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Western Indiana company sells forage seed across the Midwest
By MEGAN KUHN
Marketplace Editor

MARSHALL, Ind. — For a company tucked among the many covered bridges of Parke County, Ind., Byron Seeds’ slogan - “The bridge to better forages” - is certainly appropriate.

The wholesale distribution center for Byron Seeds is located on Samuel Fisher’s farm in rural Parke County near Marshall, Ind. Fisher, the company’s founder and owner, said Byron Seeds supplies high quality forage seed to farmers in the Midwest.

“I started searching for quality forage seed for my farm in 1995 and the business has been growing steadily since,” Fisher said. “Our passion is livestock. We want to find the best quality feed for them. Quality and tonnage are what the company focuses on.”

Byron Seeds has a large variety of forage products available, including legumes and grasses from all over the world. The company also sells Masters Choice corn.

“We added Masters Choice corn to our product line six years ago,” Fisher said. “It is a good fit for livestock producers, good for silage.”

He added that Masters Choice is a quality seed with excellent starch digestibility, which is important in livestock feed.

The company also offers its own seed mixes and can custom mix orders for their customers at their warehouse. Next day delivery service in most parts of the Midwest is also available, along with direct delivery to the customer.

Selling across the Midwest
Fisher has seen an increase in alfalfa and corn sales recently and attributed the upswing to excellent performance and quality from newer selections of both alfalfa and corn.

“I think we will see an increase in forage production in the Midwest in the next five to six years,” he added.

Byron Seeds has five full-time and six part-time employees, along with 130 dealers across the Midwest and sells to farmers from Wisconsin to Tennessee and from Kansas to Ohio.

While Fisher’s Parke County farm serves as Byron Seeds’ wholesale site, Weaver Seeds in Dongola, Ill. is the retail sales center. Weaver’s employees offer forage consulting to the company’s retail customers and dealers, as well as manage direct ship orders.

“All of our employees and dealers are farmers,” said Fisher. “They use our products and know them and can relay their experiences to the customer.”

Fisher and his family operate a grass-based dairy with 60 cows. He said that he uses the products he sells on his own operation and is continuously testing new products and mixes.

“We are always out there researching products,” Fisher said. “We do our own research in the field and also work with labs to test the products further.”

Each year, Fisher and his employees manage 130 test plots on his farm. The company also has test plots throughout the Midwest.

“We are always looking for better quality and use the test plots, along with feedback from our customers to do this,” Fisher said.

The company hosts annual field days and winter meetings to convey what they learned from the test plots and research.

To keep in contact with their customers, Byron Seeds sends out a newsletter four or five times a year to a mailing list of more than 30,000. The company also has a product information guide that not only includes information about their products, but also gives information on grass harvest methods, soil and plant fertility, seeding methods and forage planting tips.

“The performance of the products and the service we put behind them are there to help make our customers more profitable,” Fisher said.

For more information on Byron Seeds, call 1-800-801-3596.

This farm news was published in the October 2006 issue of Marketplace, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

9/27/2006