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Thunder Seed

Bringing the Thunder to Farming in the USA and Canada

By January 17, 2023January 26th, 2023No Comments

How has Thunder Seed’s products shined when other products/growers may have struggled?

Our products have really shined in the last eight to ten years; we’re seeing genetics really advance. Mike Dietrich, our product manager, has done a fantastic job selecting the best corn hybrids for these areas as well as the best soybeans for this area. So we’ve really seen advances in yields, which meet or exceed competitors in the area.

How did you adapt to the 2021 drought, and how did your product persevere through that?

The 2021 drought was pretty prolific around here; others had it worse; others had it better. We’re really seeing products do very well–we’re surprised at some of the product performance where drought was very, very apparent and we’re excited to get the combines rolling in the field so we can see those yields.

The owners are also farmers and consistently test their own products. How does that dynamic play a role in maintaining a top-tier product, and showing other farmers Thunder Seed is a trusted name?

At Thunder Seed, the customers really have learned to trust us because we’re farmers just like they are–we’re going to plant in the field, we’re going to run it through our own farm, test it, analyze it and make sure that it doesn’t get out to the farmers if it’s not what we would want to grow on our own farm

Farming and family are intertwined words I hear often. How does family enhance and add value/meaning to Thunder Seed?

The biggest thing with family is the feeling of belonging. And people really like that culture that we have of belonging to a seed company; they don’t get that same feeling with a large corporation. They don’t maybe get that same feeling if they are ordering online. We want to convey that they belong in the Thunder Seed family and they can see that in the product. They can see that in how we do business day to day, whether it’s knowing the names of their kids or birthdays or anniversaries. They really feel it’s a different experience.

How has Thunder Seed’s products shined when other products/growers may have struggled?

The varieties we pick, they’re absolutely at the top of the list of all varieties in our area. They’re defensive and they yield extremely well. How did you adapt to the 2021 drought, and how did your product persevere through that? We had good subsoil moisture coming into it, so we had a pretty good stand to start with. We caught some timely rains to start with and then when July came, we probably went six weeks without rain. The corn, from what I’ve heard, is down but not terrible.

How did you adapt to the 2021 drought, and how did your product persevere through that?

We had good subsoil moisture coming into it, so we had a pretty good stand to start with. We caught some timely rains to start with and then when July came, we probably went six weeks without rain. The corn, from what I’ve heard, is down but not terrible.

The owners are also farmers and consistently test their own products. How does that dynamic play a role in maintaining a top-tier product, and showing other farmers Thunder Seed is a trusted name?

We see it firsthand–if it’s not a variety that we really like, we’ll put it on the back-burner. Maybe it’ll shift to a different area. If we know it doesn’t work in one area, we’ll just make sure we don’t sell it in that area or if it doesn’t do it well in any of the plots we won’t sell it at all.

Steve Tobolt, Owner of Thunder Seed
Tobolt Seed in Moorhead, MN

The owners are also farmers and consistently test their own products. How does that dynamic play a role in maintaining a top-tier product, and showing other farmers Thunder Seed is a trusted name?

Years of experience; Thunder Seed’s three owners have been a part of family farms and family seed conditioning facilities for generations. We all started driving tractors when were probably ten years old and combining when we were about thirteen. We all have seed plants where we ran our family seed farms, so between us, we basically know everything there is to know about seed production and seed processing.

Everything you sell you plant on your own farms. How does that approach give you an edge?

I enjoy the freedom of walking out on my farm and doing what I know what I’m good at, as well as being able to give my input on what changes need to be made and what could be done better. I enjoy the rewards of being successful and having a good crop from the products that Thunder Seed has provided.

Product quality is everything to growers–what technology/testing goes into your product that makes it superior?

Our testing at Thunder Seed is really twofold: we have some great genetic and trade partners that that obviously do a lot of testing. We have the independent research that we’re doing, and you combine that together, and that’s really where a lot of our product selection comes from. And that’s really the driving force behind the products that we’re selecting for our dealers and our growers. There’s a lot of time put into that process to get the right products for our region.

You’ve had many years of industry experience with some notable names– What inspired you to join Thunder Seed as an owner? What do you love most about the smaller farming community and everything that encompasses the family aspect of farming?

When I started in this business, I started with a family-owned company and got some great experience there. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some national corporate companies, got to travel the US working with some amazing people. Making the decision to come here really gets me back to where I started. I was really looking for that family feel again, where the focus is on what’s important; and that’s our customers. Both our dealers and our growers–that focus needs to be on them through products and services. That’s what really attracted me to Thunder Seed, getting back to the ground level. Being part of a family-owned company–that’s really focused on our dealers, who are our partners, and our growers, and bringing them the best products that we can.

Paul Adams, Owner of Thunder Seed
Adams Seed in Wendell, MN

Everything you sell you plant on your own farms. How does that approach give you an edge?

We’re actually out there just like [the farmers] are. We’re not sitting behind a corporate desk, we’re not having to meet expectations from 1000s of shareholders and meet profit levels. It has to perform on our farm, it has to perform in the area, otherwise, we really wouldn’t be here and the reason that we’re here is because it has performed– and people have really found value in that performance.

Brian Petermann, Owner of Thunder Seed
Peterman Seed in Hawley, MN

Everything you sell you plant on your own farms. How does that approach give you an edge?

The other growers have trust in us, and when we get a really good variety, we’ll talk highly of it and growers hear that and they follow with it and go through and they’ll try it themselves the following year.

Farming and family are intertwined words I hear often. How does family enhance and add value/meaning to Thunder Seed?

I’d say the whole group of Thunder Seed employees is kind of like a big family. We all razz each other, we all get along great, everybody that’s working here does a great job and it’s just like one big happy family.

“We are a big family because of the seed industry; that’s part of what has made Thunder Seed so successful.”

Product quality is everything to growers–what technology/testing goes into your product that makes it superior?

Since 1995, we three owners have made it our goal to bring the right products to the farmers in the area, pairing up with the genetic companies to get the right products in line with the areas that we’re involved in selling the products in.

How has Thunder Seed’s products shined when other products/growers may have struggled?

Every year we update our new varieties with the help of key employees, such as Mike Dietrich, who, in terms of soybeans and corn, is one of the best out there when it comes to finding the right varieties for the right locations.

How did you adapt to the 2021 drought, and how did your product persevere through that?

Although we had hardly any rain, we did have a lot of sub moisture from the last couple of years that helped us out. It’ll be a case-by-case basis when we start combining our production fields and see what we’ll get but I think we’ll be okay and getting what we need for next year’s seed production.

Farming and family are intertwined words I hear often. How does family enhance and add value/meaning to Thunder Seed?

Being a multi-generation farmer myself, farming is basically my livelihood. We have all known each other for years, even our fathers knew each other and our grandfathers knew each other. We are a big family because of the seed industry. That’s part of what has made Thunder Seed so successful; having the right employees and truly being a family company.

Thunder Seed is an independent seed company, which allows them to work closely with all the major breeding programs in the industry

Tell me about the logistics that go into deciding what seed and product to sell?

Selecting our corn and soybeans is a continual year-round process for me. Thunder is an independent seed company which allows us to work closely with all the major breeding programs in the industry and I’m in direct contact with those breeders and other individuals, working with them throughout the year. I’m always thinking about our lineup and evaluating how each product is doing. As I observe experimental lines, I measure them up against our own products. A new variety needs to be better than something in our current lineup for me to consider it. As I’m evaluating those experimental varieties, it’s also important that they meet certain agronomic characteristics. The experimental lines, whether corn hybrids or soybean varieties, are tested well within our area and geographic footprint in replicated research trials across many locations and years. So, we know how they perform in our area with our different growing conditions before they get into our lineup. There is a great amount of data that is generated and at my fingertips to help me make those decisions. Our customers can know that our products will work well for them.

Farming and family are intertwined words I hear often. How does family enhance and add value/meaning to Thunder Seed?

Family starts with our foundation, which is our three owners, Paul, Steve and Brian. Having that foundation as a company is really important–you take and you build on top of that foundation with talented employees. Our dealers just aren’t dealers to us; they’re partners, they’re part of the Thunder Seed family.

Mike Dietrich, COO of Thunder Seed

The owners are also farmers and consistently test their own products. How does that dynamic play a role in maintaining a top-tier product, and showing other farmers Thunder Seed is a trusted name?

Having the Thunder owners also be farmers is very valuable. As I select new soybean lines, they are the first to put them in fields for seed production. That first year of having our new soybean varieties, we’re able to see them in large-scale fields before we go to the market and get them in the hands of our growers.

Product quality is everything to growers–what technology/testing goes into your product that makes it superior?

Our production partners do a great job making sure the seed production fields are handled properly and when harvesting, cleaning and processing the seed, it all gets handled with care. Also, for carryover seed supply that we have, we store it in our climate-controlled facility which greatly helps maintain seed quality for good germination and vigor.

How has Thunder Seed’s products shined when other products/growers may have struggled?

One of the things that I focus on when selecting products is consistency. No one can really predict what next year is going to be like so having products that consistently do well helps to get through tough growing conditions like we had this year.

How did you adapt to the 2021 drought, and how did your product persevere through that?

Having only a few inches of rain throughout the summer is tough for any plant. Some areas were hit harder than others. However, I have been pleased with how the Thunder products have been performing. Understanding how conditions typically change as you travel east to west in ND and SD allows me to keep in mind those vastly di”erent yield environments and growing conditions. I always want to be sure that I have solid-performing products that can handle those conditions.

For more info, visit thunderseed.com or call 218.422.9011

806 Center Ave W, Dilworth, MN 56529

 

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