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Recognizing a Winner

Contest shines light on top custom operator, how do you recognize achievement.

Mike Pluimer of Ceres Solutions in Templeton, Ind., got a pretty sweet bit of recognition recently when he was named 2010 Operator of the Year by Agco's Application Equipment Group. It's a prize the company started giving out five years ago and aims to recognize the top operators in an elevator or co-op's business.

For Pluimer, who started as a farmer, went part-time as an applicator and now does that job full-time, the recognition is nice. And his nominating co-worker says some great things about him to: "The best way to describe Mike is that he's an all-star quarterback for our team," says Tom Stein, who nominated Pluimer. "He possesses leadership skills and a game plan to help our organization and our customers win. He's able to take the hits of 1,000-acre days, and he has the ability to call audibles in the field." Wow sounds great and there are sports analogies.

Mike Pluimer, Ceres Solutions, holds his Operator of the Year plaque as he sits atop his new Harley Davidson. Pluimer credits the team he works with and his wife of 40 years, Mary Jane, for his success.

Congrats to Pluimer, who not only got the nifty plaque you see in the picture but he's also sitting on his new Harley-Davidson motorcycle too. The winner, who had no idea he was nominated, notes "it took awhile before it set in that I was a finalist, and I'm still a bit shocked that I won."

For nominating the winner, Stein also got a three-day/two-night Harley Road Trip for himself and a friend.

Other finalists included Gary Brandt, Gate FS, Inc., Red Bud, Ill., Marcos Duarte, Crop Production Service, Galva, Kan., and Tony Kornder, Genesis, Le Center, Minn.

This kind of award is great, and it's not something a farmer can give employees - at least I don't know many that would - but as the end of the year rolls around, how are you going to recognize those farm employees who put up with the same long hours you have - even though you pay them - and especially the ones who show up all the time ready to rumble?

There are a lot of employee surveys that show that pay is not the main reason someone stays on the job, they often stay because of a sense of worth, and recognition that they're an important part of the team (oops another sports analogy). Essentially, you're probably telling people they're doing a good job most of the time, but as the year ends and you look back 2010, the fast harvest and all the other issues for the year, it might be a good time to thank those employees one more time. You'll both feel better.

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