Prairie Farmer Logo

Wyffels Hybrids celebrates 75 years

The seed company that started in Henry County, Ill., is marking its 75th year with special activities locally and at the Farm Progress Show.

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer Senior Editor

August 20, 2021

3 Min Read
2 men on Wyffels Hybrids stage at Farm Progress Show
75 YEARS: “This milestone stretches across three generations,” says John Wyffels, president. “To survive, we’ve focused on doing one thing better than anyone else, from product quality to how we serve our customers. That focus and commitment won’t change.” Holly Spangler

Reaching 75 years in business is a milestone for any company, but perhaps especially so for a family-owned Midwestern seed company — and that’s exactly what Wyffels Hybrids is celebrating this year.

“If you roll back the clock 75 years, there are only a handful of seed brands that have persevered across that time, and even fewer who remain family owned and truly independent,” says John Wyffels, president. “Even further, our success wasn’t bought or the result of a merger; it was built over time. We simply could not do this without the support of the American family farm.”

The company is excited to celebrate its 75th anniversary at the Farm Progress Show. “People who visit the Farm Progress Show are innovators who want to improve productivity — and that’s how Wyffels Hybrids got its start,” Wyffels says.

Back in 1946, Bill Wyffels Sr. was trying to increase productivity on his Henry County, Ill., farm by testing different oat varieties. He worked with University of Illinois Extension, and before long, neighbors started asking questions about what he was doing. He sold them the seed and wound up starting a seed company.

Over time, production in Henry County shifted from oats to corn, so Bill Sr. began testing in-bred lines and hybrids, and the company has focused on corn ever since, selling seed to farmers across the central Corn Belt.

Back then, Bill Sr. and wife Alma ran the company. Over time, the company transitioned to their sons, Bill Jr. and Bob, and today the company is in the hands of the third generation: John Wyffels, president; Jacob Wyffels, vice president of production; and Blake Wyffels, research.

“This milestone stretches across three generations,” John Wyffels says. “To survive, we’ve focused on doing one thing better than anyone else, from product quality to how we serve our customers. That focus and commitment won’t change.”

Wyffels will celebrate its 75th at the 2021 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., by sponsoring the opening ceremonies, featuring local country singer Eric Burgett, and handing out special treats. Over at the exhibit, company staff will share more on the Wyffels story, past, present and future. The show runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Back home in Henry County, the company is continuing the celebration with its local communities through a program called Wyffels Wednesdays, where it partners with local businesses to offer a special treat for the first 75 customers of the day: 75 coffees at a coffee shop, 75 slices of pie, 75 doughnuts and even a special brew at a local brewery.

“Anybody who goes in, the first 75 get a treat for Wyffels Wednesday as our way of saying thank you for supporting us for 75 years,” Wyffels says.

They offered apple and cherry pie slices through The Purple Onion, a restaurant in Annawan, Ill.

“Putting our customers first is one of our core values,” Wyffels says. “It’s something Bill and Bob learned firsthand, sitting around the kitchen table with Bill Sr. and Alma, and it’s something that the people who represent the Wyffels brand across the countryside believe in today.”

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like