January 26, 2021

Smart Moves: 3 Tips for Internship Success from a Former MaxYield Intern

When Emily Campbell was growing up on her family’s southwest Iowa farm, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. By the time she was a student at Iowa State University, she was open to going where she found the best internship opportunities.

In her case, that meant moving more than 100 miles away from home to work at MaxYield Cooperative, first as an intern in the summer of 2019, and now as a full-time talent recruitment and communications specialist. As she works with high schools, colleges and universities through MaxYield’s recruiting efforts, she offers students her top 3 tips to help them find the right internship and full-time job:

  1. Don’t have preconceived ideas of what the “ideal” company might be. Make a list of things that are most important to you in an internship or full-time job. Consider company culture, company size, type of work, opportunities for advancement, salary and benefits, geographic location, continuing education opportunities, etc. Then look at companies that can help you meet your goals. “Ask yourself why you want to work for a certain company,” Campbell said. Is it just the prestige of the company’s name, or the salary? Does the company fit your working style and learning style? “Sometimes students get so caught up in wanting to work for a specific company that they don’t consider other good companies that would fit their goals better,” Campbell said. “You don’t want to miss a golden opportunity that’s right for you.”
  2. Find a mentor. The best internships match students with mentors who help them learn. “I can’t overemphasize the value of a mentor to guide you,” Campbell said. “Mentors can teach you a lot, plus they make it easier for you to build relationships with other team members and other ag professionals.”
  3. Grow your network. Getting to know your team members can make it easier to adjust when you move to a new community to start an internship or full-time job. “Since I moved to northern Iowa, it has been easier to make connections with local people when I say I work for MaxYield or mention some of the people I work with,” Campbell said. “This helps me answer the question, ‘Who are you?’ and helps me build even more relationships in my new community.”

5 Pro Tips for Ag Interns, Job Hunters

Are internships the new entry-level job in the workplace? Time magazine described internships that way in a recent article published during National Intern Day (the last Thursday in July).

It’s more important than ever for internships to be a win-win for both students and employers like MaxYield Cooperative. Mike Gaul, director of career services for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Iowa State University, shares 5 tips to help students find the right internship:

  1. Take your years of experience into consideration. “Freshmen, just get your foot in the door and gain some experience to build upon for future internships,” Gaul said. “Realize that as a freshman you likely won’t be hired for upper-level internships with some of the heavy hitters in the industry.” These employers, however, do value the experience students gain as a freshman and sophomores when they complete internships at other companies. Expectations change the farther students advance in their education. “Juniors, this should be your dream internship, a capstone experience that offers a great chance to return to campus in the fall with a full-time offer in hand,” Gaul said.
  2. Beware of the 5 big mistakes an intern can make. Some simple things are often overlooked by students who don’t realize how important a successful internship can be to their career, including:
    • Lack of open-mindedness. Too many students are not willing to venture out of their comfort zone for summer internships – especially from a geographical perspective. “I need to live at home,” or “I’m paying rent in Ames” are common scenarios. Being geographically restricted, however, eliminates 99 percent of all employment opportunities. “More important, it limits your chance to get out of your personal comfort zone and grow as a person,” Gaul said. “Being open to new experiences will pay huge dividends when you interview for full-time jobs in the future.”
    • Too focused on money. A job is never just about the money. “I understand and respect the focus on money in this era of rising tuition and debt load, but money should not be a deciding factor,” Gaul said. “It’s the good work experience and opportunity to add value to one’s resume that offer the most valuable benefits.”
    • Tunnel vision. Sometimes students set their heart on interning at a well-known company, but overlook other internships that could also suit their career goals just as well—or even better. “I caution students against getting caught up in a ‘name’ and passing up a valuable, comprehensive experience at another company,” Gaul said.
    • Going back to the same internship year after year. “I can understand this, but unless you’re embarking upon work that’s totally different from your previous summer’s internship, look at other companies,” Gaul said. “When in your life are you going to have the opportunity to ‘sample’ three different summer experiences (companies) and walk away with no strings attached after three months?”
    • Having one or more summer voids on your resume. This is especially true if it’s your last summer before you graduate from college. “Nobody wants to be asked the question, ‘Why didn’t you have an internship last summer?’” Gaul said. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Gaul suspects many employers will understand if a student didn’t have a summer 2020 internship.
  3. Ask key questions as you discuss internships with various employers. “Tell me about your company’s track record of converting interns to full-time hires” should rise to the top of the list of must-ask questions, especially for juniors. “This sends a very positive message to the employer, especially in an era when companies are using internships as a feeder system for full-time employment,” Gaul said. It’s also worthwhile to say, “Tell me about the structure of your internship.” Students need to know whether they’ll be exposed to a variety of tasks, or stuck in mundane daily activities, Gaul said. Other great questions include inquiring about company culture, mentorship potential and a potential capstone project. “Students relish the opportunity to take personal ownership in a capstone project,” Gaul said.
  4. Never take a job for the sake of taking a taking a job. This applies to internships as well as full-time jobs. “Do your research on the company, talk to current employees and even talk to competitors to learn as much as possible about the true nature of the internships you’re considering,” Gaul said.
  5. Look beyond the work. View internships not only as a way to make money or gain experience, but to become a more well-rounded person. Take advantage of opportunities to grow your network. Focus on personal accountability. Be the first person to show up in the office each morning, Gaul said. “Also, look at the big picture about how your work fits into the company’s mission. Show that you don’t need much hand-holding and are willing to take the initiative to help the company thrive. People will notice.”

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: 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!

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 www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. 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 www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. 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 www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2021 internships are live NOW!

10 things I wish I would have known before accepting a MaxYield internship

By Emily Campbell

Accepting a new job, an internship, or a big promotion are important events in your life and they bring a lot of feelings with them. When I accepted the Client Relations and Communications internship at MaxYield Cooperative last October, I was incredibly excited but also a little bit anxious. I couldn’t help but thinking “Is this experience really going to be everything I’m expecting?” I knew my experience at MaxYield would be my last internship before graduation, so I really wanted every detail of it to be just the right fit for me.

Now that I’m here, I have nothing to worry about! My experience at MaxYield Cooperative has been a dream from day one. To help put the fears of the next potential class of MaxYield interns to rest, here are 10 things I wish I would have known before accepting a MaxYield internship:


  1. You will not be left to ‘fend for yourself’ on the first day. When I accepted this internship, I was worried that I would just show up on the first day and be expected to ‘figure it out.’ Fortunately, that’s not how it was at all. This first week was filled with comprehensive trainings, onboarding sessions, and time with our mentors to dive into goal and expectations for the summer. It is during these first few days that you build a foundation and roadmap for your summer, which will ultimately lead to a more successful internship.


  1. Your mentor truly cares about you and will do everything they can to make your experience a great one. I have heard horror stories from college classmates interning at other organizations who have been assigned mentors, only to find that those ‘mentors’ would rather be doing anything else than helping an intern. At MaxYield, each intern is assigned at least one mentor who is passionate about facilitating learning experiences over the summer and making sure their intern has a fulfilling experience! My mentor, Chad Meyer, even reached out to me before the internship started to work together to set goals and make plans. This helped me feel more comfortable and efficient in my first few days of the internship.


  1. There is no ‘office drama’. I think we all have this misconception that the larger a workplace is, the more drama it holds. And while that may be true for some organizations, that is not the case at MaxYield Cooperative. I had never worked for a midsize company like MaxYield, so I expected a sudden surge of ‘he said, she said’. I am proud to say that after working for MaxYield Cooperative, I still have no experience with office drama. It sounds a little cliché, but everyone at MaxYield is truly here to help each other and the company succeed. People are happy for each other, and it’s a really welcoming environment.


  1. You will be given all the tools you need to succeed, and then some. MaxYield is committed to providing their interns with all the things they need to have a great summer. Whether it be a company vehicle, laptop or iPad, desktop computer, a generous company uniform allowance, housing reimbursement, or anything in-between, MaxYield Cooperative will give you all the tools you need to do your job and do it well. They also tend to upgrade from year to year so interns get to work with some of the latest equipment. When I arrived in May, there was a brand new video camera for me to break in this summer!


  1. The people in the area are extremely friendly. I knew the team members at MaxYield would be friendly, as I had already met some of them and heard good things about the team prior to starting my internship. However, what I didn’t know was how MaxYield’s clients would treat interns. As it turns out, the people in the greater MaxYield Cooperative trade area accept interns with open arms! One of my best memories is traveling to a tractor owner’s house to interview him for our annual calendar. While there, we had coffee, I met the family cat, and got to hear about his trip on a veteran’s honor flight. Every person I have interacted with, client or not, has been very friendly and genuinely interested in me and my experience.


  1. There are a lot of cool things to do and places to eat here. Before arriving for the summer, I had heard a rumor that Pizza Ranch was like the only restaurant in Northwest Iowa. Birthday dinner? Pizza Ranch. Sunday brunch? Pizza Ranch. Wedding rehearsal? Pizza Ranch- you get the point. Now I don’t want to offend anyone but personally, I’m not a huge fan of ‘The Ranch’, so you can imagine my horror when I thought that every working lunch out would be around a pan of Cactus Bread. To my surprise, there are actually a lot of incredible local places to shop, dine, and do in the MaxYield area! Future interns, I highly recommend The Wagon Wheel and Miller’s to grab a bite, and Feed Mill Coffee Co. or Java 18 for a cup of coffee. In terms of things to do, Crown Salon is my go-to for a pedicure, and both the Kossuth County Speedway and Hancock County Speedway play host to great weekly racing action. Getting to experience the local business offerings of this part of the state has been one of the best things about my summer. Northwest Iowa is a pretty cool place!


  1. Even though MaxYield has many locations and over 200 team members, it still feels pretty small. “How will I ever learn anyone’s name? Will they even know who I am?” I have only ever worked for small companies or family businesses, so working for a midsize company like MaxYield was a new ballgame for me. I don’t know what kind of telepathy the full-time team members have, but it literally seemed like everyone knew me before I even introduced myself! This made me feel welcome at MaxYield from the minute I stepped into the office. It’s also been surprisingly easy to remember everyone’s name, face, job title, and even location. This has made corresponding with others in the company especially easy!


  1. We get to have fun at work, too! My biggest worry leading up to this summer was that it would be all work and no play. Even though I have a great work ethic and enjoy working, I still wanted to have a little downtime here and there. MaxYield Cooperative makes sure to integrate some fun into your summer, too! This “fun” comes in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s your mentor’s crazy stories on a long road trip, an office birthday party planned by our receptionist Deb, or an intern outing to a waterpark. Having fun and having a great summer learning experience go hand-in-hand at MaxYield, and your summer here will be an enjoyable one, for sure!


  1. MaxYield internships are well-rounded. At MaxYield you’re not just focused on getting as much work done as possible. There is emphasis on skill building, networking, professional and personal development, goal setting, industry knowledge, and fun (see #8), too. This is what makes your time at MaxYield more than just a summer job. Whether that’s taking you on an industry tour to the AgCo manufacturing facility or letting you ride along with a freelance photographer, there are a slew of ‘other’ experiences waiting for you at MaxYield!


  1. This experience is truly tailored to your needs. While some parts of the internship are standard from year to year, much of it is left up to you. What parts of the industry would you like exposure to? What skills do you want to build? Where do your career goals lie? Your mentor will work will you to find projects and experiences that fit your needs. I mentioned to Chad that I was interested in recruiting. Recruitment isn’t typically the forefront of the communications and client relations internship, but he was willing to work some related experiences in. Now, I have been involved in all parts of the intern recruiting process, and have even taken on a capstone project on recruitment tactics!


All-in-all, my MaxYield experience has been more than I expected. And, we have a spot for you in 2020! Contact Chad Meyer, Client Relations/Communications Director at cmeyer@maxyieldcooperative or check out the internship page on our website for more information on our internship program.

Interning at MaxYield Through the Eyes of Megan Brown

By Megan Brown

It was late October when I came to MaxYield Cooperative’s Corporate Office for an interview to be this year’s Grain Accounting and Finance intern. Shortly after that interview, I was offered the job which I accepted. I was beyond excited to be coming back home to work for a great company.

Fast forward to May 20th, which was my first day at MaxYield. My first two days here were used to inform us about safety and the company’s history and policies. I was surprised by my first two days here at MaxYield because I could already tell that everyone here was very welcoming, and that they all truly loved their jobs and wanted the interns to succeed.

On the third day, after we had finished all of our onboarding and safety training, it was time to get settled in at my desk and get to work. One of the first things Rick Abrahamson, one of my mentors, showed me was how to update and cancelled Price Later Contracts and Warehouse Receipts. This is something that I now do every morning to make sure that we stay compliant with state regulations. After that I learned how to enter outbound grain settlements into the computer system. I really enjoy entering these settlements, which is good because I usually do about 2 or 3 a day! I have also had the opportunity to work on various projects with different team members, as well as travel to some of the MaxYield locations.

One of the larger projects that I have had the opportunity to work on would be Connection Central, our online client account system. During this project I have had the privilege to work with Kayla Meyer, as well as meet with several MaxYield clients and talk to them about Connection Central. I have found this project to be very rewarding because I am able to see the change that Connection Central is making in the clients’ lives, and how it is making it easier for them to do their business.

Traveling to different MaxYield locations is another great opportunity I have had within my internship so far. I have had the chance to visit 4 different locations and learn from the leaders at those locations about what they do and what their location has to offer. This has been one of my favorite parts of my internship! I have found it very interesting to see all of the difference between the locations and have also learned a lot of different skills from the great people I have met.

It is crazy to think that I’m am nearly done with my internship here at MaxYield. Time has flown by and I am super excited to finish out the last few days of my internship and continuing to learn from the great team members here at MaxYield.

For more information on MaxYield’s internship program, including communications, grain accounting/finance, soil sampling/crop scouting, and agronomy sales, check out www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2020 internship positions will be posted later this summer!

MaxYield Cooperative interns begin to wrap up their summer with final presentations

From left to right: (Front) Megan Brown, Emily Campbell, (Back) CEO Keith Heim, Logan Besch, Hunter Gelhaus, Nick Hunt.

On Thursday, July 27th the 2019 MaxYield Cooperative intern class gave their final presentations to the senior leadership team. Each intern gave a 10-15 minute spoken presentation sharing information about the projects they worked on, what they learned, and what suggestions they have for making next year’s internships even better. Following each presentations interns were also asked questions about themselves and their experience at MaxYield. The interns shared positive feedback with the senior team, and enjoying the people they work with was a common theme throughout. MaxYield’s first extern, Tricia Reichert, also gave her final presentation at the meeting. Watch for a separate blog post highlighting her experience soon!

As our interns wrap up their last few weeks with us, MaxYield Cooperative would like to each of them for a great summer. We have learned a great deal through working with them, and we look forward to seeing where their futures take them!


2019 MaxYield Cooperative Interns

Logan Besch – Soil Sampling/Crop Scouting

Megan Brown – Corporate Grain Accounting/Finance

Emily Campbell – Client Relations/Communications

Hunter Gelhaus – Seed/Agronomy Sales

Nick Hunt – Soil Sampling/Crop Scouting


For more information on MaxYield’s internship program, including communications, grain accounting/finance, soil sampling/crop scouting, and agronomy sales, check out www.maxyieldcooperative.com/internships. Applications for 2020 internship positions will be posted later this summer!