Leo Reiffenberger, manager of Prairie Ag Partners of Lake Preston, S.D. was named the Elevator Manager of the Year by the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC) during the South Dakota Grain and Feed Association’s Annual Convention held today at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls.
Every year the SDCUC selects an outstanding elevator manager for the award based on the criteria of dedication to the grain and feed industry, customer service, community service and leadership. Jake Volkers, SDCUC board director from Brookings, S.D., presented Reiffenberger with the award.
This year’s recipient is incredibly worthy as he has a tremendous track record working in the grain and feed industry for the past 30 years. Described as a people person, Reiffenberger’s passion for working with producers to help them become successful has led him to manage and expand a successful multi-location grain handling cooperative in the region.
From the beginning of his career, this elevator manager has devoted his efforts to increasing bottom lines, both for producers and the companies he has contributed to. At his current location, Reiffenberger’s agronomy division has expanded with the focus being on sales. And the service to the patrons has been improved with increased speed and efficiencies by the addition of key pieces of infrastructure such as a tower system for dry fertilizers as well as supporting equipment.
In addition to boosting sales almost 50 percent in just the last year, Reiffenberger has the reputation that people like to deal with him because he’s fair and wants to give the farmer the best price for the crop because he genuinely cares about his customers and their businesses. He is also known for his support of the 80-plus employees he manages as he accommodates their family and life schedules as much as possible.
He knows the ag industry from the bottom up as he started his career at Midland Fertilizer Plant in Bellingham, Minnesota in the spring of 1979. The business was later bought by the elevator and within that company he performed several job duties as he worked his way through the ranks. He became manager of the Grain Division of Bellingham Farmers Coop Elevator in the fall of 1991, a position he held until he accepted his position as general manager of Lake Preston Coop Association in June of 2005.
His leadership was instrumental in the recent merger with the Arlington Farmer’s Cooperative which became official in August of 2008. At that time, the name for the new cooperative changed to Prairie Ag Partners and Reiffenberger is the general manager of elevators in Lake Preston, Oldham, Arlington and Bancroft, with fertilizer plants in Lake Preston and Arlington.
System wide, the cooperative boasts 5 million bushels of grain storage in addition to several piling systems. Our honoree manages an impressive fleet of custom application equipment which allows them to cover 200 thousand acres annually; 45 thousand acres are enrolled in site specific application.
Not only has this elevator manager of the year been a huge asset to the grain and feed industry, but he also provides outstanding support for his community. He currently serves on the Lake Preston Development Board.
Reiffenberger and his wife, Lisa, have two children: Corey and his wife Kayla; and Jodi and her husband Ryan; and one granddaughter, Harper.