November 25, 2020

Meet “Mr. Meservey,” Jon Kaduce

Jon KaduceWhen you live in rural Iowa, you don’t always have the chance to work in the community where you live. That’s why Jon Kaduce, an agronomy specialist for MaxYield Cooperative, knows just how lucky he is.

“I always wanted to stay in this area. While I didn’t have the opportunity to farm, working at MaxYield has allowed me to stay connected to agriculture in Meservey.”

Jon isn’t the only one who feels a strong loyalty to his hometown. Meservey (population 256) temporarily grew to 3,000 people when family and friends from across the country returned home to celebrate the community’s 125th anniversary last year.

Here are five things you may not know about Jon and the town he’s proud to call home:

1. Jon grew where he was planted. In the 1960s, Jon grew up on the Fashion Farm just north of town where MaxYield’s anhydrous plant is now located. Jon’s father, Louie, was a manager at the farm, which employed many people and was known for its horses and cattle. “The Fashion Farm could hold up to 1,500 head of cattle, and there were racehorses and a restaurant at the farm, too,” said Jon, who was 14 years old when his family moved off the Fashion Farm. Those were also the years when Meservey boasted two gas stations, a grocery store, a lumberyard, two cooperatives, and a John Deere implement dealership, Jon noted.

2. Jon built his career at the co-op. After graduating from Meservey-Thornton High School in 1981, Jon started working at the co-op in Klemme before relocating to the co-op at Meservey in 1983. “When I started here, Meservey was on the Chicago Northwestern line, and the train still ran through town,” said Jon, who recalled how it took all day to load five train cars with grain. While those days are long gone, the co-op’s agronomy services have become more important than ever. “Our custom application has grown tremendously through the years, and we have the right equipment and team members in place to get the job done,” said Jon, who noted that up to 16 MaxYield team members work out of the Meservey location during the busy spring and fall seasons.

Jon Kaduce - MaxYield Cooperative 3. Giving back to the community is important to Jon. In addition to volunteering with Meservey’s fire department for 24 years, Jon has served as the fire chief for the last six years. He and the 18 firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) volunteers who serve Meservey and rural parts of Wright, Hancock, Cerro Gordo, and Franklin counties are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Whenever my pager goes off for a fire or a car accident, I go,” said Jon, who is glad that MaxYield supports his volunteer work. “We’re a small community, but there’s always someone here to help you.”

4. Jon honors Meservey’s traditions. To raise money for the Meservey’s 125th anniversary in 2011, the fire department recreated an old-fashioned ox feed. “I got a lot of advice from retired firefighters who had done this years ago,” said Jon, who helped smoke about 180 pounds of beef brisket in a pit in his backyard all night. The fire department donated the smoked brisket to the 125th anniversary committee. “We wanted to give back to the community and hope to keep this ox feed tradition going,” Jon said.

5. Jon is glad to have MaxYield in Meservey. Rural roots run deep in the community, said Jon, who went to high school with a number of his MaxYield clients. “We’re also starting to serve the next generation of clients,” said Jon, who appreciates the loyalty of people in the Meservey area. Jon also enjoys visiting with the regulars who stop by the co-op for coffee each morning. “I like being able to take care of clients and find the solutions they need. It’s fun to succeed in small-town America.”

Editor’s note: Jon enjoys spending time with his family, including wife, Julie, who works at the post office in Meservey; his son, Christopher; his step-daughters, Lea and Natasha; and infant grandson, Drake. In the fall, you might find Jon deer hunting with his son and some of his MaxYield team members and clients.

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