The secret weapon to less risk, more reward in farming

WinField United’s Advanced Acre® Rx program helps farmers identify opportunities in their fields to improve ROI without making them carry the full burden of risk

Kendall Wenner graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse last spring with a psychology degree and no intentions of working on her family’s farm. Instead, she returned to her hometown of Saint Peter, Minnesota to begin her life as a mental health practitioner. Shortly after settling in, she was invited to attend a RoCrop Group meeting hosted by their local ag retailer Ag Partners Co-op.
Ag Partners is a retail-owner of the Land O’Lakes, Inc. cooperative system serving growers across Southern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin with the latest ag products and services. The co-op’s RoCrop quarterly meetings are aimed at educating individuals who are just starting to get involved on their family farms as their parents prepare to retire and gives them access to agronomic information.  
“The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the idea of farming full-time,” Kendall says. “So now I am working alongside my two brothers, Nate and Alex, to help retire my dad. It still blows my mind when I ask my dad a question and just how much strategy and thought goes into every decision he makes on the farm.”
Kendall’s dad, Chuck, knows all too well that the only consistency in farming is inconsistency. He has been farming since 1983 and officially took over Wenner-Underwood Farm from his father in 1999 with the help of his wife and late brother-in-law. Since then, they have tripled the corn and soybean operation from 1,000 acres to over 3,000 acres of land. But the Wenner family has goals to keep growing.


Nate Wenner, Kendall Wenner and Chuck Wenner of Wenner-Underwood Farms

Chuck says Harold Manthey, an agronomy sales lead at Ag Partners, introduced him to the Advanced Acre Rx prescription program in 2020. He shared that the program uses a systems approach to agronomy using data and insights from the WinField United Answer Plot® program, a national network of applied research fields that provide localized insights including products and ag technology recommendations. If a farmer follows the customized prescription plan and does not meet or exceed their 105% approved yield, WinField United covers the cost of services and some input costs via an agronomic service warranty payment.


Harold Manthey of Ag Partners chats with Kendall

“I thought, what do we have to lose? We liked that if you invested in them, they’d be committed to investing back in us,” says Chuck.
His son Nate recently left his job as an ag engineer and began farming full-time in January. He adds, “it is all new products and methods we have been interested in trying already. This program gives us the assurance the products we are going to try will work because the team at Ag Partners is willing to stand behind them.”
Chuck says another incentive of enrolling in the program was the simple sign-up process.
“It couldn’t have been easier. All we had to do was provide our insurance information and Harold handled the rest,” Chuck says.
The Wenner family has already made several major changes on their operation since first enrolling in Advanced Acre Rx 2020. They include adopting split nitrogen fertilization application and becoming more strategic with fertility practices and spraying fungicides.


Kendall and Nate look at equipment.

Under the program, Wenner-Underwood farm has seen both a strong growing season where their agronomic plan helped them increase profit potential per acre and another poor growing season with where the farm qualified for a warranty payment to offset the lost yield.
“A lot of the things we do on a daily basis revolve around risk management. Weather is always a big factor. And of course, markets are a big factor too. This program helps mitigate risk and level the playing field a bit by giving farmers an additional tool beyond the traditional crop insurance. For example, 2022 was the highest input cost year we had ever experienced. That puts a lot more risk on the table and there’s less margin for error. Despite all of those market challenges, 2022 was one of our most profitable years thanks to our agronomic plan.
Growers don’t have anything to lose enrolling in the program but a lot to gain. It should be a no brainer for a farmer to take the leap,” Chuck says.

Chuck Wenner

The family says not only has Advanced Acre Rx helped them become more profitable but has pushed them to be more productive and work toward their sustainability goals.
“We all have lots of ideas but sometimes we go down the rabbit hole of trying to follow this idea and flush out the thought process behind the advantages and disadvantages, which sometimes causes us to overcomplicate things. This helps simplify our decision-making because we can rely on data that reflects a proven path,” Nate says.
In its pilot year in 2020, just 15,000 acres were enrolled in Advanced Acre Rx nationwide. The program has grown substantially every year since. This year, 1.4 million acres are already enrolled in the program, with more growth expected by the end of the summer. Through the history of the program, roughly half a million acres have had a positive yield response with Advanced Acre Rx.
“The program has been the strongest tool I’ve had available to me as a local retail partner to help build stronger relationships and trust with my growers. We aren’t successful unless our growers are successful,” Harold says. “On a global level, the program helps remove risk and generate more consistent yields to support a safe and plentiful food supply to feed the world despite increasing weather volatility.”
This spring will be the first planting season with Nate and Kendall at the helm and they are both excited to get the transition underway.
“We all thoroughly enjoy being here every day and it doesn’t feel like work. It will be fun to get through our first year together and see the fruit of our labor at the end of the season,” Nate says.
“It’s a big transition year for us. We just hope to keep growing, improving and expanding. And we know AARx will help us drive profitability and productivity and keep the Wenner family farm legacy going for years to come,” Kendall says.

Nate, Kendall, Chuck and Harold