November 24, 2020

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: A Minute with Board Member Barry Anderson

When Barry Anderson was growing up and saw his father, Wendell, serving on the local pork producers’ board and Dickens co-op board, he learned an unforgettable life lesson.

“Both my dad and mom emphasized that it does no good to sit on the sidelines and complain,” said Anderson, a Greenville-area farmer who is serving his fourth year on MaxYield Cooperative’s board. “They instilled in me the value of being part of the solution.”

This spirit guides Anderson as he represents MaxYield’s West Area. We recently caught up with him to see what he sees for the future of MaxYield and local agriculture.

Q: What’s the one thing you want members and clients to know about MaxYield?

A: MaxYield is more than a place to deliver grain. This is a place where you can find a wide variety of solutions tailored to your needs, from agronomy to energy to grain marketing.

MaxYield’s roots run deep. The cooperative has served local farmers for more than 100 years. We’re here for you in the good times and the tough times.

With the acquisition of our new locations, I’d like everyone to know that MaxYield’s leaders look at the big picture. We always ask, “What will help the company as a whole?” Providing a high level of service keeps the cooperative strong, which benefits each of us in the long run.

Q: What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned by serving on MaxYield’s board?

A: Leadership, vision and communication are keys to success. I appreciate the leadership Keith Heim provides as our CEO. He and MaxYield’s management team are forwarding thinking and make sure MaxYield offers the products and services our members and clients need. MaxYield’s managers, board members, area leaders and team members also work hard to keep the lines of communication open within the cooperative and with our farmer members. We’ve got good people in place and are always looking for ways to improve.

Q: MaxYield grew by seven locations in 2016. Why was that important?
Keith Heim encourages the board to consider ways to help MaxYield expand to better serve our members. We look for potential partners that share our core values and financial focus. With the acquisition of The Andersons, it was interesting to unify locations from a private company with a cooperative. We’ve been able to achieve this transition fairly seamlessly. This growth is allowing MaxYield to expand into a region where there’s a lot of opportunity, from good clients to high-producing farmland.

Q: How does MaxYield benefit clients and local communities?

A: MaxYield is very a professional organization with knowledgeable team members. I’m glad MaxYield provides high-quality employment opportunities in rural Iowa. I’m also proud MaxYield has always been in the forefront of supporting youth by investing in college scholarships and internships for students. MaxYield also supports ag education through Grandpa’s Barn at the Clay County Fair. It’s great to see how MaxYield team members volunteer with many organizations that keep our local communities strong.

Q: What challenges do you think MaxYield will face moving forward?

A: Margins have become very tight now that agriculture is in a down market. This challenge will likely be here for the next several years. MaxYield will need to manage finances carefully while continuing to invest in the business. A co-op has a lot of moving parts, including grain-handling equipment and rolling stock, at our locations. Some of this equipment is newer than others, but we’re trying to keep everything running smoothly. I also appreciate MaxYield’s safety culture, which ensures team members are well-trained so they can work safely and efficiently.

Q: Why is service to the community important?

A:  People’s willingness to serve, and the health of our rural communities, are closely linked. I saw that when my father was serving on local ag and church boards. People need to know we care about them, their businesses and their families. I like serving with MaxYield because I see all the positive things the cooperative is working on to benefit our communities. I’m proud to say I’m a MaxYield board member. I encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and become a leader.

 Editor’s note: Anderson raises corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle south of Spencer. He also serves as a Clay County Supervisor and has been honored with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. Anderson and his wife, Dana, who is a paralegal for an attorney in Spencer, have three children. Their oldest daughter, Megan, works for Sanford Hospital’s foundation in Sioux Falls. Their daughter, Taylor, is a student at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and plans to become an orthodontist. Both girls are planning weddings in 2017. The Anderson’s son, Christopher, is also an SDSU student and serves in the Army National Guard. Christopher hopes to return to Clay County to farm and work in law enforcement. The Andersons’ family “grew” this year, since they have been hosting two foreign exchange students.



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