Monday, December 31, 2012

Making a difference

MKC employees take great pride in donating their time to communities and charitable organizations. MKC encourages their employes to help keep their communtiies strong by supporting organizations of their choosing.  Lane Allison, Seed Logistics Coordinator, is one more employee who volunteers to make a difference.

Lane is very involved within his community through several groups including Personal Energy Transportation (PET), a local nonprofit group in Moundridge. The organiztion manufactures and delivers all-terrain, self-powered wheel chairs to people in developing countries.  He has helped deliver 11 PET chairs to children and adults during two separate trips to Ethiopia.

"I would much rather donate my time and energy in a way that I can meet the people I am supporting and develop an actual relationship with them and know exactly to who or what my contribution is going toward.  These trips have allowed me to see the true happiness and joy from these people simply by receiving the gift of mobility.  I am extremely grateful to have witnessed that firsthand." - Lane Allison

Thursday, December 27, 2012

MKC to award nine scholarships

Mid Kansas Cooperative Association will award a total of nine scholarships valued at $500 each to high school seniors within the MKC trade territory.  Any high school senior who plans to attend an accredited university or college including junior, community, vocational or technical school is eligible to apply.

"We are pleased to offer the scholarships," states Kerry Watson Communications/Administrative Specialist for MKC.  "This is our opportunity to recognize outstanding students in our communities who have demonstrated a balance of academics, school activities and community activities."

Applications are available online at and are also available through area high school guidance counselors' offices.  Application deadline is March 15, 2013.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joining forces for ag education

Educating today’s youth about agriculture has become a concern for many in recent years. Often children do not understand that many of the things they use every day are products of agriculture, nor do they realize the farm equipment and products they could encounter have potential to cause them harm.

Third graders across Dickinson County gathered earlier this fall in Abilene for “Ag Day” sponsored by the Dickinson County Farm Bureau, a day of farm education, safety, and fun.  Matt McCune, Talmage Location Manager, was on hand to assist Jeff Bathurst, an area producer, with a station on crop nutrient and crop protection safety.

Bathurst, who farms in the Abilene and Talmage area, has participated in the Farm Safety Day for the past eight years and places an emphasis in his farming practice on educating kids. McCune saw where Bathurst had been recognized in the community for his involvement in Ag Day in previous years and approached him about MKC getting involved in the education effort. This is now the second year the two have partnered to present for Farm Bureau.

 “It is important to educate the public about chemicals and what we use them for,” said Bathurst. “Part of MKC’s strength is they understand the farmer and we appreciate the help in educating the public.”
Students were shown the size of an acre of land, discussed safety practices when dealing with crop protection/nutrition products, and had a chance to view one of the Case Patriot sprayers, with 120 foot booms, MKC utilizes in agronomy services.

The students were amazed to learn from McCune that the spray rig could “drive itself” through the use of GPS technology and auto steer.
 “I feel that we need to educate kids in our cities and towns about farm safety, because there is a high likelihood that these kids will encounter farm equipment at some point in their life,” said McCune. 

Shane Eck, Lindsborg Location Manager, recently got involved in the effort to help educate area youth on agriculture by presenting a program on the process of how food and everyday products travel from the farm to their hands.

“I wanted to get involved in classroom education because I feel it is important to teach the next generation about the importance of agriculture.  There are a lot of individuals that do not truly realize the impact agriculture has on society and how much we rely on it,” said Eck.
Eck presented to the fourth grade class at Eisenhower Elementary School in McPherson, beginning his presentation by asking the students what kind of things they used every day. Responses ranged from vehicles to breakfast cereals.

Through an image based web map, students were shown how vehicles could be traced back to the farm by the use of ethanol fuels, a product of corn and milo, which are made locally in Kansas. Or how the cereal they had for breakfast was made from a wheat product.
“The class was very involved and receptive which helped the lesson progress as we hoped,” Eck commented.

Students then moved onto building a model pizza discussing how each ingredient in the pizza from the dough to the toppings came from agriculture. And as a treat for lunch, pizza was provided to solidify the idea that agriculture is truly what feeds them.
“The agriculture presentation by Mid Kansas Coop was a very engaging hands-on experience for my class,” said Tiffany Pacey, fourth grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary.

“I felt the program went very well,” said Eck. “Since it was our first time presenting it I was unsure of how well it would be received.” 
Eck commented that he would like to further develop the program for middle and high school aged kids with a more advanced program that focuses on career opportunities in agriculture.

MKC places an emphasis on environmental and community stewardships as written in its Core Values. Involvement in safety and education programs is just one way this is demonstrated.
“They learned about where their food comes from through a wonderful visual display, and learned about the various crops grown in Kansas and their uses,” said Pacey. “My students loved looking at and touching all the grains that are grown in Kansas.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Revenue program protected production costs during drought

2012 marked the second year that MKC worked with Swiss Re to offer a revenue program designed to assist producers manage the risk associated with the production of double crop soybeans. While MKC promoted the program to producers, MKC did not assume any of the financial risk associated with it.

In 2011, the first year the program was offered, Swiss Re paid out over $2.65 million to 138 producers throughout 11 counties.  During the growing season of 2012, the program was utilized by over 200 producers in 21 counties. Approximately $2 million will be paid to those producers.

MKC was the first in the nation in 2011 to offer this one-of-a-kind program to producers when double crop soybeans weren’t traditionally eligible for federal crop insurance. Following the program laid out by MKC, several other vendors in the state adopted similar programs.

The risk associated with double crop beans is typically weather related, drought being the largest issue over the past two years.

“Due to unfortunate growing conditions the vast majority of fields have seen yield reduction which will result in a significant number of customers receiving payments,” said Dave Spears Chief Marketing Officer for MKC.

"While the growing conditions were unfortunate, we are fortunate in that we were able to offer this risk management tools to our members," stated Spears.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Enter our holiday photo contest!

Mid Kansas Cooperative invites members and employees to participate in its holiday photo contest.  We are looking for colorful photos that depict a rural holiday scene in Kansas.

Three prizes will be awarded. The winning entry will win a $50 Cenex gift card and the potential to earn the cover of the December 2013 issue of Connections, the cooperative’s periodical that is mailed to approximately 4000 households.  Second and third place entries will receive a $25 Cenex gift card and the potential to be used in seasonal marketing materials for MKC.
Photos will become the property of MKC and will be posted on MKC’s social media sites.  To participate, submit your photos to photocontest@mkcoop.comPhotos should be high resolution (not to exceed 5MB) and submitted in JPEG or GIF format by no later than Friday, January 11, 2013. For additional details, read the Contest Rules.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brightening the holidays for those less fortunate

MKC employees, Shannon Hastings and Erin Riley wrap a
number of presents donated by employees for the
Angel Tree program.
MKC employees are giving back this holiday season by purchasing gifts for those who are less fortunate and donat-ing them to Angel Tree programs throughout MKC's territory.
MKC’s Community Involvement Committee coordinated the company’s participation in the program.  According to committee member, Matt Henderson, MKC committed to providing 119 gifts. While many Angel Tree programs often provide for toys and clothing for children, MKC employees chose to provide clothing as gifts.
"We know there are families struggling to provide gifts for their children," stated Henderson.  "We just wanted to make sure their Christmas was a little bit brighter."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Diligent about safety

Providing a safe environment for employees and customers is a top priority at MKC. Increasing our employee’s awareness of potential hazards is just a small part of MKC’s safety preparedness and training programs. 

Recently, the cardtrol fuel site at Moundridge experienced a minimal product spill due to an overflow.  This occurred when the vehicle’s overflow protection failed to release the latch on the fuel nozzle.  MKC employees, Cody Dent, Davin Girard and Rory Howard are trained as Class C Operators and observed the mishap during their morning process of measuring fuel tanks.  

Kansas Department of Health and Environment requires a report of spills exceeding 10 gallons.  Although this particular event was estimated to be approximately one gallon, the alert employees did not take it lightly and immediately proceeded with proper procedures to clean the spill.  The customer also took action and had the vehicle’s overflow protection inspected and repaired. It is the awareness of these employees and customer that helped prevent any further problems. 

Our employees’ knowledge of equipment and their surroundings helps provide a safe environment.  It is this diligence that helps ensure every customer and employee who steps foot on MKC property returns safely home to their family.