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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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A Visit to the Seed Corn Capital of the World

By Tyne Morgan


The ag industry has more than $71 billion impact on this state’s economy. It’s the state that leads in the production of tart cherries and ranks third nationally in apple production. It’s also the top producer of cucumbers grown for pickles in the United States. Oh, and one more little clue. This state is home to the “seed capital of the world.” Any ideas of what state this could be yet?

It’s the state of Michigan. With an auto industry that’s not what it once was, agriculture is more important now than ever.

In my travels through Michigan, growers spoke about why agriculture is the shining star for the state and much more.

I also visited Constantine, Michigan, which is the seed corn capital of the world. Due to sandy soils, the ground is ideal for seed corn production.. And thanks to irrigation and accessible water, production in the area is good. But more than just corn, production growers also grow soybeans, green beans and more. Although this title is self proclaimed, there’s a Facebook group for it. And doesn’t posting something on Facebook make it official? I think so.

You can check out Tyne’s Indiana harvest update on Monsanto.com

For more photos of Tyne’s trip, check out the slideshow on Flickr

8 Responses to "A Visit to the Seed Corn Capital of the World"

    • Thanks for the comment Andy. It looks like you are right, Olivia grows the most corn, but Constantine grows 10% of the worldsseed corn. However, I am not sure what the difference is. Can someone help me?

      Reply
    • Kathleen, if you’re speaking on behalf of Monsanto, you should know the difference between seed corn and regular corn. Next time, ask the employee in the cubicle next to yours the answer to this question instead of broadcasting it for the entire world to see.

      Reply
      • I,

        I understand what you are saying. It would be very simple for me to go a few cubes over or shoot out an email asking some people who work more closely with the crop what the difference is. I actually did do that, and had Tyne here answer the question (see above). A little bit on my background if you haven’t read my previous posts, I am fairly new to agriculture and learning more everyday. I also do not have the privilege of working with our crops everyday, so I don’t have the same kind of ag knowledge as someone who works in the field or with our specific brands. I know a lot about agriculture, but I certainly don’t know everything!

        I work with a lot of extremely smart people in all areas of Monsanto who also happen to read the blog pretty frequently. There are also some people in the ag industry who read the blog as well. I was hoping if I sent out the question this way, as opposed to behind the scenes, I would get a few good answers from all over. And sure enough, I did.

        Reply
  1. Andy,

    Thanks for the note. I “phoned a friend” about this. He works at Monsanto’s Constantine production site in Constantine, Michigan. Here is his response:

    The difference is seed corn vs. corn. Also, Olivia is the largest corn producer in Minnesota and Constantine is the largest seed corn producer in the United States. Hope this helps clarify.

    Corn Capital of the World
    The Minnesota Senate has designated Olivia the “Corn Capital of the World”. Olivia has been calling itself the “Corn Capital of the World” since 1973, when it erected its well-known 50-foot corn monument in the shape of an ear of corn.

    Olivia is the home to nine seed research facilities. It is located in the middle of Renville County, Minnesota’s leading producer of corn.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia,_Minnesota

    World Seed Corn Capital
    Constantine boasts being the World Seed Corn Capital. The greater area produces over 10% of the Seed Corn in the United States. Another 10% of the nation’s Seed Corn production is in the surrounding counties.

    http://www.constantinemi.com/source/general_info.htm

    Brief arcticle on the two:

    http://www.wlkm.com/?p=5814

    Thanks again for the comment, Andy, and a “shout out” to Olivia, Minnesota.

    Reply
  2. Actually the Michigan legislature declared Constantine the Seed Capitol of the World back in 2003 through a resolution.

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2003-2004/…/2003-SJ-12-04-100.pdf

    “Senate Resolution No. 170.
    A resolution honoring the Village of Constantine.
    The question being on the adoption of the resolution,
    The resolution was adopted.
    Senator Brown asked and was granted unanimous consent to make a statement and moved that the statement be
    printed in the Journal.
    The motion prevailed.
    Senator Brown’s statement is as follows:
    In company with our special guests today, I rise in support of this resolution. Senate Resolution No. 170 would
    designate the Village of Constantine as the Seed Corn Capital of the World. Mr. President, I know we don’t grant these
    designations lightly—we shouldn’t—which leads us to ask the question, “What is the criteria that should be used to
    grant such designations?” I would suggest, Mr. President, that criteria is that which was considered in committee, and
    that criteria is merit.
    By way of background, Constantine is the home of two nineteenth century Michigan Governors—two Democrat
    Governors, Mr. President, John Berry and John Bagley. The community of Constantine was settled 175 years ago this
    year. Constantine is known this day far and wide as the Michigan home of several major seed corn producers.
    Constantine’s product, food product, the activity in which they are engaged is an activity that ties us back to the very
    genesis of our being as a community, back to Native Americans. Constantine’s local economy is derived from the
    2128 JOURNAL OF THE SENATE [December 4, 2003] [No. 100
    production of seed corn. Seed corn production provides enough number of jobs for the citizens of Constantine and the
    surrounding area.
    It is home to two of the largest seed corn producers in the world, Monsanto Production Company and Pioneer
    Hi-Bred International, Constantine production location. These companies have dedicated their support to Constantine’s
    efforts to be named the Seed Corn Capital.
    As I mentioned, these seed corn production facilities play a large role in distribution seed corn worldwide. The
    research and development efforts of the Constantine seed corn producers yield innovative and environmentally-friendly
    growing methods. The collective contributions of Constantine seed corn producers benefit the southwest Michigan
    area, our entire state, and the world. In fact, many, many students are engaged in summer activities of detasseling seed
    corn. The money that they receive, the pay they receive from that supports their education. Many students have received
    their college degrees based on income that they have received from their summer employment.
    Monsanto Production Company has been in Constantine since 1997. However, Monsanto has been producing seed
    corn in the area since the mid-1970s. The Constantine facility is Monsanto’s largest production site and produces over
    1.2 million bushels of corn each year. The site employs 35 full-time employees, approximately 1,500 seasonal
    employees during detasseling of which I have mentioned, and up to 300 temporary employees during harvest.
    Pioneer Hi-Bred International is the largest seed corn producer in this state. Pioneer has been growing seed corn in
    the Constantine area for 30 years and has participated in the amazing growth of seed corn in this area. The Constantine
    location is Pioneer’s largest location. It regularly produces over 2 million bushels of corn, and the amount of
    production requires them to use over 3,000 summer detasseling employees, 300 harvest employees, and 45 full-time
    employees.
    Constantine is unique, and there are two four-seed corn dryer plants operating within a mile of the city limits.
    Mr. President, I do respectfully and appreciatively ask the body to approve this resolution.”

    Reply

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