Founded by two brothers in 1935, Burrus Seed has truly stood the test of time as a trusted partner in the farming industry.
Burrus Hybrids was founded in 1935 by two brothers who believed in the value of service and integrity. Still farm-family owned and managed over half a century later, Burrus Hybrids has built on a tradition of growing excellence to become the successful regional hybrid seed corn supplier it is today.
When a company stands the test of time through a launch on the coattails of the Great Depression, economic hardships and successes and the creation and utilization of inventions and innovations, it has attained a great deal. Burrus Hybrids has had the right ingredients to fuel the successful, and growing, hybrid seed corn business that it is today.
The history of Burrus highlights the events, people, and places that contributed to the growth and prosperity of a family seed corn business. From the first planting of hybrid seed corn in 1935, to the formation of the Associated Growers in 1939, to the launch of an interactive website in 2003 and every farming modernization in between, the Burrus history is the result of hard work and commitment of dedicated men and women. Burrus Hybrids has truly stood the test of time as a trusted partner in the farming industry.
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Roy, 29, and Wilbur Burrus, 27, purchase farmland for $400/acre and trade farms with their father, Alexander Burrus. This land becomes the first farm for producing Burrus Seed and is still used today.
The Burrus brothers buy their first steel-wheel tractor.
Roy Burrus with a basket of U.S. 13 hybrid ears in 1940. There is no mechanical harvest, so all corn is picked by hand.
Roy and Wilbur Burrus work closely with the University of Illinois Extension of County Farm Advisors in a series of meetings held throughout the area touting hybrid corn. The Burrus brothers are strong advocates of the Extension Service, including the 4-H program. During the meetings, the Extension Service sells the new hybrid seed corn so farmers can produce their own. This marks the beginning of the Burrus Hybrid corn business.
Roy and Wilbur Burrus purchase their first tractor, a Farmall F20, the first tractors to have rubber tires. The tractor makes the tedious tasks of farming a little easier for the already hardworking men and women.
With only 20 acres of seed corn production, the corn business is still a sideline business for Burrus. Burrus hires its first employee, Carlton Schumacher, as sales manager for $100/month. He remains with Burrus until his retirement in 1976. Burrus has four full-time employees. Orval Fricke joins Burrus Seed Farms and works full time until his retirement 40 years later, then works part time for an additional 13 years during peak times for a total tenure of 53 years. Martin Burrus, after completing his sophomore year at the University of Illinois, comes home to help with company accounting as bookkeeper and plant manager. He is paid $100/month. With his help and organization, employees’ salaries are raised to $2.00 per day. Burrus adds drying bins and grading equipment to the plant.
Tim Greene Tom Burrus’ son-in-law is named President of Burrus Bros. and Associated Growers following in Tom’s footsteps. DONMARIO brand soybeans are added to the product lineup 2019 planting.
Griffin Greene (oldest grandson of Tom Burrus) joins the Burrus sales team after graduating from the University of Illinois, becoming the first fifth generation member of the Burrus family to be involved in the seed business. DONMARIO brand soybeans take the Burrus marketing footprint by storm capturing top honors in several major third-party plot locations.
Burrus Seed celebrates 85 years in the seed business amongst a year made particularly memorable by the coronavirus pandemic. Changing the way business was conducted internally and with growers was taken in stride and both a successful harvest and record-setting company soybean sales were achieved. The annual Burrus Sales Team Retreat to kick off the new sales season was held via Zoom celebrating the year’s many achievements and preparing for the 2021 planting season.