Foote Cattle Company – 5 Industry-Leading Feedyards, 285,000+ Head of Cattle & 30,000+ Farming Acres

Foote Cattle Company started in 1985 by Bob Foote, who has owned and operated the ever-growing operation till he recently passed away in 2022. Today, Scott, Brad, and Greg Foote continue their father’s legacy of raising quality beef.

Foote Cattle Company includes multiple feedyards, farms, a bank, and a wide range of other investments. Feedyards include Hoxie Feedyard, Imperial Beef, Lane County Feeders, Decatur Family Beef, and Pioneer Feedyard, which are all located in Western Kansas and Southern Nebraska. Additionally, the farm offers ranch calves, high moisture corn, hay and different types of feedstuffs like alfalfa hay, corn stalks, forage sorghum, straw, grass hay, corn silage, and milo silage, along with manure supply and distribution.

Merschman Seeds – Midwest Family-Owned Independent Seed Company Since 1954

Merschman Seeds was founded in 1954 by Bill and Bernice Merschman and is an independent, family-owned seed company from West Point, Iowa selling soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa, as well as distributing Stine® Corn throughout Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, and Kentucky.

Generations of farmers have trusted Merschman Seeds because they put the farmer’s yield and profitability at the forefont of their minds. This style of mindset and management drives positive change within the company. They do not answer to investors on Wall Street, allowing them the opportunity to do what is best for the farmer and not worry about how that affects their stock price.

Silent Shade Planting Company – From Canada to the Mississippi Delta 2023 Top Producer of the Year

Silent Shade Planting Company began in 1979 when Willard and Laura Lee Jack migrated from Ontario, Canada, to Silent Shade Plantation in the northeast corner of Humphreys County in Mississippi. They started farming a diversified row crop operation of approximately 1,000 acres with one additional employee just outside of Tchula, Mississippi. By 2000, the farm had grown to approximately 3,000 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans, and rice, and in 2001, Willard Jack received the award for the Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.

In the next ten years, two of Willard and Laura Lee’s children, Stacie and Jeremy, returned to work on the farm. Jeremy Jack began to run the day-to-day farm operations. Stacie Koger managed the farm financials. With their return, the family decided to further expand the business by increasing their farming acreage. In 2013, Jeremy and Stacie were recognized as one of Progressive Farmer’s Best Young Farmer and Ranchers, and Jeremy Jack was recognized as Bayer Crop Science’s Young Sustainable Farmer.

What began as a husband and wife operation has flourished into a family business employing five family members: Willard Jack, Laura Lee Jack, Jeremy Jack, Stacie Koger, and Elizabeth Jack. Silent Shade also employs approximately 20 local residents from the Mississippi delta. They are very proud of their history and look forward to opportunities that may come their way in the future.

Meristem – 0 to 500 Dealers and 100+ Million in Less Than 5 Years

Meristem Crop Performance is one of the fastest-growing crop input companies in America right now. Meristem sources, formulates, licenses, and delivers high-quality crop inputs to farmers at the highest possible value offering substantial savings. Overall, Meristem can save farmers up to 30% compared to traditional market prices.

Meristem is focused on building a highly efficient channel to bring crop inputs to market so farmers and independent agribusinesses can make the most of their infrastructure and intellectual property investments and better compete in the global agricultural market. Meristem’s team of experienced ag professionals also works to create real productivity gains for farm businesses through novel biological delivery systems and accelerated access to farm-ready innovations for the benefit of the American Farmer.

Burrus Seed – Grandfather of 100% Free Replant +85 Years Later

Burrus Hybrids was founded in 1935 by two brothers who believed in the value of service and integrity. Still farm-family owned and managed over half a century later, Burrus Hybrids has built on a tradition of growing excellence to become the successful regional hybrid seed corn supplier it is today.

When a company stands the test of time through a launch on the coattails of the Great Depression, economic hardships and successes and the creation and utilization of inventions and innovations, it has attained a great deal. Burrus Hybrids has had the right ingredients to fuel the successful, and growing, hybrid seed corn business that it is today.

The history of Burrus highlights the events, people, and places that contributed to the growth and prosperity of a family seed corn business. From the first planting of hybrid seed corn in 1935, to the formation of the Associated Growers in 1939, to the launch of an interactive website in 2003 and every farming modernization in between, the Burrus history is the result of hard work and commitment of dedicated men and women. Burrus Hybrids has truly stood the test of time as a trusted partner in the farming industry.

Peterson Farms Seed – Largest Independent Seed Company in the Upper Midwest

Peterson Farms Seed are a premier corn and soybean seed provider for Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota farmers. They have the most knowledgeable and dedicated staff, working every day to help your operation purchase, plant, and maximize our products. The company’s extensive replicated research program allows selection of varieties and hybrids specifically for northern conditions. They have the largest testing program in their trade area with nearly 19,000 individual soybean yield plots and nearly 17,000 individual corn yield plots. They currently offer seed for corn, soybeans, IP soybeans, wheat, and yellow peas.

McBee Farm & Cattle Co – Farming at Scale, Luxury Carwashes, and Building a Beef Jerky Brand

McBee Farm & Cattle Co is located in Gallatin, MO consisting of over 40,000 acres. They currently grow corn and soybeans on their row crop ground as well as raise many different breeds of livestock including registered charolais, commercial angus, longhorns, and bison. In addition to agriculture, Honey Creek Ranch offers whitetail and turkey hunting on 6,000 acres of their ground featuring two 5 star lodges with a pool, hot tub, indoor basketball, crossfit gym, game room, 100 yard archery range, game cleaning room, and over 60 stocked fishing ponds!

The McBee Family also owns a chain of carwashes throughout the midwest called McBee’s Coffee N Carwash. Their mission is to make EVERY customer feel valued by providing the highest quality wash experience by offering free coffee with every wash, state-of-the-art stainless steel Wash N’ Wag Dog Wash, free vacuums after every wash, and business programs for your whole fleet. At the moment, they have six carwashes up and running throughout Missouri and Arkansas with more currently under construction.

Their newest venture is currently APEX Protein Snacks, which is backcountry jerky and meat sticks. The idea for Apex Protein Snacks was conceived in the backcountry of the North Brooks Range, Alaska – 150 miles from nearest civilization. It was there while eating a normal convenience store snack stick, and diving into the nutritional aspects of it out of boredom, that the McBee’s realized the need for a minimally processed – highly nutritious meat snack product in the outdoor market place.

Whiskey Acres – Handcrafting the Finest “On-Farm Craft Whiskey in the World”

Whiskey Acres is a fifth generation farm family that took a product that’s abundant in Illinois, corn, and is making it into a farm to spirit whiskey and vodka. Since the 1930s, the Walter family has tilled 2,000 acres surrounding the white clapboard farmhouse where Jim Walter grew up with his wife of 45 years, Sue. The idea for the distillery came to them in 2011 after an Illinois law relaxing craft distillery regulation passed in 2010 and the Walter family was searching for a way to create more revenue on the farm. In 2013, Jim along with his son Jamie Walter and Nick Nagele bet the farm on this whiskey idea. After gaining all necessary permits, their copper still was up and running the week before Christmas 2014. They came to market with their first product in February 2015.
Annually, Whiskey Acres produces up to 70,000 bottles of bourbon, rye, corn whiskey, vodka and an artisan series of small-batch bourbons. Whiskey Acres is only the nation’s second “certified farm distillery,” an American Distilling Institute distinction bestowed upon facilities that produce spirits made from grains grown on the same farm as where the distillery operates.
Here’s Whiskey Acres’ family recipe: mix water from the farm’s underground limestone aquifer with 1,000 pounds of freshly ground grain, called mash. Boil in a 500-gallon stainless steel tank for five hours. Pour into tanks with live yeast. Ferment five days, turning it into distiller’s beer (it’s fermentation that infuses the air with the scent of baking bread). Now Flo takes over, the 500-gallon still named after several women in the Walter family. Inside her curvaceous copper potbelly, caramel-colored beer turns into crystal-clear alcohol. It’s stored in a divided stainless steel tank, capturing the purest alcohol.

Sproule Farms – Turning Wheat Into Pasta and Battling For Shelf Space

Sproule Farms, a partnership of family members actively engaged in farming, began operation in 1993 in Grand Forks, ND and Bath, IL that currently grows sugar beets, soybeans, edible beans, corn, hard red spring wheat, durum wheat, rye, oats, and potatoes. At the end of the day, they never limit themselves to conventional crops as they are constantly aware of new, innovative opportunities and pursue them when the potential for success exists. Additionally, the farm also runs an annual event called Cans 4 Corn. Last year they were able to raise $10,514 and 5,108 canned food items to be donated to our local Salvation Army food bank.

The Sproule sisters — Annie Gorder, Mollie Ficocello and Grace Lunski — recently launched Three Farm Daughters, which takes a proprietary wheat variety grown on the farm and transforms it into products like pasta. The company’s tagline, “No fillers, no dyes, no lies,” explains how they want their products to be seen. At the time of this podcast, their product is currently available in Whole Foods, Meijer, Hugo’s, Central Market, and Kowalski’s.

Wyffels Hybrids – Fastest Growing Seed Company in the Corn Belt

In 1946, Wyffels Hybrids was established with a vision to produce seed that could help friends and neighbors be more successful. That promise has resulted in significant growth and opportunity as Wyffels continues to build a team of employees who share that vision for the seed business, and passion for serving customers.

Wyffels Hybrids, headquartered in Geneseo, Ill., is one of the nation’s largest independent seed corn companies. Focusing strictly on developing and marketing elite corn hybrids, the company is dedicated to providing corn growers in Illinois, Iowa, Southern Wisconsin, Southwestern Minnesota, Southeastern South Dakota and the Ohio River Valley with exceptional products, the latest agronomic information, and unmatched customer service and product support.