. “I have more responsibility and more accountability as I learn things like MaxYield’s internal computer system for billing.”

It helps that Montag was already familiar with the Emmetsburg location, since he worked there one summer when he was in college. It’s also a plus that MaxYield’s more experienced team members help guide new team members.

“All the team members I worked with are great,” said Montag, whose older brother, Chris, is the location leader at MaxYield’s West Bend location. “All you’ve got to do is ask and they’ll help teach you. They also won’t pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with.”

This helps build new team members’ confidence, skills and ability to move into new leadership roles. “I’m excited to see where this takes me,” Montag said. “If you want to grow your career, you have to put in the effort, but MaxYield will help you reach your goals.”

Editor’s note: In his free time, Montag enjoys riding his Honda motorcycle, fishing and helping his dad, Frank, on the family’s row-crop and beef cattle farm near West Bend.

Shelby Wagner, agronomy specialist trainee
A persistent spirit and willingness to work hard in a MaxYield summer internship proved to be a winning combination for Shelby Wagner, who has been a full-time agronomy specialist trainee since early January 2017.

“I really got a feel for how MaxYield values their team members during my internship last summer,” said Wagner, who was accepted into the internship program the second time she applied. “I was 100% sure I’d be interested in working here full-time.”

Wagner was impressed by MaxYield’s professionalism, welcoming environment and team culture. “It’s awesome,” said Wagner, who earned her agronomy degree from ISU in December 2016. “By the end of my internship I was calling on clients on my own. My internship helped me grow a lot as a person.”

The summer internship also helped Wagner learn about crop scouting, precision ag and more, although there was a lot more to discover. “All the hands-on agronomy experience I had in college only came from May through August. Now I’ve been through a spring agronomy season and I’m excited to experience my first fall agronomy season.”

Wagner has been learning how to calculate fertilizer rates for different fields, prepare agronomy work orders, mix crop protection products and more. She is also working on obtaining her CDL and has been learning more about how applicators do their job. “With my internship, I was strictly sales,” Wagner said. “Now I’m learning all parts of the business.”

She’s grateful for the support she’s received along the way from MaxYield team members, including agronomy specialists Tim Bruns and Mark Eisenman. “I’ve seen what works for them and have learned there is more than one way to cook a chicken, meaning there is more than one way to be successful.”

“Team members who are patient, experienced and willing to share their knowledge are priceless,” Wagner added. “MaxYield’s agronomy specialist trainee program is even better than I expected. If I had just gotten thrown into a full-time agronomy job, it would have been overwhelming. The trainee program gives me time to learn about seed, fertilizer and crop protection products, so when it’s time to take on more responsibility, I’m more prepared and knowledgeable with that.”

Wagner is excited to take the next steps in her career. “I’m really excited to be here and look forward to helping our clients find the right solutions for their operations.”

Editor’s note: Wagner, who is the daughter of Kirk and Julie Wagner, grew up on a farm near West Bend. In her free time, she enjoys hunting, fishing for crappies and bluegills, and raising her salsa garden filled with tomatoes, peppers and onions.


MaxYield Feed Open House





You are invited to join us Wednesday, August 23rd from 11:00am-1:00pm for MaxYield’s Feed Open House in Garner.

What: MaxYield Feed Open House & Appreciation Meal
When: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Time: 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Where: MaxYield, Garner feed mill
Who: All current and potential feed clients
Why: Show appreciation and exhibit products and solutions we offer

Hamburgers, pork burgers, beans, chips, cookies, beverages will be served

Contact your nearest MaxYield location or Eric Malek (515-341-1230) for more details.

We hope to see you there!