Friday, January 31, 2014

Relevance - Standing the Test of Time

By Dave Christiansen, President and CEO
Regardless of what cooperative I happened to be serving at the time, it’s certainly been interesting over the years to pause and reflect on the relevance we possessed and to whom. The first time I recall listening to a discussion about relevance was in the mid-'70s when the co-op I was working for achieved record sales. That certainly seemed a big deal at the time and I recall our vendors treated us as such. As an employee group we took a lot of pride in what our relevance meant we could deliver to our customers. At the time, little did we know the bar to be considered relevant in the agricultural industry was beginning a very rapid ascent.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Team Marketing Wins Awards for Excellence

Congratulations to our partners at Team Marketing Alliance (TMA) of Moundridge. TMA was honored for dedication to excellence in customer service at the recent Seventh Annual Diversified Crop Insurance Services Spring Training event.

TMA partners with Diversified Crop Insurance Services to provide risk management tools and opportunities for farmers and farm owners. During this meeting, DCIS recognizes those who have provided outstanding leadership and administration of the Federal Crop Insurance program by presenting awards for excellence.

Team Marketing Alliance and DCIS have worked diligently to ensure that farmers are provided with the most up-to-date information to make the most informed decisions for their operations.

During the three-day conference, attendees networked with other crop insurance professionals from across the nation. They also participated in additional training that will enable them to even better assist their customers.

TMA's Crop Insurance Specialists earning recognition include David Yenni, Lindsey Wilson, Mardee Hollenbeck, Nick Levine, Steve Hughbanks and Danny Flynn. 

Team Marketing Alliance, located in Moundridge, is an independent agency for Diversified Crop Insurance Services. The agency phone number is (620) 345-3560.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Delivering a Helping Hand

By Nichole Gouldie, Communications Specialist

July through August is a busy time for Kansas farmers. Throw in record-setting rainfall, and the pressure is multiplied many times over for producers, meaning busy times for their cooperative. MKC saw this pressure this past summer but was relieved to know some friends up north were there to deliver a helping hand.
"This year was a very unusual year for our trade territory due to all the rain we had in late July and early August," said Erik Lange, Director of Southern Operations for MKC. "Generally by mid-August we are beginning to get busy with pre-plant wheat fertilizer applications but due to very wet soil considerations we were unable to start in a timely fashion. By the end of the second week of August, Steve Peterson and I had begun to talk about alternative methods to get our customers taken care of. It came to mind we should call South Dakota Wheat Growers and see if they had people or assets available to help us get caught up."
According to Lange, this relationship started with a phone call with Phil Gilbert, SDWG regional manager. Over time, Gilbert and Lange have built a relationship, continuing to find ways to help the other organization when they can.
"It isn’t easy to move rigs, but people and tender trucks move quickly," Lange said. "We looked at our situation and realized if we could just tender our existing equipment better we could cover more acres."
According to Lange, MKC consciously understaffs tender drivers because it is a seasonal task and normally elevator employees can be relied on to fill in. This year fall harvest started and the elevator employees were engaged in servicing grain customers at the same time fertilizer needed to be applied. "SDWG’s assistance worked out great as they were in their very slow time of the year and had drivers and extra tender trucks underutilized," he said. "Overall, SDWG sent 11 different drivers and four tender trucks to Kansas."
Prior to the SDWG team traveling to Kansas, six dry tender trucks, three dry rigs and nine employees of MKC traveled to South Dakota in May 2011. Over this three-week period, the MKC crew helped SDWG meet their customer’s fertilizer application and delivery needs in a year that the weather provided unusual challenges.
SDWG began as a state wheat pool in 1923 and has grown into one of the most successful cooperatives in the United States. They are an agronomy cooperative in the heart of the James River Valley of South and North Dakota. Owned by the customers it serves, SDWG exists to provide value for customer owners from Interstate 90 to Interstate 94 and the Missouri River to Interstate 29.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Schmidt Retires After 38 Years in Industry

After 38 years of service to the cooperative industry, John Schmidt officially retired on December 19.

"I have enjoyed working for and with our customers," Schmidt said. "They have brightened my day many times."

Schmidt said the bucket list after retirement is pretty long and includes traveling, catching up on projects that have been put off for a long time and doing some volunteer work in a couple of areas.

"It has been a pleasure to work with all the employees of MKC," Schmidt said. "I will be in the area for the foreseeable future, so I am sure I will be able to visit with some of you occasionally."

MKC wishes John well as he enjoys retirement. We hope he'll stop in and say "hi" from time to time!