About Us - Past, Present, and into the future. . .
Stone Seed was started in 1928 by Rolland Stone and his father. Their intention was to produce a small quantity of seed corn for their own use and offset the cost by selling some to their friends and neighbors. Most all corn at this time was of the open pollinated variety. Preliminary work was just getting started on hybrids.
Rolland was able to establish a rather loyal following in the next few years while, at the same time, working closely with the University of Illinois on their basic hybrid corn program. Little did he and other seedsmen of the day know of the revolution in Agriculture that was about to occur.
In the mid-1930s, Rolland offered his first self-produced hybrid varieties. These hybrids, derived from university research, were greeted with much acclaim. Stone Seed was off and running. In the next 10-15 years, hybrids went from 2% of the total corn base to over 90%. Rolland continued to build the family business and tend to farming until his son, Richard, graduated from the University of Illinois.
Richard's main love was farming. Throughout the 1960s he increased Stone Seed's acreage and continued to build and improve the production side of the business. Contract production was becoming a popular practice. Larger companies, wanting to spread their risk, had other seedsmen produce portions of their crop. Richard was very good at cultivating some of the leaders of the day into growing corn with him. As a result, Stone Seed grew significantly during the next 20 years.
1980 was the year that Richard's son Andrew graduated from the University of Illinois. He and Richard agreed that the nature of the seed industry was changing. Seed companies were doing more of their own production and thus the contract business had become more and more unpredictable. The decision was made to sell more seed under their own brand and to develop improved marketing channels. Thus began the expansion of our retail side.
In the 1990s agriculture and the seed industry saw yet another revolution. The advent of biotechnology heralded a change that was similar to what Rolland saw with the coming of hybrid technology. Stone Seed continued to grow and expand while working hard to ensure it had the best access to premium genetics and technologies.
In 1996, Stone Seed helped form a group of regional seed companies that became known as The CORE Group. It was created to help ensure continued access to traits and to explore efficiencies of scale. We quickly discovered the benefits of large area testing and the strength of combined marketing strategies.
In the early 2000s The CORE Group continued to work together and expand its testing and evaluation of promising hybrids and technologies. Throughout this period, Stone Seed also worked hard at establishing new market areas. We expanded our scope in Illinois and into the state of Missouri. In a few short years, Stone Seed had established itself as a company offering great hybrids and unsurpassed customer service for many new friends in Missouri.
September of 2005 saw Stone Seed and three other CORE Group members acquired by ASI. The opportunity to bring our customers the best of the new genetics and traits was one that was rapidly embraced. The Stone family has always prided itself on taking the long term view and doing what we feel is best for our employees and customers. The ability to directly access one of the most advanced pipelines of traits and genetics was an opportunity that had to be taken. As always, the Stone family wanted to make sure it was positioned to bring its customers the products they need to be successful in the agricultural arena of tomorrow.
2006 & 2007 brought the addition of two other brands to our company. The Stone Seed Group was formed. Sieben Hybrids (see below) joined us in June of 2006 and Moweaqua Seeds (see below) joined us in February of 2007. The team of seed professionals we have been able to assemble is truly remarkable.
We look with anticipation and excitement to the future. As we go forward, we make you this promise. We will continue to stand by you with information, service, and flexibility. We will work with you, listening to and incorporating your ideas into our way of doing business. Most importantly, we will maintain the personalized customer service and high product standards that were integral to Rolland's success almost eight decades ago.
More of the Stone Seed history, additions and growth. . .
Sieben Hybrids joins us in 2006
Read about their proud past. . .
Arthur and Ira Sieben established Sieben Hybrids in 1939 on their family farm north of Geneseo, IL when they planted their first ten acres of seed corn production. Art applied one simple business principle, “We'll offer a competitive product at a fair price – and we'll make people feel good about doing business with us.” Art's philosophy has been followed for more than six decades and continues on today.
The original converted corn crib and quonset hut used by Art were soon outgrown, and in 1947 a modern processing plant and drying bins were constructed on the north edge of Geneseo. The addition of facilities continued throughout the 50's and 60's as the company grew.
In the early 1970's, Arthur's sons, Chan and Todd Sieben joined the company, eventually purchasing it from Arthur in 1979. On farm testing programs were expanded with several experimental varieties included. The increase in seed sales also led to modernization of the seed plant and the addition of personnel.
Phil Jordan was hired as Vice President of Seed Operations in 1985 and Jack Smith joined Sieben Hybrids as Vice President of Sales in 1991. In 1993, Phil & Jack took over the day-to-day management of the business as the Sieben brothers pursued other interests. They purchased the corporation from Chan and Todd Sieben in 2000. Phil and Jack continued the commitment of providing the best-adapted and proven seed products to Sieben customers. The company's approach continued to be that of “every customer counts” even as the company continued to grow.
In 2003, Jack Smith decided to retire from the business and Trent Griffith purchased his 50% share of Sieben Hybrids. Trent, a fourth generation seedsman, had spent his entire life in the seed industry. He became the vice president of sales and marketing for Sieben.
To accommodate increased growth, in 2005 a new office and warehouse facility were constructed not far from the original Sieben site. The following June, Sieben Hybrids' sales and marketing division was acquired by American Seeds, Inc. Both Phil & Trent felt that this decision would put both their customers and employees in a very positive position within an evolving, dynamic industry. They ensured that current and future customers will have access to the most cutting edge technology and elite genetics available while still receiving the service they have come to expect.
Trent serves as Sales Director for the Stone Seed Group Sales Team. We continue to grow but maintain our strong regional focus as part of the Stone Seed Group. We currently serve growers throughout Illinois, eastern Iowa, and northern Missouri.
Moweaqua Seed Co. joins us in 2007
Read about their proud past. . .
Moweaqua Seed Co. was formed by Jim Hedges and Brian Zindel in 1987 when they purchased the former Bohlen Brothers Seed Co. facilities in Moweaqua, IL. MSC initially was involved in retail sales for other seed companies. In 1990, the Moweaqua Seed Company brand was formed. This brand consisted of both hybrid seed corn and soybeans.
The mid to late 90's saw several advances in equipment and facilities. New offices, warehouses and processing equipment were added in 1993 & 1994. In response to customer demand for bulk soybeans a new bulk load-out facility and scales were also added. These were followed by a new insulated warehouse in 2003 and a new office in 2005.
We have always prided ourselves on being a progressive, regional company that treats our customers as business partners. We strongly believe in knowing each customer and their farming operation. This allows us to strategically place our products on each farm to enhance maximum yield potential. We place a very high value on suggestions from our customers and use them as a springboard for innovation.
On February 1, 2007, American Seeds, Inc. purchased the sales and marketing division of MSC and we joined the Stone Seed Group. We now have direct access to one of the world's most advanced pipelines of traits and genetics. We will remain consistent with our history of strategic placement of these products and our focus will continue to be regional excellence.