In 1967 three brothers lived on the family farm. Under the tutelage of their father (Carl Kerkhoff) Phil, Dan & Steve rented 160 acres from a nearby land owner where they raised corn and soybeans. Two years of successful farming convinced the boys to rent 80 additional acres and a new family business was born.
Kerkhoff Brothers was officially formed in 1973 with the boys farming 750 acres by this time. In addition to that, they continued to work in their father’s 720 acre operation. With an almost unwavering force of growth, the family was soon farming more than 4,000 acres annually and custom growing seed corn for such notable clients as De Kalb, Asgrow and Aztec.
After personally experiencing some of the inefficiencies involved in working for large multi-national corporations the brothers figured there must be a better way and they would be the ones to develop it. In 1981 they secured their first independent production contract and in doing so gained oversight of the entire production process from planting, through detasseling, harvest, and drying, all the way on to delivering finished, scalped bushels to their client.
Kerkhoff Brothers ‘better way’ proved successful and 1988 saw further expansion of operations with the addition of a grain tower and new dryers at the ‘home’ farm & purchase of the Burlington plant & storage facility. With renovations completed in time for harvest 1989, the Burlington plant was soon processing more than 100,000 units of custom grown seed corn for contract clients. The continued growth in the fields mirrored the success of the business, as 1991 saw the addition of 2 fertilizer plants to the operation as well as the noteworthy accomplishment of producing, at that time, the world’s largest popcorn seed field.
In addition to a diligent work ethic David & Louise also gave their family strong moral character and this was in no way lacking in the Kerkhoff Brothers. They knew that continued success would, at least in part, depend on their willingness to ‘give back’ and in that spirit 1997 saw the birth of a tradition that continues to this day. That year saw the first Brazilian born agricultural students come to the family farm to study American progressive farming methods through the sponsorship of the International Farmer’s Aid Association. These yearlong internships benefit all involved through the exchange of ideas & techniques and the forging of lifelong friendships.
In order to effectively manage the continually expanding operations, 1998 welcomed a division of labor strategy to included the creation of Kerkhoff, LLC devoted to the production aspects of the Kerkhoff Seed Farm business. With multiple aspects of the family business in some form of operation year-round, our farm is unique, says Dan Kerkhoff (CEO), and always positioned to take advantage of the next opportunity to come our way.
Just as David and Louise embraced the hope and promise of America and created a legacy for their family, all of the Kerkhoff enterprise embraces each new day with hope and expectancy.
The best is yet to come.