AGCO awarded its 2010 Operator of the Year award to Mike Pluimer at the Agricultural Retailers Association's annual convention and expo Wednesday. The annual program recognizes the outstanding achievements and professionalism of the industry's premier custom nutrient and protective farm chemical applicators. In addition to the title, the new Operator of the Year also receives a 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Tom Stein with Ceres nominated Plumier, and said, "Mike covers about 68,000 acres a year for us here at Templeton. Other than some of the comments I made on his application, the best way I can summarize it is that Mike is analogous to Payton Manning, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. A team player arriving to work every day prepared, with similar leadership skills, presence, and a game plan to help our organization and our customers win. Mike is the quarterback of our custom application business. Able to take the hits of 1,000 acre days and keep playing, the ability to call audibles in the field if conditions change, earning the respect of team members and competitors alike, Mike is a true professional on and off the field. If there was an Operator Of The Year Hall Of Fame, Mike would certainly be inducted. He is what every custom applicator should aspire to be ... someone every kid would be proud to call their dad."
The other finalists were:
Gary Brandt, Gateway FS Inc. (Red Bud, Ill.). A 17-year veteran to the custom application business, customers have come to expect nothing but the best from Brandt's work. His reputation has allowed Brandt to expand his applied-acres year after year without ever receiving a complaint from one of his customers. In addition to the 32,500 acres Brandt covers each year, he also provides his customers with valuable field scouting and precision application data.
Marcos Duarte, Crop Production Service (Galva, Kan.). Duarte has been in the custom application business for 11 years and sprays more than 55,000-acres annually. He is continually looking for ways to please his customers, as well as improve efficiency and quality while spraying. His work ethic, leadership and service on and off the field have earned him respect and admiration among many in the community.
Tony Kornder, Genesis (Le Center, Minn.). Kornder began his career as a custom applicator in 1997 and quickly impressed his employers and customers with his abilities. His acreage covered has steadily increased year-over-year to more than 33,000-acres in 2010. Kornder has a passion for learning and does everything he can to stay on the cutting-edge of crop protection.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, Operator of the Year recognizes the hard work and accomplishments of the nation's best custom applicators, and holds them up as examples of excellence for the industry. This year, 104 nominations were submitted by ag retailers, both large and small, from across the country touting the attributes and contributions of their key employees. All nominees receive a certificate recognizing their nomination for this prestigious award.