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Hoegemeyer begins 70th year in seed industry

Agriculture.com Staff 08/23/2006 @ 10:03am

Hoegemeyer, a family-owned seed company in Hooper, Neb., is celebrating 70 years of researching and developing hybrid corn varieties for the western Corn Belt.

The company began in 1937 when H. Chris Hoegemeyer planted 11 acres of seed from parent stock that his son Leonard brought home from the University of Nebraska. That fall and winter the entire crop of seed was sold.

For 70 years, the company has built on the success of those early days. The first exclusive Hoegemeyer Hybrids variety sold was X31, which came out of studies in corn breeding made by Leonard as a graduate student at Kansas State University and the University of Missouri.

As chief technology officer, Leonard's son Tom continues to enhance and expand research efforts with a focus on creating hybrids that can stand up to the often tough growing conditions in the western Corn Belt. His recent work also includes a patent for PuraMaize, a corn that can block pollen from genetically-modified corn that will enable farmers to grow corn for specialty markets without contamination from genetically-modified corn planted in nearby fields.

"We have enjoyed a long history in the seed industry only because we understand that in order for Hoegemeyer to succeed going forward, we must first work to ensure the long-term success of our customers," says chief executive officer Stephan Becerra, Leonard Hoegemeyer's grandson.

In addition to corn hybrids enhanced with herbicide and insect protection technology, the company produces conventional corn hybrids, white and food grade yellow varieties. Hoegemeyer also produces and sells soybeans and sorghum and partners with America's Alfalfa and Target Seed LLC for growers in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, western Iowa and northwestern Missouri.

Today, the fourth generation, two of Leonard's grandsons, Becerra and Chris Hoegemeyer, executive vice president, have taken on leadership roles in the company.

Hoegemeyer, a family-owned seed company in Hooper, Neb., is celebrating 70 years of researching and developing hybrid corn varieties for the western Corn Belt.

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