Mac Ehrhardt, President | Tom Ehrhardt, Vice President
This year marks our 100th year in the seed business. As we reflect on the busy year we just had, we want to take a moment to express gratitude to our employees, loyal customers, and the many stakeholders and folks long gone who have contributed so much to our 100 years of success.
Farmers, working with you every day allows us to be directly involved in the vibrant growth of diversified agriculture. We know you count on us to provide quality seed and agronomic information to help you farm successfully while stewarding the land—a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
Our grandfather, Lou Ehrhardt, started selling seed out of Gulbrandson Hardware in downtown Albert Lea in 1923. He sold Grimm alfalfa, Hubam sweetclover, Danish Sludstrup mangel beets, Marquis wheat, sudangrass, flax, peas, oats, Dwarf Essex rapeseed, MN13 open-pollinated field corn, and a relatively new forage crop called Habaro Soybeans: “…many farmers are planting them with corn for fodder, ensilage, and hogging-off.” He also sold fruit in season, goldfish, and hardware items. As you can see from that product list, we’ve been supporting diversified agriculture from the beginning and have never stopped. Today, we have over 600 seed products in our lineup, maintaining the most varied inventory of farm and field seed in North America. We believe this range and variety of seed choices provides the strongest lineup of both organic and non-GMO conventional seed products, anywhere. Every season we expand our Viking Conventional Corn & Soybean brand to provide the best non-GMO varieties and hybrids (including Viking 72-06, which won many trials in the Upper Midwest in 2022). We have also continued to grow our research and testing capabilities over many years.
Our small grain, hay seed, and cover crop offerings are always interesting, as we include some of the very newest (as well as some heirloom) oat, wheat, barley and rye varieties. We’re convinced that there is a place in your operation for winter- or spring-sowed small grains that can increase the health of your soils and your bottom line.
As many of you know, we acquired Blue River Organic Seed in 2022. We brought on most of their staff and retained their office and warehouse location in Ames, IA. We believe we are now even more uniquely positioned to provide the best organic-specific seed genetics for corn, soybeans, alfalfa and other crops—including favored access to the largest corn breeding program focused on developing hybrids specifically for organic acres.
We want to state clearly that the acquisition of Blue River does not diminish our support for customers who farm conventionally. Our combined companies have improved access to genetics and resources that also benefit any conventional farm operation.
We’ve grown a lot in the past 100 years, but we are still a small company—owned by the same family and run by the good people who work here every day. Our core values include building goodwill with everyone in the agricultural community, being transparent in our business practices, providing practical solutions to the challenges facing our customers, and supporting the agricultural landscape that supports us all. We are committed to the many ways good farming practices (both organic and conventional) can, at the most basic level, improve long term soil and water quality while reducing greenhouse gases. Thank you for helping us reach this incredible milestone. We look forward to working with you and your families for the next century and beyond!
Photo: All staff photo in August 2022, following Blue River acquisition