By CINDY LADAGE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The home office of Siegers Seed Co. is located in Holland, Mich. – which seems fitting, since this family-owned company began when Nanne Sluiswhi, a Dutch immigrant, came to the United States.
The company was actually founded in 1912 in Chicago by Sluiswhi, who was the great-grandfather of its current owner and president, Rick Siegers.
“We got started in the flower business, but sold off the flower side 50 years ago,” Jason Williamson, a Siegers seed consultant, explained. “Everyone in agriculture today is feeding the world. Our part is supplying the vegetable side. We deal with growers big and small, and the processing side.”
Williamson was set up at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference earlier this month. He said this fourth-generation family business provides seeds from all around the world.
“What makes us unique is today’s grower needs someone to work with, someone to partner with,” and Siegers does that, he added.
Williamson’s job is to share information about what seeds may work for a specific producer. If experience is what a grower is looking for, Siegers has been in business for just over 100 years helping growers achieve success by bringing them the right varieties, at the right time, to meet specific market needs.
“Our motto is ‘Partner for Profit,’” Williamson stated, and attributed company growth to “Christian family values and business practices.”
Siegers Seed specializes in fresh market vegetable varieties. “We represent varieties from around the world; we represent seeds out of Israel, Europe, et cetera,” he said.
To sell its seeds, Siegers selects individuals such as Williamson, with an agricultural background. “We all have an ag background of some sort. It is beneficial,” he pointed out. “Every day is rewarding when the fruits of labor is helping feed people.”
He gets a kick out of going into the grocery store and farmers’ markets and seeing peppers and other crops that came from Siegers Seeds. Williamson serves growers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas and northern Indiana and Illinois.
Based out of Ohio, he has a degree in marketing from Bluffton University. He has worked in the agriculture industry since 1981, with 11 of those years in the vegetable seed business. His expertise is in sweet corn, pumpkins and other fall decorative items.
Siegers offers commercial vegetable seeds, including: beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe/mixed melons, carrots, cauliflower, chicory, collards, corn (of all varieties like ornamental, popping, white and yellow) cucumber, eggplant, endive, escarole, fall ornamentals, gourds, greens, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, okra, onion, Pak Choi, parsley, peas, peppers (hot and sweet), pumpkins, radish, spinach, squash (winter and summer), Swiss chard, tomato, turnip and watermelon.
Besides the main office in Michigan, there is also a Canada office and a presence in Florida. Some of the new varieties offered in the 2013 catalog are Tabasco, a hot pepper, Baby Bumps, pumpkins and many more.
Siegers Seed represents a variety of breeders and producers from all over the world. For more information, log onto www.siegers.com