Agronomy Seed Farm


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History of the Agronomy Seed Farm

     In 1948, the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association began a fund drive with the idea of starting a seed increase farm.  The farm preferably would be located on good productive farmland close to Fargo, but far enough away on lighter soil than Fargo clay.  The farm needed to be large enough to be self-supportive.  Seed sales would pay for operating costs. 

     The fund drive conducted in 1948-1949 raised $120,000 through 3500 farmers and farm businesses. Three quarters of land were purchased in September of 1949 on Section 3 of Everest Township in Cass County, North Dakota.  The remaining quarter of land was purchased in 1951. The deed specified that the farm be used as the “Agronomy Seed Farm,” for the increase, development, improvement and production of seed of new and established varieties. All income from the farm must be kept separate from other funds. The Agronomy Seed Farm is part of the NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station.

     The Agronomy Seed Farm began operating in the spring of 1950, planting its first crop. Mark Jendro was selected as the first manager of the seed farm; he was a tenant of the same farm for the previous eight years.  Following a successful crop year in 1950, a new residence was constructed in the fall of 1950 and completed in the fall of 1951.  Also in 1951, a 40’ x 100’ machine storage shed was constructed on the farm.  This building also served as a temporary place to process and store bagged seed until a seed plant could be built.

      From 1951 to 1956, enough money was saved to construct the much needed seed processing plant. Construction began in 1957 with a formal dedication held in July 1958. Total cost of the project came to $61,781.37 for the seed house and annex. The seed plant included 18 bins ranging in size from 300 bushels to 1,800 bushels.  All the bins were metal lined for easy cleaning.

      In the years following, gradual infrastructure improvements were done as income from the seed farm allowed.  A second residence for a technician was constructed in 1966.  Additional storage sheds were added in 1971 and 1979. A 60’ by 120’ seed warehouse was constructed in 1984 south of the seed house and annex for storing bagged seed.

      With the advent of larger farming operations in the 1990’s, the law regarding Foundation grade seed to be only sold in bags was changed to allow the handling of bulk seed.  In 1996, a new bulk seed handling facility was constructed on the west side of the seed farm. It included a 10’ by 100’ truck scale, along with six 4,800 bushel hopper bins.  Additional bins have been added over the years;  currently there are 16 hopper bins with a total storage capacity of 78,800 bushels of seed.  In 1997 a 60’ by 70’ heated farm shop was constructed to allow for necessary space to do repairs on farm equipment, especially during the winter months.

      Even today the Agronomy Seed Farm remains self-sufficient, operating on its own budget.  The income from seed sales and crop sales provides sufficient income to operate the seed farm.  No general fund dollars (tax dollars) are used.  The farm utilizes approximately 1,300 acres of cropland to produce Foundation seed of wheat, barley, oat and soybeans.

 ASF Booklet front page

1965 historical booklet: "The Agronomy Seed Farm: How it came into being - How it operates," by T.E. Stoa

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