December 13, 2018

MaxYield Co-op Holds Annual Meeting

MaxYield Cooperative® held its 104th annual meeting Monday, December 10 at the Britt Community Center.

Board chairman Howard Haas called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

During the meeting, MaxYield CFO Susan Post discussed the financial results of the cooperative. The audited financial report for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2018 reported local earnings of 1,681,812 with total pre-tax earnings totaling over $4.9 million.

In his remarks to the membership, MaxYield CEO Keith Heim stated he was pleased with the cooperative’s fiscal results. “Our year started out with a strong 2017 fall season. A good crop was harvested, we had a good grain drying and propane season and a very respectable fall fertilizer season. This good fall was followed by a more challenging spring and summer in 2018. In spite of those challenges, we have a respectable and positive fiscal year to report to stockholders.”

Heim noted that the cooperative continues to have a very strong balance sheet. “MaxYield’s balance sheet has never been stronger. Term debt has decreased by over $4.5 million, member’s equity increased by $5.8 million and we added $3.0 million to working capital in 2018. MaxYield also increased retained savings, which now totals over $51 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.

MaxYield has focused on a balanced financial approach, Heim added. “MaxYield has invested approximately $56 million in facilities and equipment the last seven fiscal years.”

Nominating committee member Allen Kramer of Algona announced the results of the director election. Howard Haas of Algona, Ron Rouse from Curlew and Barry Anderson of Greenville were reelected to serve three year terms.

Following the annual meeting, Howard Haas was elected by the board to continue serving as chairman. David Garrelts was elected vice chairman and Eric Marchand will continue to serve as secretary/treasurer.

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 or www.FromtheField.com.

Harry Bormann Retirement Coffee

Please join us for a retirement coffee honoring Harry Bormann, MaxYield’s grain team leader. After 44 years in the cooperative industry and the last 22 years at MaxYield, Harry is retiring at the end of December.

Please join us December 19th, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The event will be held at MaxYield’s Tire and Auto Service Center, located at 310 4th Ave NE in West Bend (located two blocks east of Casey’s). Refreshments will be served.

See you there!

Hancock County 4-H Membership Dues Decreased with Help from MaxYield

Victoria Schmidt, county youth coordinator, accepts a contribution from Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader at MaxYield that will decrease the cost of 4-H membership in Hancock County.

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

“4-H has long been a key resource for youth development in our local communities, and clubs continue to offer high-quality educational programs. Making 4-H membership accessible to more families is important to MaxYield Cooperative. That’s why we contribute more than $13,000 to 4-H in seven northern Iowa counties annually,” said Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader at MaxYield.

“We’re continuing our support of local 4-H and commitment to our youth,” said Meyer.  “Recently, we presented a contribution for $10 per 4-H member in Clay County to decrease the cost of 4-H membership.”

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

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.

 

Doug Shirk Retires from MaxYield Cooperative

MaxYield Cooperative energy team leader, Chad Besch (left), presents Doug Shirk with a gift of appreciation at his retirement coffee held in Emmetsburg.

Doug Shirk, energy solutions specialist based at MaxYield Cooperative’s Emmetsburg location, was recognized on November 28 with a retirement coffee, honoring his 23 years of service to the local cooperative. His last day at MaxYield was November 30.

Shirk began his career at MaxYield April 1, 1995, delivering refined fuels and LP gas in the Ayrshire area. In 2008, he transitioned to full-time fuel sales as an energy solutions specialist. Prior to working for MaxYield, Shirk farmed in the Emmetsburg area for 25 years.

During retirement, he looks forward more time to fish, doing more woodworking projects and spending more time with his four grandchildren.

About MaxYield Cooperative

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

MaxYield Announces $1000 Ag Scholarships

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

“The purpose of the scholarship program is to encourage and provide financial assistance for area youth to pursue and prepare for careers in agriculture.” stated Chad Meyer, client relations/communications director for MaxYield.

Applications are available at area high schools, local community colleges, and any MaxYield Cooperative location.  New this year, the scholarship application form can be completed and submitted online. As a part of the application process, students must submit an essay entitled “Why I selected agriculture as my career.”

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

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2019.

MaxYield Cooperative serves nearly 1700 members in 24 communities, with 210 team members.  For additional information on the MaxYield scholarship program, contact any MaxYield location.

To apply or for more information, head to https://www.maxyieldcoop.com/agscholarships.

Clay County 4-H Membership Dues Decreased with Help from MaxYield

Jo Engel, county youth coordinator, Sarah Dirks, in-school and adult program director, and Amy Forrette, county associate director youth programming accept a contribution from MaxYield that will decrease the cost of 4-H membership in Clay County.

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

“4-H has long been a key resource for youth development in our local communities, and clubs continue to offer high-quality educational programs. Making 4-H membership accessible to more families is important to MaxYield Cooperative. That’s why we contribute more than $13,000 to 4-H in seven northern Iowa counties annually,” said Chad Meyer, client relations/communications leader at MaxYield.

“We’re continuing our support of local 4-H and commitment to our youth,” said Meyer.  “Recently, we presented a contribution for $10 per 4-H member in Clay County to decrease the cost of 4-H membership.”

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

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.

 

Algona Fire Department Receives Matching Funds Contribution from CHS, MaxYield

(l to r) Tony Rahm, assistant chief; Mitch Ulrick, Chad Besch, MaxYield Energy team leader; Joe Degen, president; Roger Simpson, secretary.

MaxYield Cooperative presented the Algona Fire Department with a contribution of $2500 in matching funds from the CHS Seeds for Stewardship program. The funds match a contribution made earlier this year by MaxYield. The funds will be used to upgrade the department’s air packs.

Each new air pack costs $5000 and the purchase of new packs will increase firefighter’s safety and protection, and increase the number of quality packs for the department.

MaxYield Energy team leader and member of the Algona Fire Department Chad Besch presented the checks to Tony Rahm, assistant fire chief, Joe Degen, president, Roger Simpson, secretary and Mitch Ulrick.

About CHS Seeds for Stewardship

The CHS Seeds for Stewardship is a competitive grant program that matches funds for projects that develop the next generation of ag leaders, improve ag safety and enhance rural vitality in local communities. CHS is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, rancher and cooperatives across the United States. More information about CHS is available at www.chsinc.com.

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

Rev It Up: 5 Things Drive MaxYield’s Steve Meyer

Could a racecar driver be your MaxYield Cooperative propane delivery driver? Absolutely, if you work with Steve Meyer.

Okay, so Meyer hasn’t raced for a few years, and safety is always job one when he’s driving for MaxYield, but this guy definitely has an adventurous spirit and a passion for hot rods.

“I’ve loved cars since I was in high school,” said Meyer, a 1970 graduate of Spencer High School. “Some friends of mine had a ‘55 Chevy and a ’56 Chevy when I was growing up. My cousin also bought a new Ford Fairlane GT 390, and I thought I’d like a car like that.”

Here are five more things you might not know about Meyer:

  1. Meyer restored a classic 1956 Chevy. It’s dark blue and white. It has belonged to Meyer’s wife, Barb, since she was in high school. Now this ‘56 Chevy is a hot rod with a new lease on life. “Barb got this car in high school in 1969 when her family bought it from a guy at Estherville,” Meyer said. “It was in pretty good shape, but I redid it before we got married in 1971.”

In 2000, the Chevy received another makeover. “I had a professional restorer from Everly do it right, like taking the body off the frame and repainting the car,” Meyer said. “I also had a guy in Lake Park add a roll cage and narrow the rear end so I could put bigger tires on the Chevy.”

  1. Meyer feels the need for speed. You can’t have a hot rod and not race it once in awhile, right? Meyer had a local guy build a 540-cubic inch engine for his ‘56 Chevy. “We took the engine to Minneapolis to put it on the dyno, and the engine measured 600 horsepower,” said Meyer, who has raced his car at Marion, South Dakota, and Humboldt, Iowa. While he hasn’t raced since 2010, Meyer brings out the Chevy for the car cruise during Spencer’s Flagfest celebration in early June. He and his wife also take the Chevy to Clear Lake during the first weekend in August for the car show and the cruise around the lake.
  2. His family’s roots run deep in northwest Iowa. Meyer grew up in Paullina, where his father ran the Paullina Dairy until the mid-1960s. After the family moved to Spencer, Meyer landed a job with Herbster Electric while he was still in high school. He was later promoted to appliance specialist. He switched gears in 1984 and began handling service work and delivery for Lakes Propane. After that company was bought out by Great Lakes Cooperative, Meyer kept the same job even though the company went through many changes due to acquisitions by Green Plains, Inc., The Andersons, LLC and MaxYield in April 2016.
  3. MaxYield fits Meyer’s style. Meyer drives a bobtail propane truck for MaxYield, and his route takes him from Hartley to Ruthven to Peterson. He works eight- to 10-hour days, depending on the season. “The energy team is a good group to work with,” Meyer said. “The delivery trucks are also nice with all their push buttons and modern technology. I didn’t think I’d like working with computers, but I do. They make life so much easier.”
  4. Meyer soars with a new hobby. While Meyer loves his classic car, he also enjoys flying radio-controlled airplanes. “When my folks lived on Grand Avenue in Spencer, there was a hobby shop in town,” Meyer said. “I saw the planes there and thought it would be cool to fly.” He started investing in this hobby about 15 years ago and finds much of his gear at Hobby Town in Omaha. He has five radio-controlled airplanes and belongs to the Spencer Skyhawks. Club members gather on Tuesdays and typically head to a field east of Spencer to fly their aircraft. “If you can’t see what the plane is doing, it’s too far,” said Meyer, who usually flies his planes no further than a quarter of a mile of away.

Meyer enjoys his hobbies and has no plans to retire from them—or his job at MaxYield—anytime soon. “I like how MaxYield does things, and I’m going to keep working and plugging away.”

Editor’s note: In addition to going to car shows, Meyer and his wife enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. Their oldest son, Shawn, is a chiropractor in Chandler, Arizona. Their other son, Corey, lives in Dickens and works for Polaris, while their daughter Ashley, lives in Omaha with her family.

 

 

Looking for Financing Options?

In these times of tight margins, it pays to assess all your options, especially when it comes to financing inputs for the 2019 crop.

MaxYield’s options include:

  • In-house financing. MaxYield offers delayed-price diesel, summer-fill liquid propane (LP) and terms on fall and spring inputs. Fall inputs can be picked up and applied before payment is due January 20. Spring inputs can be paid for by July 20. “If you pay early, you can also earn discounts,” Post noted. Pre-paid dollars lock in the best prices. “However, our in-house financing offers you a longer time period to pay for some of your big-ticket items,” Post said.
  • John Deere Financial. You can also access financing options through John Deere Financial, which has been a trusted partner at MaxYield for years. “Our relationships with national companies allow us to pass along low rates,” said Chad Hefel, Iowa sales manager for John Deere Financial. “Along with saving money, you can access an unsecured line of credit to help preserve your cash flow on your operating line of credit.”

You can apply for credit or request a credit increase for a John Deere Financial account through the MaxYield Seed website (www.maxyieldseed.com). Getting your application in sooner rather than later is smart, Post noted. “This provides the most flexibility in obtaining the crop inputs you need now and then pay after harvest.”

  • Rabo AgriFinance. MaxYield also has arrangements with Rabo AgriFinance, a global leader in agriculture financing. “This can be the right option for some people,” said Post, who encourages you to visit with your local MaxYield agronomist or seed team specialist to explore your options.

How does 0% financing sound?

Maybe you’re thinking, “I have enough money to make my purchases without a loan. Why should I look into financing?”

There are still some 0% financing deals out there, Post said. “These deals allow opportunities to utilize cash elsewhere. In any case, we encourage you to assess which solutions fit your business, and we look forward to working with you.”

“We provide you choices,” said Susan Post, chief financial officer for MaxYield Cooperative. “We encourage you to do the math, talk to financial professionals like your banker and tax advisor to assess cash flow needs, and determine the solution that fits your operation.”

Maintaining Trust Through Changing Times

Financing options don’t just affect your business. They also impact your cooperative.

“Times have changed,” said Susan Post, chief financial officer at MaxYield Cooperative. “Vendors are asking us for prepaid money sooner and are paying rebates back later in order to stretch the time value of money to their benefit.”

It’s Great to Be Back: Greenville Location Embraces Client-First Mindset

As the Greenville location at MaxYield Cooperative prepared for its third harvest, it hasn’t just transitioned from a seasonal location to a full-time location. Moving from a corporate business structure to a cooperative system has also redefined Greenville.

“I like MaxYield’s focus on being a solutions provider for our clients,” said Kent Engel, Greenville grain superintendent. “It’s great to be back in the cooperative system.”

Greenville plays an important role in MaxYield’s west territory. Located about 10 miles south of Spencer, MaxYield Cooperative is the biggest economic engine in this town of approximately 60-plus residents.

Greenville offers 1.5 million bushels of grain storage, including two 350,000-bushel bins and one 710,000-bushel bin that were built in recent years. Providing fast, efficient grain handling services is one of the hallmarks of Greenville.

It’s a whole different mindset than when the location was part of the corporate structure before that. “Corporate has a mission to provide maximum return to the shareholders,” Engel said. “That’s a much different philosophy than a cooperative, where the members are the owners.”

Multiple transitions created challenges

Greenville’s history in the grain business dates back generations. The business was privately-owned grain elevator for decades. In the 1970s, Greenville joined with grain facilities in Langdon and Spencer before all three were bought by Farmers Co-op in Everly, which later included Hartley, Royal and Milford.

The cooperative merged with Superior in the 2000s to become Great Lakes Cooperative. Within a few years, Green Plains bought the cooperative and its locations.

“Ethanol was coming on board around that time,” Engel said. “Management said this might be a case where if we can’t beat them, we should join them and provide corn for the ethanol plant in Superior.”

The Greenville location was part of Green Plains for about four years. “We had a lot of transition in a short amount of time,” Engel said.

More change occurred when Greenville and other locations in Green Plains were sold to The Andersons, LLC in Ohio. “The Andersons had facilities in Nebraska and wanted to fill in the gaps from Nebraska to Ohio,” said Engel, who noted that Greenville was part of The Andersons for four years before MaxYield purchased The Andersons’ locations in April 2016.

All these transitions cost the Greenville location some clients through the years. “The different changes in ownership every few years made it tough,” Engel said. “If a client leaves, you have to earn that trust back and rebuild that relationship again.”

Greenville evolves with the times

Engel believes the cooperative system offers one of the best ways to grow these relationships, since the business exists to serve the farmers. His cooperative roots run deep, back to the years he was growing up in Paullina.

“My father, Robert, managed the co-op at Paullina for more than 30 years,” said Engel, who has worked in the cooperative system since 1977. “I grew up around the elevator. To me, that was like growing up on the farm.”

Engel has seen a lot of changes in agriculture during his career, including the size of the farms. “When I was growing up, a quarter section was a pretty big farm,” he noted.

As the farms have changed, so have the grain elevators that serve them. Greenville, which used to be served by the Milwaukee railroad, used to have a single grain bin east of the office, along with three flat storage areas for grain. Grain could be shipped by rail until the tracks were removed around 1975-76.

In the 2000s, Greenville received a new 15,000-bushel-per-hour grain leg. “The old grain was so slow it was pathetic,” Engel said. “Between the new grain leg and the new bins we’ve added, it has all made a huge difference.”

Along with fast service, MaxYield offers a Keytrol fuel station at Greenville. Members of the local coffee crowd stop by the office each morning for hot coffee and fresh popcorn. Some drop by again in the afternoon.

Even the coffee crowd has changed through the years in Greenville. “It used to be a card playing group who exchanged small amounts of money,” said Engel, who noted that the crowd was biggest in the winter. “There might be 12 to 14 people in here, which made it tough to do business, since you had no privacy.”

There used to be quite a few smokers among the coffee crowd. “In the dead of the winter, you’d have to open the windows to try to clear the smoke out of the office,” Engel said.

All that changed in 2008, when Iowa lawmakers passed the Smokefree Air Act, which prohibits smoking in enclosed areas within places of employment. “That was kind of hard on the coffee crowd,” said Engel, who enjoys visiting with the regulars who continue to stop by the Greenville office.

Engel appreciates the chance to serve local farmers. “Our clients are forward thinkers who adapt to change and are willing to try new things. They are good people to be working for.”