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Business Booming For Non-GMO Seed Company
Lou Ehrhardt founded Albert Lea Seed Company in 1923 to provide farm and garden seed along with a range of farm supplies. In 2016 Lou’s grandsons, Tom and Mac Ehrhardt, changed their entire line of Viking Corn and Soybean seed products to 100 percent conventional seeds (non-GMO, non-traited). They will still offer traited products, through a distributorship with NorthStar Genetics.
     Mac Ehrhardt says he and his brother decided to change their focus because the company has been selling more and more non-GMO seeds in the past decade. They say many of their customers are moving to non-GMO because they often yield as well or better and cost considerably less. In 2017 they offered 23 conventional corn hybrids and 8 conventional soybean varieties. Conventional corn seed may be $100 to $150 less for an 80,000-kernel seed bag unit than traited corn, says Ehrhardt. The difference in soybeans conventional vs. traited is usually less than $20 per bag. Another economic boost for farmers raising conventional products is that they can often get premium prices from companies and individuals who buy the grain, so it’s a win-win situation.
    Ehrhardt says the Viking Pure seed from their company is guaranteed 99 percent GMO-free and its Ultra Pure is 99.9 percent GMO-free. They grow and produce those seeds themselves and warehouse the products at their Albert Lea location. The company has grain storage capacity of 350,000 bu. and maintains 100,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space.
    To further delve into conventional products, they’re planning on researching non-GMO varieties for food use and may offer those products in the future. The company currently offers organic seeds including barley, oats and wheat that are certified non-GMO. They also sell many different varieties of grasses, small grains, native seed, cover crops and conservation seed.
    “We’re certainly not against farmers planting traited seeds,” the Ehrhardts say. “However we feel there’s also a great deal of potential in conventional products. We’ve got the knowledge, the production capabilites, and the sales expertise to sell them so that’s the route we’re going.”
    Albert Lea Seed House will continue to provide traited products from NorthStar Genetics, a business they’ve known and been associated with for 20 years.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Albert Lea Seed House, 1414 W Main Street, Albert Lea, Minn. 56007 (ph 507 373-3161; www.alseed.com).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #2