Caudill Seed Company
Caudill Seed Company started as an agricultural seed company, but over the course of 68 years, the family-owned operation based in Louisville, Kentucky, has grown to serve a range of customers in the agribusiness and contracting supply industry. With a main location in Louisville and distribution centers in Morehead and Allen, Kentucky, Caudill has built a reputation for meeting the needs of wholesalers, retailers, farm dealers, landscape contractors, hydro-seeding companies, sod farms, turf specialists and more.
The diverse, 150-employee operation started as a small seed supplier in 1947, founded by Forrest Caudill. “My father was in the Marine Corps and served in World War II,” recounts Pat Caudill, second-generation president of Caudill. “He returned home from the war as a decorated veteran and decided he didn’t want to milk cows of the family farm anymore. He saw the seed business as a niche and envisioned offering a range of products from a central supply source.”
Sowing the seed for multiplatform growth
In 1959, the company moved to Louisville. Pat and his brother, Dan Caudill, CEO of Caudill, grew up in the business and now lead the multitude of divisions that make up Caudill. In 1998, Caudill expanded to the current location in Louisville.
“Seed is the heart of the business and Caudill is the base,” explains Eugene Stratton, general manager of Caudill. “Things started to evolved when Pat and Dan came on and they expanded the business into other avenues to make room for more family to be involved.”
From Louisville, Caudill serves independent agriproduct dealers, lawn and garden centers, hardware stores and road contractors in Kentucky, southern Indiana and Illinois, southeastern Missouri and parts of Tennessee. “Our Morehead distribution facility covers the rest of Kentucky, Tennessee, western North Carolina and Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and southern Pennsylvania,” notes Stratton. “We also have a subsidiary in Winchester, Kentucky – Kentucky Fertilizer LLC, which does fertilizer blending and bagging, processing many tons of fertilizer a year. We also have a mill-processing site in Granite, Oklahoma for rye and bean crops. That’s the umbrella of Caudill Seed Company.”
Over the years, Caudill has diversified, adding complementary products and services to the original forage and turf seed lineup. “We have a food division called Whole Alternative,” says Stratton. “This side of the company packs and sells natural and organic beans, peas and popcorn for consumption. We also do private-label packaging; everything from trail mixes and nuts to microwavable popcorn and mac and cheese. We sell these products to retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
Focused on agricultural stock and supply
While the Caudill umbrella has grown to encompass a range of agribusiness and food products, Stratton says the company is still best known for agricultural cover crops, turf seed, animal feed and forages and related contractor supply and erosion control materials.
Caudill has built a line of some of the most desired turf grasses for lawns, office parks, sports facilities, golf courses and more. These product lines consist of two types: seed blends and proprietary seed.
Seed blends are a mixture of various seeds selected for desirable characteristics for the application. Proprietary seed is specially bred and selected by Caudill’s breeders. “Our best known proprietary turf seed is named Forrest Green Turf Type Tall Fescue, which is the sole property of Caudill,” notes Stratton.
In an effort to better serve an extensive customer base, Caudill has added on reclamation and erosion control products to make sure the seeding lasts. “We’ve added complimentary lines such as erosion control blankets and construction materials needed to stabilize a job when seeded,” explains Stratton. The company stocks a complete line of products for the reclamation contractor and erosion control specialist, including the Plant-Wise line of hydro seeding products and growth stimulants.
After years of industry-leading research and product development, Caudill has positioned itself as the single-source for seed and so much more. Stratton says the company has garnered a loyal customer base in the process. “I know it sounds cliché, but one of the best things about this business is our customers,” he says. “We have customers who are partners, many of which are old friends. We have worked together to build mutual success.”
Stratton says among the many product lines and divisions of Caudill, the company’s goal is to provide customer with ways to grow their business. “At the basic level, we provide customers with the essential materials they need and we’re always looking to add lines and capture opportunities,” he says.
What started as a seed-only operation is now a diversified group of agribusiness entities and Caudill Seed continues to build on this tradition of innovation and complimentary products, serving customers as the single source for a range of agricultural and contracting needs.