March 1, 2021


MaxYield Helps Develop New Course at Iowa Lakes


20141008_maxyield_199 (1024x681)Ask any cooperative what’s one of the toughest jobs to fill, and you’ll consistently hear commercial applicator. That’s why MaxYield Cooperative has been working with Iowa Lakes Community College to create an innovative new course to train the next generation of professional agronomy applicators.

“Qualified commercial applicators are very hard to find,” said Diane Streit, human resources director for MaxYield Cooperative. “It’s a skilled job that involves a lot of technology. We’re trying to create solutions that help prepare more people for this rewarding career.”

MaxYield collaborated with other members of the Iowa Lakes Ag Steering Committee to identify gaps in training for ag applicator jobs, develop a list of required skill competencies, and share suggestions on what to include in training curriculums. In May 2014, Iowa Lakes started developing a new, seven-week training program for commercial applicators. The first students began taking classes in late January 2015.

“We knew we needed to work fast to meet this need, since local cooperatives can’t wait for students to complete a two-year program,” said Jolene Rogers, executive director of business and community relations for Iowa Lakes Community College. “MaxYield gave us wonderful input to move forward.”

Putting knowledge into practice
Iowa Lakes’ ag applicator curriculum includes weed identification, nozzles, drift, GPS technology, motors, applicator safety and more, along with training to enhance students’ skills in math, communication, critical thinking and troubleshooting. To develop the curriculum, Rogers worked with a retired agronomy professor from the University of Minnesota, who is teaching many of the courses.

“Our goal is to help students gain a good understanding of the technology skills and strong work ethic today’s applicators must possess,” Rogers said.

Iowa Lakes also partnered with experts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who will teach a two-day training session on managing spray drift. “We’re excited to offer this not only through the curriculum, but as a professional development seminar for agronomy applicators in the area,” Rogers said.

Iowa Lakes is the only community college in Iowa to offer an ag applicator training program like this. The current class includes 10 students who are employees of local cooperatives. They are attending full days of classes Tuesday and Wednesday each week through March 18. “The ag applicator class will be offered again in the fall of 2015, where we hope to recruit new people to the industry,” Rogers said.

Future course offerings will last 10 weeks and will include a two-week mentorship/on-the-job training component. Students will participate in mock job interviews at the program’s conclusion. “We want students who complete the training to come away with a commercial pesticide license, a good paying job, and a commitment to a career in agriculture,” Rogers said.

Leading the way
MaxYield appreciates all the time and resources Iowa Lakes has invested in the ag applicators’ training course. “We realize that the training is just step one,” Streit said. “We’ll also train the team members we hire to help them become skilled applicators.”

Iowa Lakes is proud to work with MaxYield to drive economic development in the area. “We’re focused on meeting the needs of the local businesses,” Rogers said. “We appreciate MaxYield’s commitment to quality and leadership in the ag industry.”

Why Consider an Ag Applicator Career?

If you’re motivated to work in a dynamic environment, thrive on technology, and are committed to accuracy, you should consider a career as a commercial applicator. Working as an applicator:

1. Offers many opportunities to run high-powered equipment with the latest technology.

2. Allows you to use an array of skills, especially if you’re mechanically inclined. It’s a plus that
MaxYield Cooperative has invested in upgraded, modern shop facilities.

3. Provides job security. Applicator skills are always in high demand, no matter the economy.

4. Helps you launch your career, restart your career, or grow your career to move up into sales or management.

“Our clients depend on applicators who take great pride in their work and provide outstanding service,” said Diane Streit, human resources director for MaxYield Cooperative. “We are always looking for new people to join our team.”

To learn more about career opportunities at MaxYield, log on to www., and
click on the “Join the Team” link at the top of the home page.

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