Continuing a farming legacy: Haugruds carry on as Premier Seedsmen

The Haugrud family has been farming near Rothsay for four generations

Three of those generations have been heavily involved with the seed business, with Brent and Bryant Haugrud most recently receiving the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association’s Premier Seedsman awards.

The brothers are the third generation of Haugruds on the farm, and are following in the footsteps of their parents with this award. The award is given for exemplary service in the seed industry, and is an award that both of their parents have received. Harlan Haugrud was the first in the family to be honored as a Premier Seedsman, followed by Helen Ann, who was the first woman given the honor.

“For me, it was special to get it knowing that both Mom and Dad had gotten it. We just respected the work our parents have done and the business and groundwork they laid,” Bryant said, noting that even if he had been the first in the family to have received the award, it still would have been a great honor.

Since 1954, when Harlan started growing Certified seed, the family has consistently grown seed each year that has followed.

“Certified is what most farmers would plant if they’re planting new seed, then the class above that, what we grow mostly, would be Registered. Then the class above Registered is Foundation, and we’ve grown that every year [since the early ‘60s],” Bryant said.

The family has grown a variety of seeds including barley, birdsfoot trefoil, buckwheat, flax, oats, soybeans and wheat.

“Anything you can name, we’ve grown,” Harlan said.

Growing up, Brent and Bryant remember bagging, sewing and stacking pallets of Certified seed with the family and learning the ins and outs of the business from their parents.

These days, Bryant and Brent have focused the seed business on wheat and soybeans. This year, they have four varieties of wheat and five varieties of soybeans.

One of the most important things, according to the family, is keeping things clear of impurities.

“Someday, that seed has the potential of seeding the whole valley, so you want it pure,” Harlan said.

“It’s not even just clean up between the different crops, but between varieties within a crop. It’s very meticulous,” Brent said about the importance of a clean operation.

Primarily still farmers themselves, the Haugruds are sure to use their seed themselves and give honest feedback to the farmers who buy their seed. If it didn’t work for them, it’s not going to be one of their recommendations.

“A lot of seed producers will have what they call a contract grower, somebody else removed from them to grow it and then deliver it to them. We don’t do any of that, so we feel like we have a closer handle on it from start to finish,” Bryant said.

The brothers strive for honesty and integrity, which has led to strong relationships with their customers.

“We have some third generation customers,” Harlan said, a testament to the longevity of their business.

When asked what his favorite part of the business has been over the years, Harlan doesn’t hesitate when he says it’s the people.

“It’s the relationship between the other seed growers and the crop improvement employees. I think we all look forward to visiting and they’ve gotten to be friends. Everyone has a story,” Bryant said, as the brothers have kept up with their parents’ people-oriented approach.

“You have to take time for people, it goes way beyond the seed business,” Brent said.

Now, Brent and Bryant’s children, the fourth generation, are getting more involved with the business. Brent’s son, Ben Haugrud, and daughter-in-law, Jenna Haugrud, along with Bryant’s daughter, Tia Johnson, and son-in-law, Lance Johnson, have stepped in to learn from their fathers and will continue the traditions of honesty and integrity.

By Kristin Goosen

Source, credits & more information: FergusFallsJournal

image crdits:  FergusFallsJournal

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