Where Family Matters: AgVenture McKillip Seeds Celebrates 75th Anniversary
Anniversaries are special events. A seventy-fifth anniversary is a significant landmark – especially for a family owned and operated business. AgVenture McKillip Seeds is unique in just how deeply they keep the "family" in family owned and operated. Harvest 2010 marks the 75th year this family has produced and sold hybrid seed corn. In addition to corn, they produce and market soybean and wheat seed to farmers across northern Indiana, northwest Ohio and into southern Michigan.
It all started in 1934 when Alvin McKillip grew ten acres of seed corn for Indiana Farm Bureau. With that act, Alvin McKillip had set up a seed tradition that would grow and prosper across four generations and positively affect farmers in three states. In 1935, the first McKillip Seeds corn hybrids were sold. Today, the company sells thousands of seed units across the region.
By the 1960's, Alvin's sons, Jim, Bob, Jack and Ken had joined the business and saw it through its next phases of growth and development. Today, the 3rd and 4th generations are very much involved in daily operations. Nine family members are working partners in the business, plus additional members in the office and sales team. Through the years, the family operation has raised hogs and now grows tomatoes for Red Gold. Mike McKillip said, "We are producers and have been for 4 generations. We have found additional enterprises to help make our operation more successful and diversified. But, the one thing that has remained at our core and a constant over the years is our family's dedication to the seed business."
Positive Growth, Continued Independence
In 2006, McKillip Seeds joined AgVenture, Inc., the nation's largest network of independently owned and operated Regional Seed Companies (RSCs). Snyder said, "Through our alignment with AgVenture, we have greater access to the seed technologies and additional genetics that growers need to raise high yields in today's production environments. We also have the ability to work with AgVenture's network of 39 independent RSCs throughout the country." He added, "This was an exceptional opportunity for us to continue to stay independent while broadening access. Our continued ability to develop seed products here has been greatly enhanced through this relationship. At the same time, it has allowed us to work together and to farm as a family."
Mitch Snyder, Sales and Marketing manager, states, "Through AgVenture, we participate in the Maximum Profit System™ (MPS), a systematic approach to significantly increasing yields, lowering cost per bushel and increasing profitability on every acre. We have seen dramatic results on acres where MPS has been implemented. MPS is really is a set of practical practices and innovative tools that help growers make the most of each seed. We're committed to helping our customers achieve their goals, realizing the maximum profit from every acre."
As a company with generations of experience at hand, the McKillip family has a real, working understanding of variables that affect crop health and development. Mike McKillip said, "We make it a point to work with our customers, one-on-one throughout the year to help them both meet and exceed their yield goals and profit potential."
Mitch Snyder added, "We are really looking forward to this winter's AgVenture University programs. These intensive education programs examine what practices make most sense with the new seed genetics and technologies customers have available to them. We don't tell customers how to farm, but rather help them identify management opportunities that maximize profit on every acre."
Success is not about rapid expansion, according to Snyder. "Success is about commitment and follow-through. We are committed to bringing our customers more value, more information, better applications of seed genetics and technologies to farmers than our competition does. We've recently hired two new AgVenture Yield Specialists to work with growers on their acres and in their operations. We're following through on our commitment to help reach more customers and be that consultant to their operations."
In the past, it took 10-15 years to develop a new hybrid. Today, science and technology have allowed more products to come to the market more rapidly, allowing growers more options and more choices. Snyder added, "We feel strongly that success comes to those who deploy better management choices at each phase throughout the growing season and crop planning process."
A History with Perspective, a Future with Promise
AgVenture, Inc. Business Development Manager, Chuck Schneider says, "The McKillip family's longevity and dedication to seed production are truly remarkable. That long-term understanding is extremely valuable to our customers. They are an outstanding example of putting knowledge and integrity to work." He added, "The McKillip's bring pride and perspective to a long culture of seed professionalism. In this industry, or any other, it's an achievement worthy of considerable respect."
Mike McKillip honors the seventy-five years the McKillip family has committed to their business. "This is an important milestone. We respect the work that's gone into making our company and our family what it is today. We also know it is important to grow and change with the times. We understand how critical it is to effectively manage the environment each seed lives in to produce a viable plant and an optimal harvest. As AgVenture McKillip Seeds, we'll continue to work hard and evolve through the years for our family and for our customers."