Wm. F. Merschman Seeds was established in 1954 by Bill and Bernice Merschman on the farm of Bill’s grandfather (William Rauenbuehler), located 2 1⁄2 miles northwest of West Point, IA on the St. Paul and West Point Road. The seed business was started by growing 20 acres of certified seed oats. In 1956 Bill and Bernice sold their farm and started construction of a new seed facility in the southwest corner of West Point. In that same year they planted the first 40 acre field of certified soybean seed in Lee County Iowa.
The new seed company 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 were 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.
A large and more modern seed conditioning facility was built in 1973. In 1975 an additional three million gallons of plant food storage were added by leasing the Hunold Storage tanks in Montrose, IA on the Mississippi River. The fertilizer business continued to grow, however, better river and railroad access was needed by the company. This need facilitated the purchase of Bob Schilli’s warehouse located on Ortho Road, Fort Madison, IA. The company’s wholesale fertilizer manufacturing facilities were moved to Fort Madison, IA in 1977.
Additional warehouse space for seed was added to the seed plant in 1980 doubling the bagged seed storage 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 1985.
In that same year the retail farm store was sold to Agrineed, Inc. of Wever, IA. 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 produces the most complete line of plant food in the tri-state area.
Bulk seed bags were introduced to our seed customers in 1989. In 1992 the company sold their first 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, IA. In 1994 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 tanks were added in 1995 and a third one-million gallon tank in 1997, as well as finishing the last containment dike at the company’s Fort Madison plant.
In that same year, 1997, the seed plant was updated with the addition of a new state of the art cleaner and complete dust control system to comply with EPA dust-air quality standards. In 1998 Merschman Seed’s sold its bag of biotech hybrid 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, IA and is 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 automatic bulk bagger and updated its receiving conveyor to the main street plant. A new joint venture was formed to begin breeding soybeans called Mertec LLC with controlling interest by Merschman Seeds, Inc. In 2003 Merschman Seeds, Inc. razed its original building to make way for a warehouse that nearly doubled its bagged seed storage. The same year the Company also introduced Rootworm Resistant Corn.
In 2006, Merschman Seeds, Inc. introduced the Smart Start Treatment System, one of the strongest fungicide/insecticide packages available to protect farmers’ seed corn investment. They also introduced Vistive 3% Low-Linolenic Soybeans in 2006. 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 NEW YieldGard VT Triple™ Hybrid Corn, a new YieldGard Triple Stack that offers a powerful insect protection system with higher yield potential for the farmer.
In Spring 2010, Merschman Seeds introduced Genuity® SmartStax™ hybrid seed corn to its customers. This new trait allows farmers to only have to plant a 5% insect refuge in Northern growing areas. In that same year, Merschman Seeds also added a 33,000 square foot refrigerated seed storage warehouse doubling its cold storage capacity.
The company currently grows, conditions, and distributes soybeans, corn, wheat, alfalfa, and forage 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, Arkansas, and Mississippi.