Mac Ehrhardt, President

It’s been some time since we’ve sent out a newsletter, and we have a lot talk about!

Our acquisition of Blue River Organic Seed last summer has meant a great deal of work for everyone in both organizations, and more Zoom meetings than anyone should have to endure. Our work is not done, but we have accomplished a lot. And I’d like to publicly thank the entire staff of Blue River, Viking, and Albert Lea Seed for putting their collective shoulders to the wheel. I’d also like to thank you, our customers and dealers, for being patient with us as we worked through the integration and as we work through the complex logistics of this shipping season.

I know we are not getting everything perfect, but I’d like to assure you that we are continuously working to improve our products, processes, and customer service. I will also guarantee that when we make a mistake, we will own it and make it right with you. We take customer feedback seriously, so please let us know how we are doing.

I hope that by the time you read this, corn and soybean planters will have been rolling from NE to NY. But, as I write this, a blizzard is dumping another foot of snow over parts of the Dakotas; Iowa and Ohio report less than 3% of the oats planted; and there has been exactly one day suitable for fieldwork in New York State (according to NASS).

What’s next

We have already shipped more seed around the country to date this year than during the same time period in any prior year, and we have just as many shipments and customer pickups still in front of us.

But even as we do this, we continue to develop the business. Our goal is to be the best supplier of organic and non-GMO field seed in the country. We know our customers and dealers want great products, backed by good information and customer service, from a company that is easy to work with. So in all the work we do we ask the framing question: How does this help our customers and dealers?

Product Development

This winter in Chile we began crossing some of the Blue River (FBN) corn germplasm to inbreds from other breeding programs and we also continued the development of new PuraMaize inbreds. We’ll continue that work this summer as we leverage our licensing and germplasm agreements in order to breed corn specifically for the needs of both organic farmers and those looking for the best non-GMO hybrids.

Product testing

Jake Hansen, Product Manager, has expanded our replicated corn and soybean testing program to include corn from 78 – 116 day, and soybeans from 0.5 – 5.5 in testing sites from North Dakota to New York and from Kansas to Maryland. It’s the first year of this expanded testing program, and it will, no doubt, be a learning experience. We expect to identify many new corn hybrids and soybean varieties for future release, not to mention learning a lot more about the performance of our current hybrids and varieties. Jake has also entered many of our key hybrids and varieties in FIRST & University Trials around the country.

New Products for 2023-2024

Expect a simplified lineup of organic corn and soybeans for 2024. Our goal is to stick with the best varieties, and stock more inventory. Even so, we are growing some exciting new varieties and hybrids this summer, including a couple SilageMaster hybrids that will result in a noticable increase in milk/acre production.

Organizational Development

After the spring shipping season, we will continue our work on organizational design, process development, and implementing software solutions that will better meet the needs of our organization, our dealers, and our customers.

Thank you for your business, and we sincerely hope you have a safe and prosperous year!

Photo: Albert Lea Seed’s main facility in Albert Lea, MN