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Seed Companies Tout Big-Time AnniversariesSeed Companies Tout Big-Time Anniversaries

Marketing gimmicks help them gain attention.

Tom Bechman 1

September 13, 2011

2 Min Read

The DeKalb seed brand is 100 years old. Monsanto, current owner of DeKalb is making the most of the anniversary to promote the reputation of DeKalb. Many other companies are doing the same.

For example, Beck's Hybrids is celebrating 75 years. The 75th anniversary is a common one for companies this year, because hybrid seed corn burst onto the scene for real in the 1930s, about 75 years ago.

Great Lakes Hybrids promoted that it was their 90th anniversary at the recent Farm Progress Show. Their display based on this anniversary was perhaps most telling. They had two single-row corn planters, horse drawn of course, one red and one green, cordoned off with a split-rail fence. Right next to the old planters was a high-tech, semi-permanently mounted video screen, with the display at eye level. The video pictures were of the old days of corn production, and the early days of the company.

What these anniversaries don't always note, at least not upfront, is that there have been many changes in ownerships since the original company was founded. That's not the case for a family-owned company like Beck's Hybrids, which was started and is still owned by the same family. In fact, the third generation of the founder is amongst the leadership in the company.

DeKalb, on the other hand, has seen ownership changes. Now part of Monsanto, it prides itself on delivering top genetics and hybrids with the latest traits available. Monsanto utilized DeKalb genetics to deliver some of its first Smart Stax hybrids a year ago. Smart Stax is an important part of DeKalb's marketing strategy.

Ag Reliant, a breeding company owned by two foreign companies, supplies genetics for a host of companies, including Great Lakes Hybrids. Great Lakes Hybrids has typically been stronger in northern Indiana and Michigan than in southern counties.

Ag Reliant also develops genetics for Agri-Gold. This brand also celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. Agric-Gold officials held a press-conference at the 2011 Farm Progress Show near Decatur, Ill., announcing that they were strengthening the brand and that they hope to introduce another hybrid in their Giant line-up for next year. The Giant program is their own creation. To become a Giant hybrid, that hybrid must meet strict performance criteria set out by Agri-Gold.

The company also announced a major change in their replant policy for 2012. Anyone who purchases corn treated with Poncho/Votivo will be entitled to a 100% replant policy guarantee. That is new for Agri-Gold.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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