Total Seed Production Inc.
A fourth-generation family business, Total Seed Production Inc. has been serving growers throughout North America since 1936. Established by Clurid and Charles Campbell, the company started out as C.A. Campbell & Son nearly 80 years ago. Through several decades and generations, Total Seed has expanded operations significantly and is now a leader in production of corn and soybean seeds in the United States.
In 1970, Charles and his son, Scott Campbell, established the company’s own seed brand, Campbell Seed Inc., processed and distributed for retail. Scott took over the family business in 1974, followed by his children, Ryan Campbell and Christy Conaway, whose husband, Aaron Conaway currently serves as the company’s president.
“We sold the Campbell Seed retail brand in 2006 and focused exclusively on seed production,” says Aaron. “The seed industry changes rapidly and our willingness to adjust throughout the years has contributed heavily to our success as a business.”
With a head office and production facility in Tipton, Indiana, Total Seed employs 45 full-time people as well as a couple of hundred seasonal workers. Employees take on tasks throughout the full production process. The highly trained staff helps to keep the operation buzzing along efficiently. The team’s experience and expertise have contributed to Total Seed’s reputation as a reliable, quality-oriented seed producer.
Unlike many seed companies, Total Seed maintains product integrity by keeping the entire process in-house. With 13,000 acres under production, Total Seed plants, sprays, harvests, conditions, packages and distributes corn and soybean seed.
“We are very proud of our high-quality seed,” says Aaron. “We are very hands-on in farming; we build our own buildings and we install our own equipment. Some distributors just do conditioning and bagging or just drying and harvesting and they have to contract out the rest. We do it all – we plant the crop, spray it, detassel the female plants, harvest the seed on the ear, haul the seed to the plant and put it through our plant processes. There, we take the husk off , hand sort all of the ears, dry the kernels on the ear, shell the seed off the ear, clean it, size and treat the different seed sizes, package each seed size, warehouse and then distribute.”
While high quality soils ensure a quality crop, Total Seed’s in-house systems and resources play the greatest role in ensuring quality, viable seed for customers. The Total Seed team understands that the quality of seed reflects on more than the company. The brands that represent these seeds also rely on the company’s quality assurance and efficient practices to deliver value to customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“All of our production is for multiple different brands,” Aaron elaborates. “None of our products are under our own brand. We bag for retail brands of all sizes and they sell to the end users. Everything is customized – we do bulk shipments and finished units packaged in every package type available, depending on the needs of our customers. We also offer the ability to create refuge blended products, with the latest technology in blending.”
Planting seeds of growth
Over the last five years, Total Seed has doubled its production capacity. As a vertically-integrated company, space and equipment are vital to productivity. “There are a few market factors that contributed to this growth,” says Aaron. “First, there was a high demand for commercial seed corn as crop demand increased. The retail brands we serve sell to farmers who had an increased need for additional seed. We also grew organically, by bringing in new customers who were looking for a higher level of quality and service. Many accounts left their previous suppliers because of how we produce our seed, the quality we guarantee and the level of service we offer.”
The expansion began in 2010, when Total Seed doubled the capacity of its husking and sorting facility by adding four 16-lane A&K husking beds. In 2011, the company added a 100,000-bushel single-pass-reversing ear corn dryer and 75,000 bushels of additional bulk corn storage capacity.
The following year Total Seed added yet another ear corn dryer of the same capacity as well as another 84,000 bushels of bulk corn storage capacity. In 2014 the team doubled the capacity of its treating/packaging facility, added refuge blending equipment and built 17,000 square feet of additional warehouse storage. The icing on the cake, added in 2015, is a fully automated packaging line with robotic palletizer and 24,000 square feet of additional warehouse storage.
While Total Seed has seen an explosion of growth over the last several years, the team is taking the challenges in stride. “There were definetly growing pains,” says Aaron. “Our business changed quickly between the labor and new processes. We handled it day by day, prioritizing training and communication. Growth is important to us, but so is the happiness and well-being of our employees.”
While Aaron and his team are catching their breath, the company is also making big plans for the future. “In the next five years, we want to double our capacity again,” he says. “We are planning slight, steady growth over the next two years, but after that, we are planning to expand again.”
Over the coming years, Total Seed Production will continue to grow as a producer of quality seed, all the while keeping customers at the forefront of the company’s mission.