Farming seems like family kind of work, doesn’t it? Can’t you just imagine families sharing in the labor, the land being handed down from one generation to another? This tradition is part of the history of Beck’s Hybrids, the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States.

Beck’s has been around since 1937, so that’s a lot of experience in the seed business! The company serves farmers in eight states. One very helpful way they serve is through their Practical Farm Research program.

What’s That?

PFR tests all kinds of variables that affect agriculture—they call it “research focused with the farmer in mind”. They test things like planting depth, different herbicides and fungicides, and even farm equipment, with 700 acres in multiple locations dedicated to this research. The results can be found in the annual Practical Farm Research book and online []—free to any growers to help them make wise decisions.

What Else Do They Test?

According to Alex Johnson, an agronomist with Beck’s, the company wants to put “new tools in a farmer’s toolbox.” They work with other companies that have developed new technologies, evaluating the technologies for potential benefits to farmers. Here are a couple of examples:

  • new soybeans with wider herbicide tolerance
  • new seed coatings that protect the young seedling and improve crop yields

Classroom Connections

You can conduct your own practical research in Growing More Food. Explore different options for growing soybeans, compare no-till versus conventional cultivation, and track RoundupReady soybean growth.
In From Ballast to Biotech, your students think about the future of biotechnology and different points of view about its application.

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