August 13, 2020

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 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!!

MaxYield Director Election Update

This letter was sent to all Class A (voting) members of MaxYield Cooperative in early July. If you have an interest in seeking election to our board of directors, be sure to contact members of the nominating committee or Chad Meyer. Their contact information is listed below. Thank you!

Dear MaxYield Cooperative Members,

The governance process is one of the most important components of your cooperative’s success. The purpose of this letter is to inform our members of the approaching board of director elections and provide who you should contact if you are interested in seeking election to the board in each of the three regions.

In the east region (east of Hwy 169 south of Algona & east of County Road P66 north of Wesley), Jim Black will seek reelection.

In the central region (between Highway 4 & Hwy 169 south of Algona & County Road P66 north of Wesley), David Garrelts is seeking reelection.

In the west region (west of Highway 4), Barry Anderson is seeking re-election.

A nominating committee has been appointed to assist members who wish to seek election to the MaxYield board of directors. Rich Harves from Dickens, Jim Kibbie from Emmetsburg and Dave Eisenman from Britt will be serving as the nominating committee.

If you are interested in seeking election to the MaxYield board, please contact a member of the nominating committee listed below, or Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader.

  • Rich Harves, Dickens, IA: 712-260-9874
  • Jim Kibbie, Emmetsburg, IA: 712-260-2025
  • Dave Eisenman, Britt, IA: 641-203-9152
  • Chad Meyer; client relations/communications leader, 515-200-5115,

We welcome new candidates to run for the board and encourage you to consider this opportunity. To be considered, candidates must:

  • Be a Class “A” member.
  • No criminal record (felonies)
  • A good credit history with MaxYield
  • History of a reasonable amount of business with MaxYield

The deadline to declare your intention to run for the board is August 15, 2020.


Howard Haas          

Board Chairman

MaxYield Facilitates Contribution to Emmet County UDMO

Jessica Gosh, outreach specialist at Upper Des Moines Outreach in Emmet County, accepted a $1500 contribution from CoBank’s Sharing Success grant program. Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader at MaxYield Cooperative assisted with the presentation.

ESTHERVILLE – MaxYield Cooperative recently presented the Upper Des Moines Outreach (UDMO) in Emmet County, located in Estherville, with a contribution of $1500 from CoBank. The funds will be used to assist families in need in the county.

Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader at MaxYield, presented the checks to UDMO.

“MaxYield Cooperative is proud facilitate CoBank’s assistance to the Upper Des Moines Outreach. They are committed to helping families that need assistance in Emmet County, particularly those that may be in a crisis situation,” said Meyer. “This organization is committed to lending a hand to those that need help and we are happy to aid in their mission.”

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 and




MaxYield Cooperative Intern Spotlight: Cayden Buysee

When colleges and universities closed earlier than normal this spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cayden Buysse didn’t wait around. He came a month early to start his MaxYield internship. It was a logical choice for this young farmer, whose motivation and work ethic are evident.

“I started renting 30 acres of farmland at age 13 around the time my grandpa started retiring from farming,” said Buysse, 19, who grew up at Tracy, Minnesota, and is a sophomore at South Dakota State University (SDSU). “I always wanted to farm but never thought I’d get into it as early as I did.”


Buysse earned the money to invest in the farm by picking rock for his dad and grandpa, baling hay and doing odd jobs for neighbors. As he expanded to 45 acres, his farming operation formed a solid base for his Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) through FFA. This earned him various proficiency awards in grain entrepreneurship, fiber and oilcrop entrepreneurship, and

diversified ag production.

Today, Buysse farms 60 acres and is looking to grow in the future. “I’ve learned how to budget, have a strong work ethic and make a plan of what you want to do to succeed,” Buysse said. “I decided I wanted a MaxYield internship to be part of my plan.”

What you’ll find here: The opportunity to have a structured internship with room to explore other options. “I heard about MYC from the SDSU career fair, and the MaxYield logo caught my eye,” Buysse said. “I liked the look of MaxYield and started talking to some of their team members.” While he also had three interviews with a variety

of ag companies, including another co-op, he knew MaxYield was his number-one choice. “I wanted to work in a new area away from home and carve out my own niche,” Buysse said. “The MaxYield team members seemed very nice and passionate about their work. They were excited to recruit from different areas, and I was impressed they were recruiting from SDSU.”

What you won’t find here: A lack of support. Buysse values the opportunity to work with a variety of mentors, including Mike Hommez, a MaxYield seed solutions specialist. “He’s very knowledgeable about pretty much everything,” Buysse said. He also appreciates the values of the MaxYield team. “They look for the best of the best, they have integrity, and they do their job right, even if no one is looking. They also care how you’re doing, make sure you’re learning and help you do things right by the client.”

How I’ve customized my MaxYield internship: While Buysse did a lot of soil sampling early on, he’s also done a little bit of everything, if it’s agronomy related. “I’m always trying to learn more about agriculture and network with people in the industry,” Buysse said. His MaxYield internship is also helping determine which parts of agronomy interest him the most—a process that started during his first year of college. While he started off as an ag systems technology major, he switched to a precision ag major. “I always thought I’d go more into the technology side, but I’ve discovered I don’t like trouble shooting,” Buysse said. “Precision ag is more on the agronomy side, and I’m learning a lot about that through my internship at MaxYield.”

How I’m providing solutions at MaxYield: Getting to work with growers interests Buysse. He worked closely with Chris Warren, a SciMax Solutions specialist, on some trials with a grower, including tissue sampling. “Chris is smart, and he knows a lot about computer technology,” Buysse said. “He gets me out in the field so I can do hands-on agronomy.”

What motivates me: Serving farmers and helping share their stories with the non-farm public is important to Buysse, especially since he understands the challenges and opportunities of modern production ag first hand. “I’d love to have people come to the farm for more than a day and see how things really work.”

How my MaxYield internship is setting me up for success: While Buysse had a lot of practical ag know-how before he started his MaxYield internship, he has expanded his knowledge even more. “I’ve learned a lot more about technology and have learned a lot about the sales side of the business from my mentors. This has been a great experience.”


Mike Hommez, MaxYield seed solutions specialist and mentor for Cayden Buysse:

Cayden has a tremendous work ethic. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and tackle any job that is given to him. He showed great initiative by starting his internship early due to his school closing due to COVID-19.  He came to us with a farm background and some prior work experience. He jumped in and pitched in whenever needed during a very busy spring season.

You can tell Cayden cares about his work. He’s done a great job this summer. He’s personable and has no problem talking to the clients or other MaxYield team members. I’ve heard other positive comments about Cayden and everyone has enjoyed getting to know him.

I want agronomy interns like Cayden to have a positive experience working with our team at MaxYield. I try to get them involved with other team members and offer a variety of tasks they can accomplish on their own. I also like to have the intern spend time shadowing me so they can see some the daily activities that I work on, as well.

The intern program is an excellent way for MaxYield to build meaningful relationships with some of the best talent out there. I welcome the opportunity to mentor interns each year.  I’m convinced that the intern program helps make me a better seed solutions specialist. Not only do the interns learn from us, but we learn a lot from them, as well.

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

MaxYield Cooperative Intern Spotlight: Nick Hunt

Sometimes the best plans get blown apart. Just ask Nick Hunt, who was lined up to have an internship at an ag company this summer. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic started making headlines around spring break, Hunt’s future employer said their internship program was still on.

Then the start date was pushed back to June 1 instead of mid-May. Then came the news that the company cancelled their 2020 summer internship program, due to COVID-19. That’s when Hunt reached out to MaxYield.

“I had a good experience when I was an intern here last summer,” said Hunt, who had first connected with MaxYield through a part-time job soil sampling in the Britt area in 2018. “I was glad they offered me an opportunity to come back.”

 What you’ll find here: Learning opportunities tailored to your interests. “It’s pretty cool we can make our internship what we want it be,” said Hunt, 21, a 2017 West Hancock High School graduate who is finishing his agronomy degree at Iowa State University (ISU). “I’m interested in learning more about what an ag sales job is like.”

You’ll also find a welcoming, friendly work environment at MaxYield. “The team doesn’t expect you to know everything,” said Hunt, who appreciates how his mentors explain things. “They take the time to answer your questions and help you learn as much as possible. They also make you feel like part of the team.”

What you won’t find here: Tedious work that isn’t meaningful. Hunt has helped run the chemical shed a Meservey and assist with soil sampling and tissue sampling. “It’s not just busy work,” Hunt said. “MaxYield team members make sure to teach you as you go.”

How I’ve customized my MaxYield internship: Hunt enjoys crop scouting. “You learn a lot about soils and crop physiology, which is really interesting,” said Hunt, who also likes learning how to accurately assess crop conditions and fix issues that are showing up in clients’ fields. Interacting with farmers and helping them manage crop protection challenges is another plus.

How I’m providing solutions at MaxYield: Interacting with clients is a fun part of the job. “You get a different viewpoint by working with the growers,” Hunt said. “There’s always something new to learn.” Hunt also appreciates the MaxYield mentors who guide him. “Jon Kaduce is easygoing, knowledgeable and willing to share what he knows,” Hunt said.

What motivates me: “I’ve always been interested in ag,” said Hunt, a former 4-H and FFA member who grew up in Britt. “I showed cows at the fair and worked for farmers. I like being outside and working with my hands and would like to grow my career in north Iowa.”

How my MaxYield internship is setting me up for success: Hunt appreciates the in-depth agronomy knowledge he has continued to gain through his two MaxYield internships. “While I’ve been learning some of this stuff in the classroom, it makes so much more sense in the real world,” Hunt said.


Travis Hamm, outside operations/applicator in Meservey and mentor for Nick Hunt:

Nick is self-motivated and isn’t afraid to try new things. He’s also friendly and interacts well with our clients. I visited with Nick at the start of his internship to figure out what he’s interested in, so the MaxYield team and I could help him learn about different jobs at the co-op. I’m glad I’ve had a chance to work with Nick.

I like the internship program, because it has helped MaxYield hire some pretty knowledgeable team members through the years. These new team members bring a lot to the table. Their new ideas and knowledge of technology keep MaxYield at the forefront, which is important in this competitive industry.

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

MaxYield Cooperative Intern Spotlight: Zach Heikens

As a fourth-generation farmer from Lake Park, Zach Heikens, a 2020 MaxYield Agronomy intern is passionate about agriculture. “I’d like to stay in Iowa and run my family’s farm someday,” said Heikens, 20, who will be a junior at South Dakota State University (SDSU) this fall.

He’s open to learning all he can about all facets of agriculture. While he grew up on a row-crop farm, he works part-time on a cattle farm near Brookings, South Dakota. “I like to work outside and be hands-on,” Heikens said. “That’s why I was interested in MaxYield internship.”

What you’ll find here: Teamwork. “Everyone is on the same team and is working to provide the best solutions they can for MaxYield’s clients,” Heikens said. “I also like how they are organized and communicate well.”

What you won’t find here:  Boredom. “I didn’t want to do the same thing day after day,” said Heikens, who is interested in both agronomy and grain marketing. “You get a lot of variety with a MaxYield internship.”

How I’ve customized my MaxYield internship: Heikens wanted to learn more about agronomy and grow his network through his MaxYield internship. This summer he has delivered crop-protection products to clients, helped with soil sampling and more.

How I’m providing solutions at MaxYield: Heikens has helped his MaxYield team members find the right solutions to help MaxYield clients maximize their 2020 crop’s yield potential. “I like to watch the crops grow and see how everything progresses during the growing season,” Heikens said. “Farming is all about continuous improvement.”

What motivates me: The opportunity to learn and grow. While Heikens had a couple of other internship offers, he’s glad he chose MaxYield. “MaxYield has a good reputation as a good place to do an internship,” said Heikens, who connected with MaxYield at the SDSU ag career fair. “There are a lot of great people who work here who can teach you a lot.”


How my MaxYield internship is setting me up for success: A MaxYield internship builds on the solid foundation students like Heikens have already gained from work experience, FFA

involvement and/or extracurricular activities at college. Heikens is a former FFA member who competed in soil judging contests, mechanics contests and more in high school. He’s currently a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Club at SDSU. He enjoys the marketing competitions where students create a product and develop a marketing plan. His NAMA team recently created a powder-based aronia berry product that can be mixed in with smoothies and other foods as part of a healthy diet. All these activities offer practical, invaluable lessons, much like a MaxYield internship. “I like learning practical skills and seeing how you apply these in the real world,” Heikens siad. “MaxYield does a great job of offering these opportunities.”


Mason Mentink, MaxYield agronomy specialist and mentor for Zach Heikens:

“Zach is a hard worker who pays attention to detail and is eager to learn. He’s personable and is a pleasure to work with. His farm background helps him get along well with MaxYield’s clients. Zach is still deciding his career path. As his mentor, I’m trying to give him as broad a perspective as possible in agronomy and other areas.

I appreciate how the intern program benefits MaxYield as well as students. A number of former interns return to MaxYield for a second internship. Some come back as agronomy trainees. A number of former interns have become full-time team members who choose to grow their career with MaxYield.

I like seeing this and having these talented people join our team. Even if interns pursue career opportunities beyond MaxYield, the connections that are formed during these internships last. Zach is from the Lake Park area and so am I, and it’s great that we’ve formed a friendship.”


For more information on MaxYield’s internship program check out Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

Klemme Grain Project Takes Shape

Progress at our Klemme location is much more visible the last several days.

The concrete foundation of the 105’ diameter 750,000-bushel bin is near completion.

Work will continue to form up the bin floor the coming days.

Among other parts of the project, also under construction is the elevator leg tower and the base for the new grain dryer.

The project is expected to be completed in time for 2020 fall harvest.

Belmond Grain Project Update

From the road, it’s hard to tell that much has changed at our Belmond grain receiving location in terms of the grain bin project that’s underway.

Over the last couple weeks, crews have continued working on the inside of the bin on grain reclaim equipment and the installation of fans on the bin.

When completed, this 750,000-bushel bin will speed up grain receiving in Belmond along with consolidating our grain operations to be more efficient for our members and clients.

The Belmond project is one of three large-scale grain construction projects undertaken by MaxYield Cooperative in 2020.