Top turfgrass breeder combines art, science

Pure-Seed Testing develops turfgrasses and forages that solve problems and meet needs.

Crystal Rose-Fricker, the president of Pure Seed and Pure-Seed Testing Inc., and has developed or co-developed more than 320 turf and forage grass cultivars.

The renowned grass seed geneticist has made her mark in research and breeding for more than 30 years, earning the Genetics and Plant Breeding Award from the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders.

She was also listed No. 6 in Sports Illustrated’s list of the “Most Influential Women in Golf.”

Rose-Fricker operates from the heart of a fully integrated family business that her father, Bill Rose, started in 1970. The third generation is now involved, and the family’s network of companies include PST for the research and testing; Pure Seed, marketing and services; and Roselawn, the production arm headed by her brother, Ed Rose.

Read more

Berger keeps family, business in focus

In a bustling family business, relationships can easily fall by the wayside.

With seed planting, cleaning, bagging, storing and shipping, Becky Berger, owner and CEO of Berger International Seed, is as intentional about growing strong family relationships as she is about the business.

“We formed a family council,” Berger said. “Twice a year we sit down with a consultant and work through family and business issues.

“I’ve got children that are in the farming business and children that are not,” Berger said. “I want to make sure my values are passed on to them — and keeping this business going is very important to me.”

Berger has worked in the turf grass seed business since marrying into the Berger Seed family 45 years ago. After her husband, Keith, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 30, he suffered a gradual decline until his death in 2011.

Read more

Oregon Seed Association Responds to Investigation into Grass Seed Mislabeling & Fraud Charges

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—March 4, 2021

Contact: Angie Smith
503-685-7555
smith@pacwestcom.com

 

OREGON SEED ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO INVESTIGATION INTO GRASS SEED MISLABELING & FRAUD CHARGES

(Wilsonville, Ore.)—In response to the recent article about a former grass seed company manager charged in a fraud and mislabeling scheme, the Oregon Seed Association (OSA) issues the following statement:

The OSA firmly believes in the overall integrity of its members, and that customers who purchase from OSA members can have full confidence in the products they purchase. 

The OSA does not condone the mislabeling of seed by its members and upholds its mission to promote integrity in member business practices. The OSA has been on the leading edge in protecting industry standards in the labeling of seed. To that end, we took the initiative in 2017 to request the Oregon Department of Agriculture investigate instances of seed mislabeling of K31 within the industry, an investigation that continues today. We also appointed representatives to serve on an ODA rules advisory committee to review and revise regulations and increase the penalties and fines for those found in violation, thereby reducing incentives for bad actors looking to increase profit margins. The OSA’s ethics policy requires all members to abide by certain ethical standards in their general business practices. Such standards include full and truthful representation of the quality and description of the seed sold or offered for sale. Such breaches of the ethics standards, when directed to the attention of the OSA Board of Directors and after due process, shall result in suspension or termination of membership in the association. We will continue to monitor the investigation.

If you have any questions about the above, we encourage you to contact any member of the OSA Board of Directors https://oregonseed.org/contact/.

###

The Oregon Seed Association (OSA) is a non-profit agricultural trade association representing the interests of Oregon’s world-renowned seed industry. OSA members market and distribute Oregon grass and agricultural seed to more than 70 countries on six continents.

 

Nearly a year into COVID-19, seed industry is booming

Almost a year into COVID-19, the domestic seed industry is flourishing.

“A lot of seed companies are selling out. Some warehouses are empty of seed. They’re having an incredible year,” said Angie Smith, executive director of the Oregon Seed Association.

Industry leaders say when the pandemic hit last March, there was an alarming lull in sales. But from about April on, experts say sales took off in most seed sectors and the momentum has continued into 2021.

The specialty seed sector, including vegetable and flower seeds, is blooming on the retail level. Last year, Americans nationwide planted a record number of gardens. Extension agents at the time wondered whether people’s interest in gardening would carry into 2021. So far, the answer appears to be “yes.”

Read more

Proprietary Grass Seed Business Prioritizes Quality

Becky Meeuwsen Berger’s grass seed business evolves to prioritize quality and family harmony

Whether she’s meeting with potential buyers in China, weighing a new crop option or sitting at a table surrounded by her family council, Becky Meeuwsen Berger knows difficult times don’t define you – they propel you. And, through hard work and focus, no challenge is too great.

“I’ve been through some tough times, but those tough times make everything else easier,” Berger says.

Around 45 years ago, Berger married into a farming family. The operation, headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., focused on turf grass seed production. Her father-in-law retired early, so her husband took over. At age 30, Berger’s husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which eventually took his life in 2011.

Read more

Barenbrug and Simplot Enter Into Agreement for the Sale of the Jacklin® Seed Business

The Royal Barenbrug Group and the J.R. Simplot Company announced they have agreed on terms for the sale of the Jacklin® Seed business to Barenbrug USA. The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks, subject to standard closing conditions. Both Simplot and Barenbrug are privately held, family owned companies with storied legacies in agriculture and expect a smooth transition that will benefit Jacklin® Seed employees and both companies.

The combination of Jacklin® Seed’s deep portfolio with Barenbrug’s vision, R&D, and industry leading market development will provide a strong value to turf growers and distributors across the world.

Read more

Local Grass Seed Farm Boy Finds Niche in Developing Fine Whiskey

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local


DUSTIN HERB checks the oil level in a glass of Waterford whiskey as he explains how to experience fine whiskey. Photos by Sarah Brown

Dustin Herb considers his path in life part heritage, part hard work, and mostly luck.

If he could brag about anything – which isn’t a natural trait, he would say it’s that he got paid to go to school to drink beer and whiskey, and travel.

He was not, actually, a big beer drinker at the time, and he “couldn’t stand” whiskey, Herb said.

“I had to learn to love it, and then ended up loving the process behind it and the culture and the people.”

Read more

DLF Pickseed Announces New Company Promotions

Over the past couple years, DLF Pickseed has been working on succession planning and development. It is a valuable process to ensure continuity, leadership, and success. As a result of their work and conversations, the company has two exciting changes to share.

Sean Chaney was promoted to vice president of the Pro Turf Division.

Chaney is an Oregon native who has been involved in the Ag community since childhood. His first experience with seed was hands-on – working in fields and warehouses as a teenager. Beginning at age 14 and on to his graduation from the University of Oregon, Sean worked for a local seed producer and marketer. He learned about the seed production process, and was able to bring many of these skills to DLF Pickseed. Chaney was hired 6 years ago, beginning as a buyer and a sales representative. He continued in the buyer role as his sales and brand management duties expanded. As time went on, he also added international sales experience to his resume, something he has been doing for over 3 years now.

Read more

Chris McDowell: Starts seed business with her daughters

Chris McDowell’s long history in the grass seed industry has taught her and her two daughters that Oregon is fertile ground for more women in agriculture.

McDowell has been a part of the mid-Willamette Valley’s grass seed production operations for nearly 40 years, she said, while daughter Marissa Donahue transitioned from production into turf grass sales in 2008.

“We’d been working together long enough and she had been in the industry for a long time and had all this knowledge and relationships, which was essential,” Donahue said. “But we work together well, which can be considered a big advantage.”

In 2014, McDowell, Donahue and her other daughter, Mandi Mack, decided to toss the dice and start their own business, which they called Vista Seed Partners.

“We saw the need in the industry of a real customer-based seed company,” McDowell said. “The timing was right in 2014, so we just said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Today, Vista markets high-performance grass seed varieties and blends for professional landscapes (Central Park in New York City is a client), sports turf, golf courses and sod applications. Turfgrass products include Bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and others.

Read more

Consumer demand overwhelms vegetable seed producers

Jun 3, 2020

The panicked rush to buy vegetable seeds in the wake of this year’s coronavirus pandemic is something that farmer Frank Morton has seen before.

Previously, the surge in demand was spurred by the Great Recession over a decade ago, and before that, by fears of the Y2K glitch causing technological mayhem at the turn of the new millennium.

Worrying about widespread havoc tends to make humans prioritize basic biological imperatives, said Morton, who started his Wild Garden Seed company in 1994 near Philomath, Ore.

Read more