August 20, 2021
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.”
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