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Wilbur-Ellis looks beyond its first 100 years

The Around Farm Progress podcast guest John Buckley, CEO for the ag industry supplier, talks about what it takes to last 100 years, and looks ahead

In 1921, three University of Washington schoolmates formed an import-export brokerage business in San Francisco, chances are they didn't know their $5,000 investment would turn into a $3 billion private company serving agriculture. But Brayton Wilbur, Floyd Ellis and Thomas Franck jumped into the business and Wilbur-Ellis was born.

But how does a company last 100 years? And what will it take to thrive in the next 100? John Buckley, CEO, Wilbur-Ellis sat down to talk about those issues in the latest episode of the Around Farm Progress podcast. He covers some wide-ranging territory in the interview including some thoughts on resilience, innovation and seeking opportunities to grow. Some of those very ideas have application on the farm.

One topic he discussed is a new Innovation Award, challenging universities to share their latest ag innovations. You can learn more about that program at

And if you want to dig into the past and look at the growth of the company, Wilbur-Ellis has put together a "through the decades" section on its website that history buffs will find fascinating. It's a detailed look at how the company grew from the 1920s through today.

Beyond the company's 100th anniversary website, there's a video series featuring Wilbur-Ellis leaders talking about how lessons from the past help deal with today's challenges. It's an interesting way to value the lessons of history.

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The podcast Around Farm Progress goes live online by 3 p.m. Central time each Friday and will engage editors from around the country as well as experts in our industry. You can listen to this week's episode above or subscribe using your favorite podcast service just search "Around Farm Progress" and subscribe so you don't miss an episode.

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