January 20, 2021

Archives for August 2020

MaxYield Cooperative Announces Positive Fiscal 2020 Results

WEST BEND, IA, – MaxYield Cooperative® recently announced its fiscal results, for the year ending July 31, 2020. The board of directors for MaxYield reviewed and approved the financial audit at their board meeting on August 27.

MaxYield CEO Keith Heim stated that the cooperative had positive local and total savings to report. “Each year presents challenges and opportunities and Fiscal 2020 was no different. I am especially proud of how our team performed and showed grit and resiliency during this COVID-19 pandemic. MaxYield is a solution’s provider and I appreciate the solutions our team brings to our members and clients every day.”

MaxYield Cooperative’s Local Savings from Operations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year were $1,512,243 and pre-tax Total Savings for the cooperative totaled $8.6 million.

“In Fiscal 2020, we achieved the second best total revenue in company history”, Heim said. “Most all revenue areas showed consistency with the past year and remain on upward trend lines. Some areas of note include the second best drying revenue year, solid total energy and feed margins, strong total seed margins and exceptional soybean margins.”

The MaxYield board approved using a portion of this year’s available Section 199A tax deduction internally to mitigate the cooperative’s tax obligation. Heim added that the unused Section 199A tax deduction amount of approximately $1.4 million will be passed through to members for possible use on their individual tax returns.

Heim said that the cooperative maintains a solid balance sheet. “Term debt was reduced by approximately $4.0 million. We maintained adequate working capital levels while spending approximately $13 million on capital expenditures during the fiscal year.”

Member’s equity increased by about $2.65 million in 2020, noted Heim. “MaxYield once again increased retained savings, which now totals nearly $67 million as compared to 1997, when retained savings were ($122,242). The retained savings comparison is a good perspective of the financial improvement at MaxYield over the past 23 years.”

The cooperative’s annual meeting is December 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Ketelsen Community Center, located in Everly, IA. More details regarding the annual meeting will be sent to member’s closer to the event.

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 25 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for three Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com.

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Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team Receives $2500 Contribution from CoBank, via MaxYield Cooperative

Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team Executive Director Linda Vaudt is presented with a $2500 check on behalf of CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program, facilitated by MaxYield Cooperative. The C.A.R.E. Team provides essential goods and services to those in need throughout the community.

ALGONA, IA – MaxYield Cooperative made a contribution of $2500 on behalf of CoBank to the Kossuth County C.A.R.E. Team. The check, presented to C.A.R.E. Team Executive Director Linda Vaudt on August 20th, will assist the team with covering operational and programming expenses at the C.A.R.E. Team’s location in Algona.

“MaxYield Cooperative is proud facilitate CoBank’s assistance to the Kossuth County C.A.R.E Team,” said Emily Campbell, Talent Recruitment and Communications Specialist at MaxYield. “The C.A.R.E. Team serves the Kossuth County community in a variety of ways. We are lucky to have such an organization in our area and are happy to assist them in their efforts.”

The funds were provided through CoBank’s “Sharing Success” program, which provides contributions through cooperatives to local nonprofit organizations. CoBank provides loans, leases, and financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states.

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 25 locations and three Cenex convenience stores in Iowa. MaxYield also provides grain origination and accounting services for three Iowa feed mills. For more information, visit MaxYield online at www.MaxYieldCoop.com and www.FromTheField.com

Building the ‘Big Three’: MaxYield Upgrades Grain Facilities in Britt, Belmond, Klemme

It’s rare for MaxYield Cooperative to take on three major capital improvements in one fiscal year, but 2020 is no typical year. The time was right to invest in Britt, Belmond and Klemme to serve clients’ needs more effectively.

Work is progressing well on new grain bins at Belmond and in Britt. Both are set to be completed before harvest 2020. Each of the 105-foot-diameter bins will hold approximately 750,000 bushels

Updates in Belmond

of grain. Construction is also nearing completion in Klemme on a new 750,000-bushel bin, 4,000-bushel-per-hour grain dryer, upgraded receiving speed and other infrastructure to modernize the Klemme grain complex.

“All these projects are on track and will be done in time for fall harvest,” said Keith Heim, CEO. MaxYield’s strong financial position makes these major investments possible, he added. “Not only do we have support from clients in these areas, but we’ve continued to strengthen our balance sheet by building working capital and managing cash flow to pay for these grain improvement




Good spring and summer weather allowed crews to build the bins in Britt and Belmond by June. “We’ve been really fortunate with the weather,” said Jeff Marsh, operations team leader at

Updates in Britt


Adding more grain storage at Britt means MaxYield will spend less money transporting harvest grain out of Britt to other MaxYield locations. Belmond was also due for upgrades.

“We’re phasing out the old Belmond east soybean receiving facility,” said Frank Uhde, East Area team leader at MaxYield. “This will allow us to position our team members in one location in Belmond. This will make things much more efficient, and team members are excited about this.”



Big improvements at Klemme are also generating a lot of excitement. The time is right for these upgrades, especially after a severe storm hit the area in September 2019 and damaged much of Klemme’s grain-handling equipment. This created more challenges at the facility, which had suffered fire damage in 2003 and had been repaired as much as possible.

“If you saw this facility in the last 10 years, you knew it was time for improvements at Klemme,” said Uhde. “These upgrades will be phenomenal.”

In December 2019, MaxYield’s board of directors approved a $4.5 million investment at Klemme, which includes a new 105-foot, 750,000-bushel bin; 4,000-bushel-per-hour grain dryer; upgrades to two existing grain bins for holding wet corn; overhead truck load-out capability and all the infrastructure needed to complete the project, including upgraded grain legs. While the

Updates in Klemme

revamped facility will have the same number of grain dump pits, new grain-leg equipment at the receiving pits will considerably increase receiving capacity.

The new upgrades will be huge, not only to Klemme, but for clients in surrounding areas, Uhde added. “There’s talk all the way up to the Garner area about the Klemme project. This is progress, and I’m excited to see how many new grain receipts start flowing into Klemme.”

This project will wrap up right before harvest, since there are a lot of moving parts, Uhde added. “This is a rebirth of the co-op in Klemme.”

MaxYield directors and managers are looking ahead to determine where capital improvements will be directed throughout the company in 2021. “We’re having these conversations so we can better serve clients throughout all of MaxYield’s trade territory,” Marsh said.



The old wooden grain elevator in Whittemore that has served farmers for decades has seen its last harvest. “This elevator is being discontinued, and we’re upgrading the west elevator so we can speed things up,” said Ron Hutchison, Whittemore location leader for MaxYield Cooperative. “Clients are happy about not having to dump grain at the wood house anymore.”

The time is right to make these changes, since the amount of grain handled at the Whittemore location has nearly doubled in recent years. “We were handling around 2 million bushels of grain a

Grain-handling improvements in Whittemore

season, but now we’re closer to 4 million bushels,” said Hutchison, who noted that much of this increased volume is connected to Whittemore Feeder’s Supply.

Among the grain-handling improvements at Whittemore are upgrades to the distributor on the west elevator from an old-style cable system to an electrical system. Upgraded spouts will be added to the bins at Whittemore, as well.

“Our goal is to make grain handling faster and safer for both corn and soybeans,” said Hutchison, who noted that Whittemore has 1.2 million bushels of grain capacity. “These are definitely good upgrades that will benefit clients in this area.”

Hunter Gelhaus Grows His Agronomy Career at MaxYield

When Hunter Gelhaus is in the field with his team members, it’s hard to stump him when it’s time to diagnose crop issues. What’s going on with corn when the leaves fail to unfurl properly and the whorl becomes tightly wrapped and twisted?

“It’s rapid-growth syndrome,” said Gelhaus, an agronomy specialist trainee at MaxYield Cooperative. “When I get it right, Matt Keel jokes, ‘I taught you way too much last summer.’”

Keel, a MaxYield seed solutions specialist, served as Gelhaus’ mentor when Gelhaus was a MaxYield agronomy sales intern during the summer of 2019. Now Gelhaus is a full-time agronomy specialist trainee, serving clients in the East Area, including Belmond, Klemme and Britt.

He’s building on a solid knowledge base. Gelhaus completed a successful seed and agronomy sales internship with MaxYield in 2019.

“I had such good experiences as an intern here and got to know so many people on the MaxYield team that I felt comfortable here,” said Gelhaus, who grew up in Lakota and earned his ag business degree and agronomy minor from Iowa State University in May 2020. “It was an easy decision to accept MaxYield’s job offer last fall.”

“MaxYield can set you up for big things”

It has been a smooth transition to come back as a full-time team member, adds Gelhaus, who scouts clients’ fields, delivers crop-protection products and enjoys getting to know more farmers in the area. “No two days are alike,” he said. “Also, every field is different, and every situation is different. That means you have to get to know each client to provide the right solutions.”

As an agronomy specialist trainee, Gelhaus works closely with his mentor, Levi Quayle, a MaxYield agronomy specialist. “He’s someone I can look to for advice and answers to my questions,” Gelhaus said.

Having a mentor also offers peace of mind when you’re a new full-time team member, he added. “It’s good to have someone who is easy to talk to and is there to help you learn,”

Gelhaus also appreciates the continuing education opportunities available through MaxYield, which is big enough to offer advancement opportunities and small enough to feel like family. “A MaxYield internship can set you up for big things.”

Editor’s note: In his free time, Gelhaus enjoys farming, hunting and spending time with his fiancé, Cassidy Sachs, who grew up two miles from him. The couple is planning an August 2021 wedding.

MaxYield Cooperative Intern Spotlight: Tanner Schiefelbein

When Tanner Schiefelbein was growing up in Cedar Falls, his family didn’t have a lot of ties to production agriculture. Schiefelbein loved to hunt and fish, however, and spent time at the farm of a family friend who allowed him to hunt on his land.

“I had a lot of conversations with him about farming,” said Schiefelbein, 19, who will be a junior at Iowa State University (ISU) this fall. “He’s a fifth-generation farmer and took me under his wing.”

When Schiefelbein told him he was thinking about studying agriculture in college, his friend’s advice was simple. “Get as much experience as possible in agriculture so you can find the right career fit,” said Schiefelbein, who is majoring in ag business and economics at ISU.

When Schiefelbein began looking into ag internships, one of his instructors at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo suggested MaxYield. The more he looked into MaxYield’s internship program, the more he liked what he saw.

“I went to MaxYield’s website and read about previous summer interns like Nick Hunt,” Schiefelbein said. “That prompted me to start the conversation with MaxYield, and here I am.”

What you’ll find here: Plenty of opportunities to learn about many aspects of agriculture. “I want to get the most I can out of this internship,” Schiefelbein said. “I’ve learned a lot of agronomy and have really enjoyed learning how the country grain elevator system works.” Schiefelbein also appreciates his mentor, Cody Ostendorf, a MaxYield seed solutions specialist. “Cody gives me a lot of freedom and doesn’t micromanage. I’ve appreciated the agronomy information he has shared with me, and I’ve enjoyed learning how he interacts with clients.”

What you won’t find here: A lack of support. “Everyone at MaxYield is so helpful,” Schiefelbein said. “The team definitely has your back.” This was especially encouraging for Schiefelbein, who hadn’t lived away from home prior to this summer. “I was excited to try new things but was a little nervous about moving away from home. MaxYield made the transition easier.”

How I’ve customized my MaxYield internship: No matter what interests me, the MaxYield team helps me learn more about it. I’ve learned more in a short time here than I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m really not much of an office guy, so I like working outdoors and being hands-on.

How I’m providing solutions at MaxYield: I’ve been doing soil sampling and other agronomy work. While some students might not like soil sampling, it’s actually enjoyable. You have a lot of freedom, and it’s nothing to be stressed about.

What motivates me: I like the small-town atmosphere at MaxYield. I don’t feel like I’m just another employee. It feels like family here. I’ve gotten acquainted with the other summer interns, so that helps you feel like you’re part of the team, too.

How my MaxYield internship is setting me up for success: I know I want to stay in Iowa and work in agriculture for my career. I was telling my dad all this on a fishing trip in Minnesota. My MaxYield internship has showed me I’m on the right track. If you’re a community college student and are worried you can’t compete for internships like this, don’t shy away from a MaxYield internship. You can compete with the four-year-college students. My advice is to look for opportunities like this that will help set you up for future success.


Cody Ostendorf, MaxYield seed solutions specialist and mentor for Tanner Schiefelbein:

Tanner is very good at visiting with MaxYield clients. Some of this comes from his job working at a tire store in high school and college. He’s determined and eager to learn. He’s interested in everything agronomy and more, such as how a grain train is loaded.

I like working with interns like Tanner, because they offer a different perspective of the work we do. I want to make sure they have a great experience at MaxYield, just like I did when I was an agronomy intern 10 years ago. My MaxYield mentors helped me build strong relationships with the MaxYield team and MaxYield clients.

The MaxYield team is receptive each year to improving our internship program. We want to keep the program nimble so it can adapt to students’ needs. We always want our internships to offer students a wide range of learning experiences. Not all our interns grew up on farms, and we want to help them all find their niche in agriculture.

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

MaxYield Cooperative Intern Spotlight: Luke McKibben

While Luke McKibben grew up in Marshalltown, he was never far from agriculture. “My great-uncle farms near Marshalltown, and I liked riding in the combine when I was growing up,” said McKibben, 19, who will be a sophomore at Iowa State University (ISU) this fall.

Not only did McKibben grow up working on local farms, but he saw another side of agriculture when his older brother majored in ag business at ISU. During McKibben’s freshman year at ISU, he, too, selected an ag business major. He also got involved with the Ag Business Club’s Ag Alliance on campus.

Each Ag Alliance member is matched with a mentor in the ag industry. McKibben was matched with Chad Meyer, who handles client relations and communications for MaxYield. “I’d never heard of MaxYield before this,” McKibben said. “The more I learned about the co-op from Chad, the more I was interested.”

When he had the chance to interview for a MaxYield internship, he jumped at the chance. “It seemed like the kind of place that fits my goals. MaxYield is all about providing solutions for clients, not just selling stuff.”

What you’ll find here: Opportunities to expand your horizons. Soil types in north-central and northwest Iowa, compared to central Iowa. There also tend to be more rocks. The organic acres in parts of MaxYield’s trade territory also surprised McKibben. “While I was a little hesitant about moving a few hours away from home, this agronomy internship has been a good experience,” McKibben added. “Everyone is very friendly up here, plus you get to know the other MaxYield interns. Living with Cayden Buysse, who is also a MaxYield intern this summer, has given me another friend.”

What you won’t find here: A cut-throat business environment where it’s every person for themselves. “MaxYield is definitely team-oriented,” McKibben said. “Everyone on the team is willing to help you learn.”

How I’ve customized my MaxYield internship: McKibben has been able to learn more about the cooperative system, which he has enjoyed. “I worked at New Century FS in 2019 and wanted to work at another co-op at my next internship. I like the co-op, because it’s one big partnership. It’s people coming together for the common good. The farmers have a lot invested in the business, and I want to help them.”

How I’m providing solutions at MaxYield: On Mondays McKibben go to the field to pull samples for tissue tests. Each week he and his fellow agronomy interns also have at least one mentor day that they spend with a MaxYield agronomist. He has also done a lot of soil sampling. “You can either take your five soil probes and think it’s boring, or you can turn soil sampling into a good experience, if you ask questions and try to learn all you can,” McKibben said. “Any job is what you make of it.” He learned that at his first paid job when he worked at a country club washing golf carts. “That taught me the value of a dollar and the importance of a work ethic. That work ethic makes a positive difference at MaxYield.”

What motivates me: “I definitely wanted to learn more about the agronomy side, since I’m an ag business major,” McKibben said. “I also want to work one-on-one with farmers.” Having a mentor like Shelby Knapp makes all this easier. “Shelby has been phenomenal,” McKibben said. “She’s always available to meet with you. She also does a great job of explaining things thoroughly, which has helped me learn a lot.”


How my MaxYield internship is setting me up for success: McKibben’s MaxYield internship has shown him how much he likes working directly with farmers. “Farmers are honest, direct, hard-working people who are the backbone of America,” McKibben said. “MaxYield does a good job of taking care of these clients.” Learning the fine arts of communication and seeing how MaxYield agronomists built productive, working relationships with their clients has been invaluable, McKibben added. “Shelby has shown me how to handle anything that comes along, including handles tricky situations where you want to keep building the relationship with the client. You don’t learn this in a classroom.”

Growing an ag career in Iowa appeals to McKibben, who enjoys deer hunting, pheasant hunting, fishing and being involved with the SALT Christian ministry in Ames. “I really love the Midwest,” he said. “I’ve traveled all over America, and the people here are much friendlier than on the coasts. I’m definitely thankful to be in Iowa and here at MaxYield.”

Shelby Knapp, MaxYield agronomy specialist and mentor for Luke McKibben:

Luke is observant and curious, two traits that make for a good agronomist. He’s constantly asking me questions about everything, which is great. Luke also has a really strong work ethic and always wants to be doing something. He has a great personality, and I think he will do extremely well, wherever his career path takes him. He’s definitely one of the best interns I’ve worked with.

When I work with any intern, I want to give them the best experience possible at MaxYield. I want to help them to learn all they can and encourage them to ask plenty of questions so can determine for themselves if this is the career path they want to take.

When I was an agronomy sales intern at MaxYield in the summer of 2016, I had a great experience overall. I enjoyed the people I worked with. My mentor, Dan Stokes, was awesome. MaxYield’s sales team has some really good people who are really motivated and driven. They inspired me as an intern and still inspire me now to work hard and improve every day. I want to create these same opportunities for the interns I work with.

MaxYield’s interns certainly help us get a lot of work done in the summer, from soil sampling to crop scouting and everything in between. Many of MaxYield’s past interns have gone on to do great things, from returning to MaxYield to succeeding at other agriculture companies. It’s fun to watch them grow their ag careers.

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

Agronomy Internship Helped Tyler Hoffman Clarify His Career Goals

When Tyler Hoffman completed his agronomy internship at MaxYield Cooperative in 2018, he gained clarity on two things. He knew he wanted to keep learning about agronomy, and he wanted to grow his career in Iowa.

He has the opportunity to do both, now that he’s an agronomy specialist trainee at MaxYield. “I really like the culture and people at MaxYield,” said Hoffman, who grew up a farm near Graettinger and earned his ag business degree from Iowa State University (ISU) in May 2020.

While Hoffman had a good experience as a MaxYield intern, he still wanted to explore his career options before he graduated. “After I had an internship with a seed company in the summer of 2019, that’s when I knew I wanted to come back to MaxYield. When they made me a job offer last October, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.”

After to the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools across the state this spring, Hoffman began working full-time for MaxYield in mid-April 2020. “I was especially grateful for this job after some of my college friends had their job offers pulled after COVID-19 hit,” he said.

Growing a client base

Hoffman started at MaxYield’s Superior location and helped deliver crop-protection products. As the summer progressed, he worked with Justin Zwiefel, a MaxYield agronomy specialist based in Mallard, to scout clients’ fields. “I’ve liked getting to know more MaxYield clients,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman appreciates having Zwiefel as his mentor. “Justin is down-to-earth and easy to get along with. While I have a lot of freedom to grow relationships with MaxYield clients, I like being able to reach out to Justin when I have questions.”

It has been a smooth transition from MaxYield intern to full-time agronomy specialist trainee. “As an intern, I became more comfortable talking to growers and having intelligent conservations with them about solutions for their acres,” Hoffman said. “It helped a lot to learn the basics like soil sampling and crop scouting.”

It’s a plus that his full-time job with MaxYield allows Hoffman to be close to home, so he can help his parents on their corn, soybean and hog farm. If you’re thinking about trying a MaxYield internship, go for it, he added. “You can dip you toe in the water and try a little bit of everything here. That will help you find out what you do and don’t like as you figure out your career path.”

Editor’s note: In his free time, Hoffman enjoys playing in the golf league at Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in Graettinger and strength training at a local weight room.

BELMOND UPDATE: No Grain Delivery August 6-10, 2020.

BELMOND UPDATE: MaxYield’s Belmond location unable to accept grain August 6-10.

Our Belmond grain facility will be unable to accept grain Thursday, August 6 through Monday, August 10.

Due to construction, we will not have any power at the Belmond grain receiving location.

Our Belmond office will be open for normal business hours 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during this time.

Please call our Belmond office with any questions and to confirm delivery. We appreciate your understanding!!