Fred Greder started Benchmark Agribusiness in 1988 with a $200 Smith Corona electric typewriter and the savings from moonlighting as a fee appraiser on evenings and weekends while still working full time as a farm mortgage loan officer. The practice developed quickly thanks to the appraisal experience and industry contacts developed during a thirteen-year career as a farm loan officer in North Central Iowa prior to 1988. Greder has been accredited by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers since 1989 and a member since 1984. In fact, he was the Iowa Chapter State President in 2002 and has also served on National Committees. Fred has been a State Certified General Real Property Appraiser since three weeks after the State of Iowa began issuing certificates in October of 1991. He was raised on a combination crop and livestock farm in Western Iowa. Greder also maintained a hog feeding operation earlier in his career. He and his wife Marty have been residents of North Central Iowa since they both graduated from Iowa State University on the same day in 1975. Fred's major emphasis of study was in Farm Operations. In addition to his appraisal activities, Fred is also a trained mediator.

       As the Office Manager and Appraisal Assistant, Barb Bowen is the face and voice of Benchmark Agribusiness to the USDA offices and courthouses around North Central Iowa more than anybody else on the staff. For 18 years, Barb, a graduate of Hamilton Business College and Nora Springs native, has been professionally filling the appraisal file with all of the essential information such as real estate taxes, assessments, corn base acres, soil types, deeds, easements, surveys, etc. The list goes on and on. Barb's portrait to the left can also be found in at least two places in the dictionary. Her picture appears next to the definitions for "Iowa work ethic" and "company loyalty". For the first nearly 27 years of their marriage, Barb and her husband, Bill, raised their three kids on their livestock and crop farm North of Mason City. Barb balances a busy personal life between family, 2 grandkids, 1 horse, gardening and rooting for the Hawkeyes. She feels it is part of her job description at Benchmark to keep these Cyclone fans humble, busy and having fun!!

       Chris Staudt joined Benchmark Agribusiness after the crop harvest of 1997. He continues to operate an active cash grain operation near Dougherty, Iowa, while acting as an Appraisal Associate between the planting and harvesting seasons. Staudt is a fifth generation farmer along with his wife, Shelle, and their two children. Chris is also a proud graduate of Iowa State University. The area of emphasis in Chris' Bachelor of Science degree in 1986 was in Agricultural Finance/Business. He also has a strong career background in lending. Chris worked for three different lenders for a total of seven years immediately following college. His areas of expertise at Benchmark Agribusiness are in the fields of government support programs, cash rent appraisals and farm expense analysis.

       Gary Howell joined Benchmark Agribusiness after retiring from the Farm Credit System with 44 years of service. Howell spent over twenty years as the president of the local association of the nationwide cooperative lending system. He was their staff appraiser in North Central Iowa for the last sixteen years of service. Howell can probably claim to have traveled up and down nearly every gravel road within 50 miles of Mason City. Gary sat for his test to become a State Certified General Real Property Appraiser on the exact same day and the same place and at the same time as Fred Greder in October of 1991! Howell is a 1958 graduate of Iowa State University where he majored in Agricultural Business.  Gary has owned and operated farmland between Mason City and Nora Springs for 35 years. Gary is the past president of the Mason City Noon Rotary Club and the past president of the Mason City YMCA. Gary has a strong background in business financial consulting - particularly counseling farm families with business transitions between the generations.