Mergers and acquisitions may dominate the headlines in the seed industry, but a new start-up company is going against the consolidation trend. CB Seed, headquartered in Bay City, WI, recently announced its entry into the highly competitive hybrid corn seed market. The new company is targeting the northern Corn Belt with conventional and select-trait corn hybrids.
“We are responding to producers who have asked us for another choice, and we saw an opportunity to provide hybrids and traits that they want,” says Charles Brown, president of Brownseed Genetics, the parent company of CB Seed. “We are developing conventional germplasm and select traits for the specific need of our customers.”
Brown is no stranger to the seed industry. He’s a third-generation seedsman for a company that’s been around 100 years. Five years ago, Brown sold the retail business to focus on research and development of corn germplasm. Today, he sees an opportunity to develop a market through CB Seed.
The new company’s seed will be sold primarily through distributors in Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas and northern Iowa. The company will also offer certified organic and non-GMO seed.
“We want to access the best technologies and germplasm to find the best products,” Brown says. “Our breeding focus is 100-day-and-less corn in select traits.” The company has a business alliance with Bio Diagnostics to use marker-assisted breeding technology. “We can use some of the latest breeding technology to move products forward,” he says.
In addition, the company has developed high-protein and high-oil corn hybrids for select end-use customers and is contracting with growers to supply that market.
“We are constantly responding to the market,” Brown says. “As a smaller seed company we need to be nimble and react to what our customers want.”
So far, Brown says, response has been positive. “Our tradeshow season has been very successful,” he says. “Demand has been very good.”