Key Announces 2021 Board of Directors Candidates

Dec 01, 2020


North District Candidates

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A.J. Christian

A.J. and his wife, Amber, live on an acreage between Story City and Roland with their three boys - just one mile from their farming operation. A.J. was born and raised on the family farm and now farms with his father and brother. Christian Farms, Inc. is a row crop/strip-till operation located in north central Story County; they also farm ground in SE Hamilton and SW Hardin Counties. Their home farm/base-of-operations was recognized as a Century Farm in 1991 and were able to purchase the original “Christian” farm which has been in the family name since 1855. A.J. joined the Iowa Air National Guard in 2001 and currently holds the rank of Major – assigned to the Joint Operations Center at Joint Forces Headquarters-Iowa. He a member of American Legion Post 307 in Roland and helps with as many Honor Guard details as possible. In addition, he helps instruct at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
The answer to this question is really two-fold for me. First, as with any profession, I believe it’s important to give back to the community or organization that got you to where you are in life. Just as I have served in the military and help instruct new law enforcement recruits, it’s important for me to give back/serve the local farming community that has provide a great way of life for my family over many generations. Secondly and just as important, if given the opportunity to serve the members of Key Cooperative, I will be learning new things and expanding my agricultural knowledge base that can hopefully help assist our farming community in the future (whatever that may be)! 
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two years?

  • Customer satisfaction through outstanding customer service and competitive pricing (examples: grain pricing, petroleum sales, etc).
  • Hire and keep a skilled and happy work force. If you can achieve this, it makes attaining customer satisfaction much easier. (Richard Branson of Virgin Group put it best: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”)
  • Continuously work to improve the public‘s image of the farming community as a whole. Grow our community involvement locally and strive to show community members how we operate with them and the environment in mind.

 
In addition to these priorities I also think it’s important to look at the events of 2020 that have directly impacted Key Cooperative, specifically the derecho that occurred in August, and take time to thoroughly plan and execute the rebuilding of damaged locations (with long term future operations in mind).
 

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Scott Henry

Scott and his wife, Jessica, live in Nevada with their son. Scott is part of the family operation, LongView Farms which raises corn, soybeans and seed corn in addition to contract finishing hogs and custom feeding cattle. Scott’s great-grandfather, Kenneth Long, moved the operation to Story County back in 1955 resulting in Scott and his brother to be the fourth generation involved in day-to-day operations. Scott farms alongside his mom, dad and a great team of experienced operators. He currently serves on the boards of the Nevada Economic Development Council (NEDC) and on the farmer advisory board for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Scott and his family are members of Cornerstone Church and are always seeking ways to further support their local community.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
As the agriculture industry continues to change and evolve, members must have confidence that their cooperative is ready and able to excel through it all.  It is important to me that the member-owners have a voice in how their cooperative decides to meet the challenges that lie ahead. 
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two years? 

  • Infrastructure improvements as a result of the derecho event this past summer and the always changing needs of member-owners
  • Increase member business through improved competitiveness on product and service offerings
  • Embrace change as the industry continues to consolidate, margins continue to tighten and innovation continues to disrupt traditional business practices; Key Cooperative must be ready and able to adapt to the changes that lie ahead.

 

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Brian Larsen

Brian and his wife, Sally, live south of St. Anthony and farm in the Zearing/St. Anthony area. They have three adult boys and one grandson. Brian has been farming for 29 years. He is the owner/operator of BL Farms Inc., raising corn, soybeans and alfalfa as well as providing custom farming services. Brian also has a 2,500 head hog finishing building and maintains a 270 head commercial ewe flock. He has been an associate director for the Key Cooperative board for the last two years, has been a trustee for Bethel United Methodist Church for 29 years and the treasurer for a pig finishing investment group for the past 18 years.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
It is important to be a representative for the members who own the co-op. It’s also important to ensure that Key Co-op is moving in the right direction and their assets are properly maintained, financially. I also feel it’s important to use the knowledge I have gained being an associate director the past two years to ensure that the members’ voices are being heard and that their co-op is being managed to the highest level.
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two year?

  • Continue to provide value for being a Key Co-op member through all our core business sectors
  • Provide competitive prices and cutting edge services so our members have every opportunity to be successful
  • Employ qualified employees to maintain a high level of service and expertise that our members deserve

 

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Mark Tjernagel

Mark and his wife, Jennifer, live on farm just one mile east of Roland with their three children. Their farm operation consists of growing corn and soybeans, a cow/calf herd and a few sheep.  Mark graduated from Roland-Story in 1992 and started farming; he then went on to complete the winter farm program at Iowa State University. He is a member of the First Assembly of God church in Boone and serves as a Howard Township trustee.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
I have been a proud member of this co-op for 28 years and it is a vital part of my operation.  I know this is the same for all.  I would like to be a part of this co-op's continued success so that the members can be successful too.
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two years?

  • Getting all of the Key locations repaired and rebuilt from the storms this past summer 
  • Continue to provide excellent service to all members at Key, in all areas of agriculture 
  • Continue to maintain the safety of our members and employees during this pandemic  

 

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South District Candidates

  

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Chad Hafkey

Chad and his wife, Trish, live in Grinnell with their two children. His farming operation is seven miles NE of Grinnell, operating in Jasper, Poweshiek and Tama counties and includes corn, soybeans and a cow/calf herd. Chad is a fifth generation farmer with 22 years’ experience. Chad served as an associate director for the Key Cooperative board in 2011 & 2012 and has now been serving as a director since 2018.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
It is important to me to serve as a director so I can represent the best interests of the cooperative members during the company's strategic planning and long term goal setting. Shaping the direction and vision of the company plays a vital role in creating opportunities for success of the members and our company. I feel my service as a director for the previous three years would provide continuity in the ongoing process of maintaining the mission, vision and values of the company.
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two years?
The top three priorities in the in next two years should focus on continued facility improvements for members during the derecho rebuilding process, managing the long tail of financial impact from the storm and COVID-19, as well as searching for opportunities internally and externally to provide benefits to cooperative members.
 

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Duane Roland

Duane and his wife, Connie, live in Grinnell and have twin daughters attending Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. Duane began farming in 1992 and currently grows corn and soybeans with farms in Poweshiek, Jasper, Tama and Keokuk Counties. Duane and Connie also have a Standard breed horse operation. Duane is a current member of the United States Trotting Association and the Iowa Harness Horseman Association. He also serves as Secretary for Iowa Sires Stake Association and is past president of the Central Iowa Christian School.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
I think that everyone should take a turn serving the members of Key. This helps members better understand the challenges and decisions that come before the Key board and guide the cooperative to meet the members’ expectations.
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two years?

  • Meeting customer expectations and servicing their needs. 
  • Retaining employees. 
  • Rebuilding and improving current facilities.

 

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Megan Veldboom

Megan and her husband, Lance, live on the family farm where Megan grew up, north of Grinnell.  They have four adult daughters - the youngest two, in college. Megan and Lance returned to the farm in 2011 to begin transitioning the operation from her father. Raffety Farms, Inc. is now operated by Megan, Lance and her father. They grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Lance is also a corn breeder with Bayer Crop Science. Megan served on the Grinnell Band Booster Board for over seven years and currently directs the Awana children’s program at her church.
 
Why is it important to you to serve the cooperative members?
Key Co-op provides vital services to area farmers and is an essential business partner. In these challenging days, a healthy co-op is an immeasurable asset to its members. There is strength in numbers and I believe it is important for our local farmers to work together in this way. Serving on the board will be both interesting and challenging to me personally.
 
What should Key Cooperative’s top three priorities be in the next two year?

  • Continued excellent customer service- determine how can we help our members produce their best.
  • Infrastructure updates following the August storm damage- fitting these with future plans to redesign and rebuild.
  • Consider Key’s environmental impact both as a company as well as how we can assist members with their efforts of operating sustainably and responsibly.

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