Flashback to 2001, Don Funk was the founder of Channel Bio Corp. and leading Midwest Seed Genetics as a regional seed brand. In mid-2017 he reacquired the brand and has expanded the team at the new Midwest Seed Genetics.
"While the seed industry turns inward, focused mainly on itself, we will practice a philosophy we call Outward Focus, providing product choice and an experience based on what our customers tell us they want, rather than on what we decide is good for them,” Funk says. "Some may say this is largely going back to what worked best in the past. We would absolutely agree with them. We know from experience, if we help farmers succeed they will take us with them. The next generation of farmers is rightfully looking for the best - the best product, the best service, the best experience. We won't provide anything less."
With a full launch targeted for 2019, Midwest Seed Genetics is building its product development and team.
Todd Claussen has joined as Midwest's new Director of Sales Agronomy/Product Positioning Lead. Most recently, Claussen was the Director of Agronomy & Technical Services for Landus Cooperatives in Iowa.
“Our value isn’t what we know, it’s what we understand,” Claussen says. He applies this in how the Midwest team is spending a lot of time listening to farmers.
The target geography for the Midwest seed lineup will be Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“We had seed production in 2017 and have limited inventory to put into fields this spring,” Claussen says. “And we are ramped up to make a good impact in 2019.”
The company has a local performance testing program with 300 sites in place for 2018.
While the current focus for the startup is on production, inventory and sales, Claussen details that what Midwest is aiming for is more than a seed company—it’s a culture in how to do business.
“We have an extremely solid product portfolio that is still small but quite good,” he says “But we are people first. That starts by listening to farmers and being able to provide them what they want and need. As a focused, agile company, we are concentrating on best serving our American farmer.”
“People say we are kind of a ‘throwback.’ We want to do exactly what the old seedsmanship was based upon,” Claussen continues. “We feel the American farmer gets left behind. When conglomerates merge, they do so in an effort to be more efficient. But there is loss there, and we feel the one that loses is the American farmer.”
Three additional hires in early 2018 include:
Chandra Edwards is Senior Operations Manager, and she was formerly with Wilbur-Ellis.
Wayne Hoener is Soybean Product Manager, and he was most recently VP Sales for Schillinger Genetics, Inc.
Rodd Whitney is Senior Recruiting Manager, and he was formerly Founding Principal for One Purpose People Agricultural Recruiting.