Wm. F. Merschman Seeds was established in 1954 by Bill and Bernice Merschman on the farm of Bill’s grandfather (William Rauenbuehler), located 2 miles north of West Point, Iowa on the Saint Paul and West Point Road. The seed business was started by growing 20 acres of certified oats. In 1956 Bill and Bernice sold their farm and started construction of a new seed facility in the southwest corner of West Point. That same year they planted the first 40 acre field of certified soybean seed in Lee County, Iowa.
The new seed plant was completed in 1957 and the company’s name was changed to Merschman Seed & Supply Company. At the same time, forage seed and bagged fertilizer was added to their oat and soybean business. In 1961 a Hopcaid liquid fertilizer plant, the first fluid fertilizer plant in southeast Iowa, was added to their growing business. The following year additional fertilizer equipment was added to their Hopcaid plant in order to become a Hopcaid Associated Producer and to begin wholesaling plant food. In 1964 the company incorporated and changed its name to Merschman Seed & Fertilizer, Inc.
A larger and more modern seed conditioning facility was built in 1973. In 1975 an additional three million gallons of plant food storage was added by leasing the Hunold Storage tanks in Montrose, Iowa on the Mississippi River. The fertilizer business continued to grow. The need for river and railroad access resulted in the purchase of Bob Schilli’s warehouse located on Ortho Road, Fort Madison, Iowa. The company’s fertilizer manufacturing facilities were then moved to Fort Madison.
Additional warehouse space was added to the seed plant in 1980 doubling the bagged seed capacity.
On August 10, 1985 the company’s offices were completely destroyed by fire caused by lightning. New modern offices were constructed and occupied in December of that year. Also in 1985, the retail farm store was sold to Agrineed, Inc. of Wever, Iowa.
A new modern dry bulk fertilizer storage and blending plant was built in 1987 at the Fort Madison Plant, which combined with their fluid plant, produced the most complete line of plant food in the Tri-State area.
Bulk seed bags were introduced to seed customers in 1989. In 1992, the company sold their first bag of hybrid seed corn.
Also in 1992 the company leased 8,000 tons of dry fertilizer storage on the Mississippi River from Hall Towing in Fort Madison. A couple years later, an additional seed warehouse was added to the seed plant increasing bag storage by one third.
In 1996, Merschman Seeds sold its first bag of Roundup Ready® soybeans.
Two one-million gallon fluid fertilizer tanks were added in 1995 and a third was added in 1997. That year also saw the completion of the last containment dike at the company’s Fort Madison fertilizer plant.
In that same year, 1997, the seed plant received the addition of a new state-of-the-art cleaner and complete dust control system to comply with EPA air quality standards.
In 1998 Merschman Seeds sold its first bag of biotech hybrid seed corn with YieldGard® corn borer protection.
A new ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage building was constructed at the Fort Madison plant in 1998 followed in 1999 with a joint venture to market fertilizer collectively with Hydro/BRT of Burlington, headquartered in West Point, IA and now known as Merschman Fertilizer, LLC.
Also, in 1999 the seed facility at West Point added a new fully automated bulk bagger and updated its receiving conveyor.
A new joint venture was formed to begin breeding soybeans called Mertec, LLC headquartered in West Point, IA.
In 2003, Merschman Seeds, Inc. razed its original building to make way for a warehouse that nearly doubled its bagged seed storage. That same year the company also introduced YieldGard® Rootworm Resistant Corn.
In 2004, Merschman Seeds, Inc. formed MS Technologies, LLC in West Point, providing the industry with access to a pool of elite high-yielding germplasm and also purchased the FG72 (glyphosate/HPPD) event. Current projects in MS Technologies, LLC include collaboration with Bayer CropScience for LibertyLink® Soybeans and Balance™ GT Soybeans. In addition MS Technologies, LLC has collaboration with Dow AgroSciences with Enlist E3™ Soybeans pending regulatory approvals.
Merschman Seeds, Inc. introduced the Smart Start Treatment System in 2006, one of the strongest fungicide/insecticide packages available to protect farmers’ seed corn investment. They also introduced Vistive 3% Low-linolenic Soybeans in 2006, and Asoyia 1% Ultra Low-Lin Soybeans were introduced the following year, making Merschman Seeds, Inc. the industry’s premier low-lin soybean provider.
In 2007, Merschman Seeds, Inc. also introduced YieldGard VT Triple® Hybrid Corn, offering a powerful insect protection system with higher yield potential for the farmer. The following year in 2008 Merschman Seeds planted its first production fields of LibertyLink® soybeans offering a new technology to manage weed resistance.
In spring 2010, Merschman Seeds introduced Genuity® SmartStax® hybrid corn to its customers. This new trait allows farmers to only need to plant a 5% insect refuge in Northern growing areas. In that same year, Merschman Seeds also added a 33,000 square foot refrigerated and humidity controlled seed storage warehouse doubling its cold storage capacity for seed.
In 2012, Merschman Seeds, Inc. implemented a real time modern inventory management system in its warehouses using bar codes and scanner guns, and also updating all of its computer software.
Merschman Seeds, Inc. announced an industry first for its seed corn in 2014, a seed treatment with 7 components using 5 fungicides, one insecticide and a biological for maximum seedling protection from fungi, insects and nematodes including higher effective rates over industry standards. That same year Merschman Seeds’ Bonus Coated+™ soybean treatment was improved with higher effective rates for seedling diseases.
In 2014, a new Merschman EasyOrder™ software system was deployed to its seed dealers to access its real time inventory management system. Dealers can place orders direct to company computers using a web-based system by using iPads and computers for ordering, virtually guaranteeing farmers will receive the seed they ordered.
In 2015 Merschman Seeds announced an industry-first ORDER GUARANTEE for hybrid corn. If corn orders are placed before January 15, 2016, and accepted by the company, they guarantee there will be no substitutions or the replacement is free. (See page 16 and 45 of the 2016 product guide for more details.)
The company currently grows, conditions, and distributes soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa seeds. Merschman Seeds’ products are the latest in genetics and are available to farmers through their local Merschman dealers in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas.