MPS In Action Blog

Your Blog for Farm News and Information

Welcome to the MPS In Action blog, your AgVenture Seed Company link to the latest in news, information and education from across our independent Regional Seed Company network and the industry as a whole. Check this space often for the latest tips to increasing production and profit on your farm.

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July 20, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (July 20, 2016) – "Higher yields and greater profitability start with a mindset," said Jeff Jackson, General Manager of Agrithm, LLC., Byron Illinois. "Our customers deserve the very best seed, professional support, and tools available to make those goals a reality. We take our role in that equation very seriously. Our continuing education workshops prepare us to deliver the support necessary to maximize profitably on every acre."

Jackson was one of nearly 40 AgVenture Regional Seed Company representatives from across the Midwest who recently convened in Moline, Illinois for the Summer Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) Workshop. During the two-day intensive training event, participants engaged in structured learning programs, and heard from industry-leading experts in agronomy, and professional seed sales and service.

AgVenture's MPS is an integrated approach to helping customers dramatically increase yields, lower cost per bushel, raise average production history (APH), and improve overall profitability. It helps customers maximize profitability through careful execution of management tactics at each phase of crop planning, growth and development.

Jackson continued, "MPS is an approach that actually starts in the fall and allows forward progress toward achieving higher yields throughout the calendar year. We work one-on-one with and for our customers; from the time we meet with them at harvest to consider the tillage and residue management used to prepare for next year's crop. We support their specific selection of locally adapted, high-performing seed/trait combinations, and guide them toward impeccable planting standards. Once the crop is up, we are there working with them in the field to support their crop nutrient plans, their pest and disease management decisions, etc. At each step, we work to make a real and positive difference for our customers. Those committed to the program have yields that prove it."

Trevor Jaco, of Mayberry Seed Co., Essex, Missouri also participated in the event. He added, "Dramatic increases in yields come from a dramatic shift away from farming the same old way, and a renewed, long-term focus on yield and profitability. That's what MPS is all about. The more prepared, knowledgeable and equipped we can be to assure that happens for our customers, the better off they are. That's what this is all about."

Participants focused on professional sales training with Rod Osthus, President of the R.C. Thomas Company, the nation's top seed sales training and consulting firm. In-season agronomy management strategies were presented by Jerry Hartsock, Cutting Edge Consulting and Research Services, of Geneseo, Illinois. AgVenture, Inc. personnel provided in-depth product and technology updates along with strategies for success.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

July 6, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (June 30, 2016) – Kentland, Indiana-based AgVenture D&M continues to grow. As the company serves their growing customer base across Indiana, eastern Illinois and western Kentucky, they have a new hire who will be working close to the home base. Drake Babcock has joined the company as an AgVenture Yield Specialist.

AgVenture D&M Sales Manager, Brian Maxwell said, "Just as having the right seed in the right place is important to our customers, it's important that we have employees who know the land, the people and the community. We're very pleased to have Drake join our team. His competence and professionalism will be valuable assets to our customers and our team."

Drake Babcock

Babcock, a native of White County, has taught ag education at South Newton High School for the past three years. He is a graduate of Purdue University where he majored in Agricultural Education and Ag Business. Many across the area know him as a past state FFA officer. He served as treasurer and traveled the state and the region supporting the organization.

Babcock said, "One thing that really drew me to this company is their dedicated focus on education. They have a committed program for continued education for all employees. We dig deep to learn the latest tools and techniques that support our customers' goals."

He cited AgVenture's Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) as a prime example of how AgVenture D&M makes a difference for their customers. MPS is a systems-based approach that helps customers maximize profitablity through careful execution of management tactics at each phase of crop planning, growth and development.

Babcock said, "What we strive to do with MPS makes a real difference in the field and on the spreadsheet. At the end of the day, the numbers have to be there. From a business perspective, MPS drives the higher yields, higher APH, and lower cost per bushel. That has a positive influence on the bottom line – overall profitablity."

He added, "I am very excited to work directly with the families and farms in my home area. It's a real privilege to provide them with our seed products and our professional support to keep our communities thriving."

Babcock resides in Goodland, Indiana.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

June 28, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (June 24, 2016) - AgVenture Pinnacle-Princeton, based at Princeton, Illinois has welcomed Emily La Sage as AgVenture Yield Specialist. She joins their elite team of agronomic professionals working directly with customers across northwestern and northcentral Illinois.

AgVenture Pinnacle-Princeton's Todd Ashpole said, "Emily brings a great enthusiasm to the job. She is very focused on providing our customers and their crops the specialized attention necessary to help them advance their production and profitability goals." He added, "Emily is a hard worker who has had several rigorous internship experiences prior to joining AgVenture Pinnacle-Princeton. She has gained experience and knowledge in the areas of ag finance, crop insurance, marketing and agronomics."

Emily La Sage

Ashpole said as the growing season progresses, they are witnessing the strong advantages that the Maximum Profit System™ (MPS) provides. He explained that MPS is a comprehensive production management approach that dramatically increases yields, lowers cost per bushel, and improves overall profitability.

"It takes an integrated approach, intensive management, and focus to push our productivity boundaries. Our team of AgVenture Yield Specialists across northern Illinois is dedicated to working one-on-one with our customers, helping them achieve those higher yield and profit goals. Emily is a great addition to our team. We look forward to influence on our customers' profitability.

Originally from Jackson, Wisconsin, La Sage is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Platteville where she earned a degree in Agricultural Business. While at the university, she was an active member of Sigma Alpha sorority and Agriculture Ambassadors. She was a member of the BILSA Marketing Team, where she and fellow team members competed at the national level. She has shown dairy animals since the age of four. She has taken her passion for showing to the next level and is now a 4-H leader, guiding youth to learn and grow through showing livestock.

La Sage said, "I am very pleased to be part of AgVenture Pinnacle-Princeton. Our customers are among the most innovative and productive producers in the world. I look forward to supporting them throughout the years ahead."

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

June 24, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (June 23, 2016) - The fourth annual Earl H. Passwaters Scholarship has been awarded to Rachel Schurman, daughter of Jacob and Sherry Schurman of DeMotte, Indiana. Rachel is a sophomore at Purdue University majoring in Animal Agribusiness. The one-thousand-dollar scholarship is awarded annually to a college student pursuing a career in agriculture. Full-time students with a 3.0 grade point or higher are eligible. 

The scholarship recognition event was held on the campus of Purdue University and followed by a dinner. Schurman and her parents were welcomed by Beth Passwaters and members the AgVenture staff, and by Regional Seed Company representatives including East Coast Seed Owner, Mark Davis, and other interns and guests. 

The Earl H. Passwaters Agricultural Scholarship was established in memory of Earl Passwaters, owner of East Coast Seed, who passed away suddenly in 2011. Earl’s wife, Beth Passwaters said, “The scholarship is offered on behalf of myself, and our children, Brian and Mandy. Throughout his career, Earl was passionate about working directly with young farmers. With a strong belief in the value of education supported by experience, he remained committed to supporting their efforts. Through the scholarship, his legacy endures.”

At the recognition program, Passwaters said, “We are very proud to offer this scholarship to Rachel. She is a dedicated student with a passion for the agriculture industry. We are proud to support her in her academic and ag career pursuits.”

Schurman said, “I am and honored to receive the Passwaters Scholarship. I appreciate the financial support. In addition, I am truly humbled by the outpouring of genuine interest in and support for me in my developing career offered by Mrs. Passwaters and everyone at AgVenture. Our family plants AgVenture seed. Their commitment to their customers is genuine, and that makes me feel very welcomed into the field of agriculture.” 

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

June 20, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (June 17, 2016) - AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames has welcomed Mitchell Carroll as an Ag Yield Advisor. Carroll, from Corwith, Iowa, will work with area farmers providing them with access to AgVenture® brand seed products and year round professional seed support.

AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames Manager Jim Groepper said, "We are pleased to welcome Mitchell as an Ag Yield Advisor. His experience growing up farming has fueled his passion for learning. Throughout college, he gained experience working in ag retail, focused on agronomy services. He will be a great addition to our growing team."Mitchell Carroll

Groepper said Carroll is currently participating in AgVenture's company-wide Trainee and Intern Development program. "Participation in the program helps assure he meets the learning milestones necessary to help our customers advance their goals. Mitchell is learning from some of the best in the industry what it takes to maximize profitability. We look forward to his contributions to our customers and our team."

Carroll said, "The more I learn about this company and about our products, the more excited I am to take the approach to the field and put it to work. Our commitment to helping customers maximize profitability is thorough and solid. It provides them the seed, the tools, the science, and the support needed to raise APH. It's not about selling seed. It’s a committed approach to building productivity and profitability for our customers. Year after year, that means every grower becomes a better grower. I look forward to working with my customers."

Carroll is a recent graduate from Iowa State University where he majored in Agriculture Studies and minored in Agronomy.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation's largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area they serve. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

 

 

June 14, 2016

JOHNSTON, IOWA (June 10, 2016) - AgVenture D&M, based at Kentland, Indiana has welcomed a new AgVenture Yield Specialist to their growing team. Ross Kleinsteiber of Paxton, Illinois is supporting customers across east central Illinois, providing them with access to AgVenture® brand seed products and year-round professional seed support. 

AgVenture D&M Sales and Marketing Manager, Brian Maxwell said, "Ross is a great addition to the D&M team. His experience in ag retail and seed sales gives him a solid foundation specific to crop production in east central Illinois. He knows the soils and the environments in which our customers are working to improve yields and APH. His contributions will help them advance both their production and profitability goals." 

Ross Kleinsteiber

Kleinsteiber grew up working on farms in and around his hometown of Paxton. He attended Parkland Community College in Champaign where he studied agribusiness. He continued his education and earned his Emergency Medical Services certification.

"I am very impressed with AgVenture D&M, their people, the seed products, and their unique approach to working with customers one-on-one throughout the year," said Kleinsteiber. "All of our team members focus on practical methods; applying the best in agronomic science to profitable crop production at every point throughout the growing season. With tools like the Maximum Profit System™, we are doing so much more than offering seed. We actively provide our customers the tools they need to improve yields dramatically, to lower their cost of production per bushel, and to see the results of maximizing each seed’s potential in improved profitability across the farm. I am very pleased to serve this community of farmers."

Kleinsteiber and his wife, Brook, have an 18-month old son, Kaiden. They enjoy spending time with friends and family in their community. 

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. AgVenture provides this growing network of Regional Seed Companies with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

June 10, 2016
By Heath Hill

I am 46 years old and the third-generation farmer on a century farm in Iowa that’s been in our family since 1909. I have a wife, Lesli, and a 16-year-old son. I farm with my father Craig on about 750 acres, and everything is precision farmed. We plant about 75% corn and 25% soybeans, though this year we will be almost two-thirds corn and one-third soybeans. Our dirt’s a little too black for a 50/50 rotation with corn and soybeans, so we usually do a two-year or three-year corn to every year soybeans.

We’re located about 20 miles north and two miles east of Ames, Iowa, in a town called Ellsworth. I’m fortunate in that my parents still own the home on the land, and I arguably live in the most beautiful acreage in the state of Iowa. It is an insane amount of work to mow, but we have a baseball field out front and all kinds of things. Even the barn, which is the oldest structure on the property from 1909, is gorgeous. About seven years ago, every single piece of wood on the exterior was removed and replaced with shiplap or tongue-and-groove boards and then repainted, so it’s very well kept.

I’ve never waxed my planter, but I wax everything else — the combine at least once a year, our tractors twice a year. I even wax the ripper. People think we’re a little bit finicky, but that’s just the way we’re going to be.

Working with AgVenture

We’ve been planting AgVenture corn for three years now, and we have grown test plots the last couple of years. Initially, we hadn’t heard of AgVenture, so we started out very small with the acres we planted with them — but this next year they’ll encompass more than half of our acres. I think also we’ve influenced a number of others around here — and in our area, change is kind of slow. “Grandma always cuts the ham in half,” as they say. Even giving 25% per year to a different seed company is pretty dramatic around here, but with AgVenture, we’ve been more dramatic than we’ve ever been with any company.

AgVenture’s seed quality, precision and attention to detail were what drew us in — as well as their willingness to help manage and fine-tune an organization. If you’ve got 3,000 acres, you can afford to make a few mistakes. If you have 750, you can’t. So we really have to get it right. Josh and Jim and Merlin and everybody at AgVenture in Ames truly go the extra mile — almost to being annoying at times (in a nice way). Josh is my AgVenture Yield Specialist and the guy I work with the most. We have a daily or weekly interaction. Then with seed size and selection, not only is Josh 100% available, but I can also call Merlin or Jim and say, “OK, here’s what I’m looking at. Here’s what we planted the last two years. How are they going to interact? What do we need to put on for insecticide? Etc.” All of them are very knowledgeable.

When Josh comes to the farm, he’s out here scouting, evaluating the planting depth, and he gives me a report card of how well I do — and it’s a written, half-sheet report card. That is comical if you think of what other seed companies do. There is no one who has ever given me a report card — and I love it. I love the fact that they’re critiquing me, saying things like, “You’re planting a bit too fast,” or “You’re going a bit too shallow.” Planter report cards are a big deal. Then Josh will come out three weeks later and do a Net Effective Plant Stand (NEPS) test . If you ask any other farmer what NEPS is, they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. But again, that’s the precision of AgVenture. If you have to operate on 750 acres, you do it well. But we’d do this again if we had 3,000 acres; we’d sill operate at this level of criticism or critique.

June 7, 2016
By Aaron Paus

We’ve been pretty productive since last fall. We went hard preparing the fields, and we started planting at a reasonable time — around April 15. I wasn’t in a hurry, because we were working on our planter and waiting for the right field conditions. For a while, our fields were nice and moist in some areas, but for the most part, we were plenty dry. We had snow on the first week of February — about 15 inches — and we barely had a thing since, so had about two months with negligible moisture. It’s very unusual. We’re not exactly wet country like out East, but we can expect a couple inches of rain in the spring.

 

I haven’t gone so far as to figure out what we’re doing about water restrictions. Last time we were in a situation like this, it was pretty unnerving. I went through about half my allocation just to get to pollination, and I never would have had enough allocation to get through, but that was the year we had a very generous amount of rain, so we made it okay. Since then we’ve always had enough rain in springtime. We haven’t had to worry about it.

 

Through everything this spring, Jeremy has of course been helping us out. We worked out most of our fertilizer maps and planting maps. He came to deliver seed around the first of March. Everything on their end is going nice and smooth.

 

I was looking at ramping up some remote soil sampling probes, and we were up and ready to run on that, but this year’s financial strains have me dragging my feet. So as far as doing the beta testing, I’m still deciding whether I’m going to write a check or not. It’s going to be a tough sell for me at this point. Things were a little tight going into the year, and we’ve lost two irrigation motors and one pickup motor since then, so that’s several thousand dollars I didn’t plan for that we’re out so far.

 

Other than that, we’re just keeping an eye on the markets. There’s quite a bit of speculation that the 93 million acre number for planting prediction of corn was high to start with, and that has shifted the market where beans gained a little and corn lost a bunch. So that’s probably going to shift about 3 million acres out of corn and into beans during planting. That takes it down to 90 to 91 million, which is a magical number and hopefully the market can sustain a $4 corn price. So there’s hope.

 

May 3, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA / MINDEN, NEBRASKA (May 2, 2016) — Scott Hitzemann of East Seward, Nebraska has joined AgVenture Pinnacle AVN at Minden, Nebraska. Hitzemann is a seasoned seed professional with more than 20 years of experience serving growers with his agronomic and seed expertise. As an AgVenture Yield Specialist, he will be working one-on-one with farmers in the Lincoln, Seward, and Malcom, Nebraska region.

During his career, Hitzemann worked in sales and management roles with seed companies, and as an agronomy manager at a large cooperative. AgVenture Pinnacle-AVN manager, Jeremy McCroden said, “Scott brings our customers a solid knowledge of both seed and the agronomics it takes to produce higher yielding, higher profit on every acre. He will be a great asset to our team and our customers.”

McCroden added, “Scott will provide his customers with year round, dedicated seed support along with access to locally adapted and selected seed products, seed that meets or exceeds the industry’s highest quality standards. In addition, he will help them employ our Maximum Profit System™, a systems-based approach to dramatically increasing yields, lowering cost per bushel and improving overall profitability. The results of careful management are having a profound and positive effect on our customers’ bottom line.”

Hitzemann said, “My experience to date lends itself well to this new role as AgVenture Yield Specialist. I have a great respect for AgVenture Pinnacle-AVN. It is a very professional company with a family-business feel. Working together, we really focus on putting our customers first, serving their needs at every phase of crop production. It is about helping each customer maximize profitability on every acre, and with AgVenture Pinnacle AVN, we have the people, products and unique tools to make it happen for our customers.”

“I’m most impressed with our dedicated focus on seed quality, and placing the locally adapted seed products in the correct environment to maximize yield, raise APH and contribute to the grower’s profitability. I look forward to bringing our innovative tools and production methods to my customers,” said Hitzemann.
A native of Hampton, Nebraska, Hitzemann graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in ag studies and a minor in agronomy. Hitzemann and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s lagest network of independently owned regional seed companies. Based in Kentland, Indiana, AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

April 12, 2016

KENTLAND, INDIANA (April 12, 2016) — Humboldt native Jesse Haselhuhn has joined AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames and will serve customers across central and eastern Iowa as an AgVenture Yield Specialist/OptiGro Ag Lead.

Haselhuhn has worked for a large cooperative for the past three years focusing on precision agriculture services. As an AgVenture Yield Specialist, he’ll support growers’ agronomic and production management needs. He will further support customers and his team members, anchoring the growing demand for precision ag services and the benefits they provide.

AgVenture Pinnacle-Ames General Manager, Jim Groepper said the Company is committed to providing customers with locally selected and adapted hybrids and varieties, and seed with the industry’s highest standards for seed quality. “Beyond that, we provide our customers with year-round, on-farm support with tools including our Maximum Profit System™, a program that dramatically increases yields, lowers cost per bushel and improves overall profitability. Together with our crop input products and precision ag services, including OptiGro®, we can provide our customers with the full set of products and professional services that provide long-term viability and profitability.”

He added, Jesse will play an important role in helping us deliver our OptiGro services directly to the field. Our OptiGro services include mapping, sampling and data extraction. Utilizing each of these tools together has helped many customers make more timely, more accurate, and better decisions for their farms. Jesse has the real time experience to help our customers gain advantages through their precision ag applications.”

Haselhuhn said, “I’m very excited to work with our entire team. They are each focused on the long-term relationships we have with our customers. As growers become more immersed in the precision ag tools available, they are quickly realizing what an important component precision plays in profitability. I look forward to helping them better use the data and tools available, maximizing profitability for the long run.”

A 2015 graduate of Iowa State University, Haselhuhn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Studies. He resides in Ames, Iowa.

AgVenture, Inc. is the nation’s largest network of independently owned regional seed companies. Based in Kentland, Indiana, AgVenture provides this growing network of independently owned and managed seed business owners with seed products meeting exacting standards for quality, together with leading-edge genetics and technology. Since 1983, this unique marketing approach has allowed each individual company to match the hybrids and varieties it sells to the specific needs of the geographical area it serves. Combined with professional seed representation at a local level, AgVenture strives to help every grower realize more profit from every field.

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