Business profile: Seed Consultants, Inc.

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio — Seed Consultants, Inc. started with zero sales in 1990, and has grown to more than $42 million in gross sales in 2010.

Based in Washington Court House, Ohio, Seed Consultants is currently the largest independent seed company in Ohio, and third largest of all seed companies doing business in Ohio.

The company is ranked among the top five independents nationally, and second east of the Mississippi River.

Offerings. The company offers hybrid seed corn, conventional to quad stacks; soybeans, conventional to Roundup Ready; seed wheat; premium alfalfas (Seed Consultants, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of America’s Alfalfas for Ohio); small seeds; seed treatments; inoculations; and wholesale herbicides.

With 56 corn locations, 36 soybean locations and 11 wheat locations, Seed Consultants has the largest replicated testing program of all companies in the eastern Corn Belt, selecting genetics for the eastern corn belt’s unique growing conditions and soil types.

Expansion. In 2000, the company built a state-of-the-art conditioning facility at Washington Court House, with a capacity of 1,000,000 units of soybeans and wheat.

In 2001, the company purchased the retail seed sales of Warner Seeds of Bradford, Ohio and entered into a long-term agreement with Warner Seeds for irrigated production of hybrid seed corn.

The corn production arm, Warner Seeds and Dull Homestead, recently spent more than $3.5 million in new construction and renovation of their seed corn plants.

In 2009, the company purchased an additional warehouse in Sabina, Ohio, giving SCI an additional 130,000 square feet of storage space.

Seed Consultants’ proprietary corn breeding program continues to show promise, with 175 new lines showing improvement, both phenotypically and genotypically. The company is producing three proprietary lines for release in 2011.

Despite a tough economy, Seed Consultants continues to its explosive growth. For spring planting 2010, corn sales are expected to increase in excess of 22 percent while soybean sales should exceed a 20 percent increase.

Accomplishments. Seed Consultants continues to build genetic and trait relationships with the multi-nationals, allowing the company to continue to be competitive, especially since they use a regionalized selection process.

“Our eastern testing program allows us to glean the best lines from the genetic suppliers for our specific environments,” said owner Chris Jeffries. “The nationals cannot release regional lines, but Seed Consultants thrives on this fact.”

Jeffries said that for his company, customers and a passion for the seed business are what matters most.

“We care about our customers,” he said. “This is not lip service, and our actions back up this fact. We have been able to surround ourselves with great customers.”

“It has never been about the money,” Jeffries said. “We are committed not to sell!”

Seed Consultants will be celebrating its 20th year in business this fall.

Regional company. Jeffries said that many growers are not aware the regional company they currently buy from is owned by a multinational and is no longer independently controlled.

“This is great for us since our retention rate continues to be very good and we have been able to build a strong relationship with many of these customers,” he said.

Looking to the future, Seed Consultants plans to double its size within the next five to seven years by following the principles that have allowed it to grow in the first place.

Details. Seed Consultants, Inc. may be reached at P.O. Box 370, Washington Court House, OH 43160. You can also call 800-708-2676 or e-mail seedconsultants@seedconsultants.com. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.seedconsultants.com.

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