“Reshaping how. Viafield competes in the grain buying ... value of buying in bulk. Viafield is now ... these emails, Kevin stresses to location lead...

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connections inside: 4 6 8 10

Your Direct Grain Advisor Safety First Pay it Forward with Fuel Referrals Reducing the Stress of Grain Marketing

Staying visible. Some of the team members at the Viafield Randalia location.

FALL /W I N T E R 2017


Board of Directors Rick Matt • Clermont Karl Benjegerdes • Manly Steve Fullerton • Rockford Ron Balek • Manly Brad Brownell • Westgate Mark Chambers • Marble Rock Dennis Meyer • Northwood Rodney Shaffer • Arlington Mike Staudt • Rudd Leadership Team Chris Ludwig • CEO Steve Bodensteiner • CFO Bill Hayes • COO Bob Camp • Agronomy Leader Mike Kuboushek • Energy Leader Locations Arlington • Carpenter • Charles City Clermont • Elgin • Grafton • London Manly • Marble Rock • Maynard Myrtle • Northwood • Oelwein Randalia • Rockford • Rudd Sumner • Winthrop Editorial Team Amie Johansen Chris Menke Anne Benning Jeanette Mulcahy © 2017 Viafield® All Rights Reserved





Background: Where are you from?

I grew up in the small town of Colwell, IA. I graduated from Charles City High School in 2012.

What schools did you attend?

I went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA for a year before transferring to Wartburg College in Waverly, IA to finish up my last three.

Where did you work previously?

I grew up working construction for my dad. Out of college, I took a job with Reicks View Farms.

What do you enjoy most about your position at Viafield?

I enjoy coming to work every day knowing that there are challenges ahead.

What has been your biggest challenge so far with your new position?

Grain accounting is basically completely new to me. Learning the process has definitely been the biggest challenge so far. However, beginning to learn and understand the process has also been extremely rewarding.

What hobbies/activities do you enjoy in your spare time?

I have several hobbies, most of which involve family, sports and the outdoors. I enjoy working at my grandparent’s farm near Colwell where we raise and sell cattle. I enjoy all types of hunting, bow and shotgun. I love to fish, especially trout fishing with my wife Morgan. The annual family vacation to Wisconsin or Minnesota is always a highlight of the year. I’m a big sports fan! Iowa Hawkeye Football and Wrestling are two things I live for.. Go Hawks! After those two things, you can add baseball and hockey to the mix. OUR VISION: Serve as the trusted advisor for the customer of the future through our talented team by delivering products, services, technology, and innovation, ensuring their profitability and ours.


connections Supplying the Tools and Talent to Help You Succeed by Chris Ludwig, CEO Our mission at Viafield is to be your fullservice provider of choice enhancing your success. To accomplish this we are continually developing new tools and talented people to help you make sound decisions in this challenging environment. In this issue we are highlighting some our new grain marketing contracts and grain trading talent to help you achieve the best outcome for your operation. Our newest grain contract, Viafield Co-op Pro, uses market professionals who watch the markets continuously and make the selling decision for you. Utilizing Co-op Pro takes the stress out of grain marketing and provides diversification in your marketing plan. Our Co-op Pro partner, JSA, has been delivering professional pricing solutions since 2013 and has achieved 13% better prices on average than the market over the past 3 years. An excellent track record! We are the first cooperative in NE Iowa to provide Co-op Pro as we demonstrate our commitment to being your trusted advisor for grain marketing. Contracting for Co-op Pro ends January 31st. I’m recommending all our customers participate this year and experience the benefits and peace of mind this contract can deliver. We are also highlighting grain delivered direct to processors and picked up on farm via Justin Morrison, the newest addition to our grain team. He serves as our expert on trading to local processing plants and is committed to providing

you competitive bids every day. The fact is, Viafield normally provides the same price (or sometimes better) as the local processors, and pays members patronage on direct deliveries which last year was 2.54 cents per bushel. In addition to competitive bids and patronage eligibility, customers have added delivery flexibility and can use any of our price risk management tools such as Co-op Pro, Market Flex, or the 350 Agronomy Credit. To take advantage of direct deliveries through Viafield, call any of our grain offices and check bids online at

Tax Reform, Section 199A and Benefits for Farmers Prior to the passing of the tax reform bill, I urged members to take action by contacting your representatives in support of section 199 deductions which benefited cooperatives, their farmer owners, and our local communities. Through our collective action, lawmakers created a new Section 199A establishing a special 20% deduction for pass-through entities to offset the estimated lost benefit cooperatives were previously receiving under Section 199. Section 199A is a win for farmers and a clear example of the strong voice the agriculture community has in Washington when we speak collectively. One surprise benefit of the new Section 199A provision is the ability for farmers

to deduct payments from cooperatives, including gross payments from grain sales, which could significantly reduce their tax liability. This new provision provides farmers a significant price advantage when selling to their cooperative, rather than selling to another entity. Some experts have concluded this advantage could be as much as 18 cents per bushel for farmers selling to a cooperative where they are a patron owner (please consult your tax professional.) While others say it was never the intent of the proposed language and a likely error caused by the last-minute rush to craft the provision, the language is clear in the current bill. It will be challenging to find a vehicle to include a legislative fix and or secure its passage in the near future. Regardless of the final outcome of future 199A legislation, marketing your grain through Viafield already is competitive, flexible, and patronage eligible. What a perfect way to use your local cooperative for its historic purpose of leveraging farmer grain volume and price collectively for your ultimate profit. The benefits for marketing grain through your local cooperative are already clear. When we have volume we have strength. Please call us today and ask how we can help you market your grain to maximize your operations profits and success…. together!


Your Direct GrainAdvisor G

rain marketing can be a tricky endeavor. Luckily for Viafield’s producers, they have Grain Originator Justin Morrison working on their behalf.

“Basically, a grain originator is a market advisor,” Justin said. Justin started working for Viafield and its customers this past June.

“My job is to reach out to the producer and try to match their marketing, space, and cashflow needs with Viafield’s solutions and objectives—to find the win-win.” For the past 10 years, Justin has been selling ethanol co-products and working with grain handling companies. These endeavors allowed him to build a relationship with Viafield. When an opening came available, Justin couldn’t help but further explore the position with a company he already trusted. “I thought it was a great opportunity for me and the company. Hopefully they don’t regret hiring me,” Justin joked. All joking aside, Justin has been working very hard over the past few months to ensure there is no room for doubt for either Viafield or the producer. “My goal, specifically, is to get more purchase with our customer base for post-harvest contracting and post-harvest origination,” he said.

Grain Originator Justin Morrison


Throughout recent years, producers have an added option to consider when selling their grain: ethanol plants. “The landscape of Viafield’s territories have shifted quite a bit in the last 10 years with the introduction and proliferation of ethanol producers,” Justin said. Typically, more options are a good thing, however, Justin warns that if a producer is not careful, they can find themselves locked into only doing business with one ethanol plant, which might not be the most advantageous choice. Justin’s position at Viafield allows him to take a wider view of the grain market. From his vantage point, he can help producers find the best deal for their grain. “My job is to get the bushels to the right market and if it is too far, I come get it with my truck; that’s the benefit you get from working with someone like me,” Justin said. One of the things Justin appreciates most about working at Viafield is the freedom he has in making these marketing decisions. “I’m a grain trader, I don’t just buy, I sell too, I try to squeeze as much as I can out of the market and what makes that easy is, Viafield has given me quite a bit of room and trusts me,” he said. With this level of trust, Justin can make timely decisions that will benefit both the producer and co-op. “There aren’t a lot of management layers, when you

want to make a decision, there is not a lot of lag. I’ve been in environments where by the time you get approval the opportunity has past,” Justin said. Even though Justin feels very supported by his fellow team members, his position does not come without challenges. One such challenge is changing the way Viafield participates in the grain market as well as the distribution of tools. “Reshaping how Viafield competes in the grain buying environment post-harvest, delivering the tools to people out in the country, getting the program up off the ground—that’s the biggest challenge,” Justin said. According to Justin, this challenge is made more manageable thanks to everyone he works with. “I really like Chris Ludwig (Viafield CEO), he ‘s really knowledgeable and it over laps the experience I have,” he said. “Dave Quisley as well is super knowledgeable and is a great resource for me every day; Dave is my direct boss.” Justin serves Viafield through the Northwood location. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Clear Lake along with their three boys ages 7, 5 and 1.5 years old. Justin is an Iowa State graduate originally from Corning, Iowa.

“My job is to reach out to the producer and try to match their marketing, space, and cashflow needs with Viafield’s solutions and objectives—to find the winwin.” Justin Morrison


Pay it Forward Fuel Re I

t’s human nature when we find something really special or have an awesome experience, we want to share it with others. No matter how big or small, people like to spread the good news. Viafield is no different. A member owned cooperative, Viafield loves to share the wealth. With the new diesel referral program, Viafield has found another way to share with its members.


Diesel is the fluid that allows many operations to keep moving. Many diesel fuel customers have found the value of buying in bulk. Viafield is now offering a customer referral bonus for those who contract 4,000 gallons of fuel. If an existing customer refers a new producer who purchases 4,000

with eferrals gallons or more of diesel fuel, Viafield will offer a “thank you” bonus to the Viafield customer. A qualifying existing customer is one who has purchased a minimum of 2,000 gallons of fuel from Viafield. To receive a bonus, the referring customer must also have been purchasing fuel for at least six months from Viafield. Both referring customer and the referred customer must use Viafield’s AFD delivery program to monitor their fuel tanks. The referred customer must also contract with Viafield to purchase a minimum of 4,000 gallons each year. In securing a long term, bulk customer, Viafield will show their appreciation by giving the existing customer a $100 credit to their account. In sharing how your diesel needs are met with Viafield, Viafield will give back to you. Viafield looks forward to reaching more producers and helping them meet their diesel fuel needs.

Referral Bonus Details Referred Prospect Must: • Purchase a minimum of 4000 gallons per year. • Fuel tank(s) must be monitored via our AFD delivery program.

Referring customer is issued $100 credit on their Viafield account when new referred account: • Monitors fuel tank(s) for AFD delivery program. • Purchases fuel from Viafield for 6 months • 2000 gallon minimum fuel purchase

Mike Kuboushek Energy Team Leader


Safety First consistently attends safety meetings to ensure he and the Viafield team remain up to date on the latest regulations. “You cannot let yourself become stagnant with safety, there’s always something new coming out,” Kevin said.

Viafield Safety Leader Kevin Davis


ith a life in agriculture comes regular exposure to potential hazards and dangers. Viafield Safety Team Leader Kevin Davis works daily to decrease the chances of these hazards turning into tragedies for team members and producers alike. His first line of defense against dangerous situations is knowledge. “Keeping up stronger awareness where the major issues could take place; confined space, lock out-tag out and working with anhydrous equipment,” he said. Safety regulations are regularly evolving to better protect those working in agriculture. Kevin


To stay on top of those changes, Kevin talks with Nationwide, Viafield’s insurance provider, as well as various safety inspectors and groups. In working with Nationwide, Kevin hopes to highlight areas were people are most at risk and make them safer. “I’m working with them to monitor green agronomy, to reduce workman’s compensation claims where people are injured, see where areas are that we can reduce the claims and heighten awareness to our team members,” he said. One of the ways he works to bring safer practices to Viafield and its customers is by brainstorming the best ways to execute the latest regulations. Kevin is part of the Compass Safety Inspectors and the Ag Coop Safety Directors of Iowa Group, meeting four times a year. In the past, Kevin has even served as a chairperson for this group, builting strong relationships with his fellow directors. “I can always contact them,” he said. “If there is a regulation I see coming, I feel comfortable asking fellow safety directors.” By collaborating with other safety directors, Kevin can better decide how to employ the latest regulations. Kevin also holds safety committee meetings nearly monthly. “We try to

meet at least nine to ten times a year,” he said. In the meetings, they review existing safety practices as well as discuss new regulations. On top of attending safety meetings outside of Viafield and hosting monthly meetings within, Kevin also works to keep safety at the forefront of Viafield team members’ minds during their more hectic seasons. In the fall and spring, when Viafield team members are at their busiest, there is no time to host a safety committee meeting. Kevin uses email to remind team members not to get careless as they service each of their producers. “I send out weekly safety messages” he said. In these emails, Kevin stresses to location leaders that each team member practice safety in all places; whether at a Viafield location or on a farm, safety is of the utmost concern. “Our feed truck drivers need to be diligent when they go on farms,” he said. “Young kids are there and want to run out to see who pulled into the yard. They have to be very vigilant watching For kids, livestock, dogs…etc.” Viafield’s team members are trained to keep an eye out for any, and all, potential dangers not only at Viafield’s locations, but also when they are out working with producers. “Our team members do a great job of sharing any safety issues they see with customers,” Kevin said. “We just need to make sure things are safe, we want them to be our customers for many years to come; we watch out for their safety.”

safety insight at customer appreciation events. Safety doesn’t stop with team members and producers. Kevin wants Viafield’s physical locations to be as safe as possible. “I do work with local volunteer fire departments,” he said. “They do practices and do a walk around at our facilities to become familiar with locations on a regular basis.” By keeping the area fire departments familiar with Viafield’s locations, should a situation ever arise, help can be provided more quickly and effectively. “We have had the fire departments come to the majority of our locations,” Kevin said. Although already a major priority, Kevin believes there is always room for improvement when it comes to safety. “Safety is a top priority of our company from the top down,” he said. “We know we’re not perfect by a long shot, but we just really stress that team members have each other’s back and watch out for each other. So long as everyone looks out for each other, team members’ and producers’ wellbeing can be preserved.”

“Safety is a top priority of our company from the top down!” Kevin Davis

Viafield has implemented a Hi-Viz clothing policy for all team members working outside of the office to help keep them visible and safe.

Kevin hopes to increase producers’ safety awareness. “We have hosted a few (safety meetings) for customers,” he said. However, he hopes to meet with them more often. For instance, he would like to be able to offer more


Reducing the Stress of Grain Marketing Viafield offers more options to price grain.

M “We are coming out with contracts that help our customers manage risk and succeed in the marketplace” Chris Ludwig


other nature makes farming difficult enough. While we can’t control the weather, we can certainly help make navigating the grain market easier.

“Corn prices are low right now, people are thinking ‘what do we do?’” Chris said. “A lot of farmers are saying ‘I don’t want to sell at this price and lock in unprofitable bushels.’”

“We hear over, and over again, producers coming to us and saying they really don’t like marketing their grain,” Viafield CEO Chris Ludwig said. Luckily, our grain division has developed two new contracts that will make marketing more producer friendly: Market Flex and Coop Pro.

That’s where Market Flex contracts come in handy. Market Flex allows the producer to stay in the market and wait for futures to improve by providing a percentage up front. “Market Flex lets them stay in the market when they are confident it will rally,” Chris said.

Viafield Market Flex Market Flex was created in response to producers needing a way to stay in the market longer without paying expensive storage fees or using Price Later Contracts. It allows you to sell your grain at any time, get an advance on cash and stay in the futures market until a later date.

Viafield Co-op Pro

Viafield understands while a producer may wish to sell after prices have had a chance to climb, they can’t operate on a zero cash flow.

We know the idea of marketing grain that has not yet been planted, let alone harvested, can be a smart strategy. For this reason, we have chosen to partner with pricing

Co-op Pro is another option Viafield has developed to help producers reduce stress when marketing their grain. It’s a new grain contract that leaves the selling decisions to the professionals. This contract allows producers to contract grain for 2018 and 2019 new crop.

professionals John Stewart and Associates (JSA). JSA has a proven track record in creating successful contracts with producers for their future crops. “Based on our history, our results are very solid,” JSA Risk Management Consultant Bart Baker said. “Our average price on corn during the last 3 years has been 13% above the fall delivery average.” Viafield’s partnership with JSA is just that, a true partnership. “Chris really did his due diligence,” Bart said of their conversations in creating Coop Pro. “He wanted to confirm our strategies were risk tolerant. Talking to Chris, our strategies are definitely compatible with Viafield’s customer objectives.” JSA has experience creating contracts which easily enable producers to allow the professionals to price their grain. In combining JSA’s experience and expertise with Chris’s experience in marketing prior to coming to Viafield, producers can feel comfortable in this newly offered contract. “This isn’t just something we dreamed up or a new concept,” Chris said. “Bart and I have worked together to develop Co-op

Pro from other proven contracts. It has been created with producers’ best interest in mind.” Although Viafield is partnering with JSA, producers will still work with Viafield’s team members. Bart explained “With Co-op Pro, Viafield producers will enroll bushels in the program, the relationship is 100% between Viafield and the producer. With the bushels enrolled in the program, JSA is the professional doing the pricing.” The goal is to get our customers the best price for their grain using solid strategies.

Bart Baker

Market Flex and Coop Pro give producers an opportunity to more safely diversify their marketing options. “It is our vision to be a trusted advisor to our customers,” Chris said. “We are coming out with contracts that help our customers manage risk and succeed in the marketplace.”



Fall Performance Charts Corn


“Or average price on corn during the last 3 years has been 13% above the fall delivery average”



connections R

1001 Blunt Pkwy Charles City, IA 50616


NA PA Go l


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Is O sh

FEBRUARY 12-23, 2018 NAPA GREENE 3090 Hwy 14 Greene, IA 50636 641-816-5566

All NAPAGold™ Filters On Sale! •


This special sale includes terrific savings on a number of products including 70% off on NAPA Air, Oil, Fuel and Cabin Air filters. • Delivery is also available to your nearest Viafield location.

EARN $3.50/ACRE PREPAY CREDIT Our Offer Premium Contract allows producers to generate value now by offering grain at profitable levels above the current market. And for a limited time, receive a $3.50 per acre agronomy prepay credit.*


Make offer for corn or soybean futures at profitable levels.

For every 5,000 bushels of Dec. 2018, Mar. 2019 or July • For every 1,000 bushels of Nov. 2018 or Jan. 2019 2019 corn offered, receive $3.50 per acre credit on 200 beans offered, receive $3.50 per acre credit on 80 acres. acres. Have the flexibility to set the basis and deliver to any Viafield or Viafield partner location.

Offer Premium makes your new crop bushels work for you now by generating revenue to cover expenses.

This credit is in addition to any prepay or discounts currently available for agronomy.

This credit applies to qualified crop protection products, application or seed.

In addition to the prepay credit, Viafield’s Offer Premium contract gives producers flexibility to deliver to any of our partner grain locations.

For more information on this fantastic offer, visit

HURRY! Offer ends February 15, 2018

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