18 SOURCE | Winter 2023
FIRST BAG OF SEED SOLD Turns into a
Karen Jones , GROWMARK Youth and Young Producer Specialist kjones @ growmark . com
An empty InVISION seed corn bag hangs on Brandon Hall ’ s office wall .
“ It ’ s the first bag of corn I ever sold – InVISION 6395 ,” said Hall , West Central FS Wataga location manager and Certified Crop Advisor .
And if you look closely at that bag , you ’ ll see some signatures written in black marker – Bob and Pat Hennenfent . The Hennenfent brothers operate a grain farm in Knox County , Illinois . They are nearly full-line FS customers and have a long family history with FS . In fact , Pat has been an FS customer for 41 years , ever since he rented his first piece of farm ground at age 14 .
“ We understand the benefits of working with a cooperative , especially lately as the supply chain has gotten worse ,” Bob said . “ Price is important , but for us it ’ s all about service . As co-op members , we expect to have our voices heard because we ’ re owners .”
They ’ ve worked with Hall for the last several years at the Wataga location . Hall ’ s background is in soil science , and when Bob and Pat learned that information , they dug a hole in one of their fields and invited Hall out to take a look and share his thoughts on their soil health .
“ It ’ s a special set of skills that I never thought I ’ d get to use on a customer ’ s farm ,” Hall said . “ But that ’ s how these guys are . They make me think outside the box and are open to trying out new things on their acres .”
As location manager , Hall doesn ’ t technically have sales duties in his job description . However , he had the desire to learn more about the seed part of the business and started by riding in the combine with Pat .
“ I took notes about all the different varieties in their plot , what we liked , what we didn ’ t ,” he said . “ Actually seeing the data come in lit a fire in me for our InVISION line . Nobody else has it but us , and I ’ m excited about it .”
The Hennenfents were also excited about what they saw , and increased their seed order , giving Hall that special first bag , which turned out to hold the best yielding variety on the Hennenfents ’ farm in 2022 .