Originally posted on MaxYield Cooperative's From the Field blog. Photos by Greg Latza
Having a job and having a career you love are two very different things- Colby Kraninger, an agronomy specialist trainee at MaxYield Cooperative, prefers the latter. That’s why, after working for MaxYield Cooperative part-time and as an intern, he returned for a full-time opportunity in the agronomy department. A 2014 Okoboji High School and 2019 Iowa State University graduate, the Milford-native built his post-secondary plans around the goal of working for MaxYield Cooperative.
“[While at North Iowa Area Community College] I worked in grain operations [for MaxYield Cooperative in Fostoria]- I wanted to be a grain originator at the time. I eventually realized I didn’t want to pursue a career in [grain]. When I graduated from NIACC, I realized I wanted to become an agronomist after working for MaxYield so I decided to continue my education at Iowa State.”
In addition to working at the Fostoria location, he has worked in the dry fertilizer facility at Emmetsburg, agronomy operations in Dickens, soil sampling and crop scouting with SciMax, and most recently as an agronomy sales intern in the summer of 2018.
Coming off his time at NIACC and MaxYield, the agronomy major at Iowa State just felt like the right fit to Colby. “I like talking to people, and I feel like growers can trust me. Since I never had the opportunity to farm myself, I want to contribute to the industry by helping others improve their operations. I’ve just dreamed of being around agriculture my entire life.”
Since starting in his new trainee role, Colby has taken on a variety of responsibilities, from delivering seed to making crop protection recommendations and everything in between. His favorite part of his position, however, is the client interaction. “It’s the number one part of my job- I enjoy being able to use what I learned at Iowa State to help people.”
To help facilitate the transition from college to the full-time workforce, all trainees at MaxYield Cooperative are given a mentor to provide guidance and knowledge. Colby has two. “My mentors are Justin Zwiefel (Agronomy Specialist, Mallard) and Tom Evans (Agronomy Specialist, Superior). If it wasn’t for them I would be directionless in terms of my career. They help keep me on track and show me how to use our agronomy software, how to provide a good [crop protection and nutrient] recommendation, and other important skills.”
Other team members have also helped make Colby’s time at MaxYield great. He especially enjoys his co-workers at the Mallard Location. “The people I work with are really nice- there were two weeks in a row where we just took turns buying each other lunch. We joke around and like to have a good time, and everyone treats each other very well.”
It’s a pretty incredible feeling to wake up and be excited for what lies ahead. For Colby, that happens every day. “This career is pretty exciting. Everyday there’s something to look forward to. In the future, I hope to provide trust to [my] future clients and be equipped to provide them with solutions. Service is key.”
There’s a lot of agronomy sales opportunities out there for new college graduates, but Colby can recommend the MaxYield agronomy specialist trainee role with confidence. “If someone was looking for an agronomy position at MaxYield, I would highly recommend [the agronomy specialist trainee role]. The mentor program is great, and there’s a lot of opportunity to learn and pick up on things while you are starting you’re career which is really comforting. Your questions are always answered by team members in a polite way, and if you have a client question you can’t answer, there’s plenty of resources within the company that are only a phone call away.”