Minnesota Farm Guide reports:
Their signs were out last year, in the ditches, next to fields and more are likely to be out in the 2018 growing season. Beck’s Hybrids is slowly expanding business into Minnesota and South Dakota.
“We are the country’s largest family owned independent seed company. We have been in business since 1937 and we are starting to work with our fifth generation of the Beck family,” said Harold Lovin, regional business manager with Beck’s, during a recent phone interview.
For the last four years, the Atlanta, Ind.-based company has been focused on expansion. After developing a solid business in Indiana and Illinois, the group expanded into Iowa and Missouri.
“We have expanded into Wisconsin and then this last year we made an announcement to move into Minnesota and South Dakota,” said Lovin. “My role has been, as a regional business manager, to find the leaders, what we call area team leaders and build the teams.”
Beck’s Hybrids builds their own genetics, but they also work with many other genetic companies. They offer a wide range of genetic platforms allowing their customers to differentiate their growing strategies without having to consult with multiple seed dealers.
“We work with all of the genetic suppliers that are in the marketplace,” he said. “They may be working with a Dupont platform product, with a Dow platform product, a Syngenta platform product. We may be working with our own genetic material, but at any rate they would be getting true differentiation within their portfolio.”
No one can predict what the season will do and finding the right seed genetics for a given field can be challenging. By differentiating the genetic profiles used across all acres, farmers have a greater chance for success.
“Just like going to a casino, you don’t put all your chips on one number or all your money on one color. You want to spread it out so that you’ve got the best chance,” he said. “Differentiation helps assure that you’re going to do that. Finding the right product for the acre is key.”
Beck’s has the right genetics to market in the northern part of the Midwest, but expansion is still challenging. It takes more than just the right products.
“The biggest challenge was managing expectations,” said Lovin. “We really do not want to have our customers get a bad experience right out of the gate, it’s hard to overcome those situations.”
As the company was expanding into southern Iowa, Minnesota groups were anxious to offer the Beck’s products.
At the time, the company was looking to move into the state, but logistically was not prepared.
“We really did have the products that would work up there. It is the fact that we didn’t have the rest of the infrastructure that we needed such as warehouses, product availability and things of that nature ready for that expansion,” he said.
They face those same challenges in Nebraska and Kansas. The customers are there, product demand is there, the rest of the groundwork must be laid out first.
Before the Minnesota/South Dakota expansion began, the company made sure the more recent moves into Iowa and Missouri were well established.
“We want to do well in the states that we adopt, and we are expanding in first, before we go ahead and take on more. Again, this is a family business, so we are being patient, we are looking for the right opportunities to build,” he said.
This summer, July 23-25, Beck’s will host a series of sales blitzes in central and southeastern Minnesota. It’s a chance for them to meet the local growers and to share their story.
“We are excited about that, to be able to come out and visit with folks – introduce who Beck’s is, what we are about and our go-to market strategy for them, so we are looking forward to that,” said Lovin. “We have just been so thankful for the reception that we’ve gotten as we’ve come to Minnesota and South Dakota.”