Bill Wyffels, Jr. and brother Bob Wyffels, the senior management team at Wyffels Hybrids, based in Geneseo, were recognized with the Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers during that organization's annual meeting.
"It is with great pride that I present this award to two individuals who represent the very best in leadership and entrepreneurship in Illinois agriculture," commented Richard Grever, Hertz Farm Management, DeKalb, and chair of the ISPFMRA committee which selected the brothers to receive the citation.
Grever noted that the history of the family business offering seed for sale actually started in 1946 when Bill Wyffels, Sr., began selling oat seed. As the demand for oats diminished in the 1950s, Wyffels turned his focus on selling seed corn and in 1970 began marketing true single cross hybrids.
"When Bill Sr. died unexpectedly in 1974 Bill and Bob moved forward with the family seed business, relying on their father's longstanding commitment to innovation, integrity, and excellence," Grever said. "Since that time, Wyffels Hybrids has gone from selling 2,000 bags of seed and having one employee to claiming nearly 2% of the U.S. corn market and employing more than 100 full time people."
Today, Bill, as president, focuses on administration, sales, and marketing efforts. Bob, as vice-president oversees corn production, quality assurance, and distribution.
Grever noted that one of the company's advertising tag lines is 'A wholly-owned subsidiary of nobody.' "If you ask Bill and Bob how they manage to stay independent they will say that the need for independent seed companies will always exists. Certain customers will always want to buy seed from an independent, regional seed company, yet have the latest technology and the most advanced genetics."
Both of the brothers have been actively involved locally and statewide in youth, civic, and industry matters including serving on a the board of directors at a local bank, Henry County Extension service activities, both the American Seed Trade Association and the Illinois Seed Trade Association, University of Illinois agronomy and crop science departments, and the Hamond-Henry Hospital, to name a few.
Bill Wyffels accepted the plaques for both as Bob Wyffels was not able to be present at the ceremony. In his comments he noted that a third generation of the family is now deeply involved with the organization and he is confident the company will be in good hands for a long time.
The award has been presented by the Society since 1940. It is the highest award the organization bestows to non-members.