Our history!

Dakota's Best Seed facilities include a front office, three cleaning mills, and a large warehouse.

History

This article was written in September of 1993, in the Daily Republic.


A seed company growing from small beginnings”

When Case Den Besten started cleaning his own grass seed, he probably never imagined that farmers would someday be wearing the Den Besten name on seed caps.


Case, the founder of Den Besten Seed Co. in Platte, died in 1991, nearly 23 years ago. But his sons Dennis Den Besten and Lowell Den Besten carry on the business.


When they’re not interrupted by phone calls or requests over the two-way radio, Lowell and Dennis recount the history of Den Besten Seed. “Dad started it on the farm east of Platte three miles,” Dennis says. “It was about 1962.” Then, Dennis was working at a Platte hardware store and Lowell was working with his dad.


Hanging up the phone, Lowell wearing a fluorescent green Den Besten Seed cap – Joins the conversation. It was in 1968, he says that the present facility was

built on the west edge of Platte. In 1970, Dennis joined the operation. “He always kind of liked to do everything himself, wouldn’t you say?” Dennis asks Lowell. “At that time, he had quite a little grass seed and wanted to clean it himself. From there it grew.”


Farmers started buying the seed, and Case started renting drills, something the company continues to do. “This is the best place in the nation to produce grass seed, “ Lowell says. “It ripens very well and grows very well. I’d say that’s the big thing, the ripening. There’s good moisture in the spring, and then it dries off and really matures.”


Dennis says there are farmers that continue to plant some acres of grass seed every year, as a cash crop. “It’s the popular thing to do,” he says.

From the surrounding area Den Besten Seed Co. buys grass seed, alfalfa and small grain seeds.


The company has contracts with producers in Iowa to grow seed corn, and

a contract with a Texas firm to grow sorghum. Dennis Den Besten stand in the Den Besten Seed Company’s laboratory located at their place of business.

Lowell Den Besten holds seed that being cleaned on one of their cleaning setups.

“As far as quality goes for our seed corn, each variety has winter grow-outs in either Hawaii or Florida, and that assures the purity of it,” Lowell says. “And each plot of seed has a warm and cold test on it to assure high quality, germinating seed. That’s basically carried out in all variety of seeds we sell.”


He says they work closely with a large firm out of Iowa that breeds new hybrids, and selects them for starting ability and yield ability in the farmer’s field.

Den Besten, which distributes 18,000 to 20,000 seed catalogs annually, also processes and ships seeds out nationwide.


Although the company’s start was in a small build on a rural farm, it has now grown to need six full-time employees, plus Lowell and Dennis. Den Besten, has about 40,000 square ft. of warehouse space. “We have two complete cleaning setups,”

Lowell says. “We clean grass seed on one and alfalfa or can be cleaned on the other set up.”


The sons of Case Den Besten remember back to the ‘50s, when they would to from farm to farm with the old seed cleaner. “Dad always kind of had his mind of seeds,” Dennis says. Case was 82 years old when he died in 1991. “He slowed down in the last 10 years, but he came here everyday until the last three months before he died,” Lowell Says.


As for the future, Lowell and Dennis aren’t sure what may be in store. But they know they’re satisfied with the company, as it is now. ‘Sometimes you get to a place where how much bigger do you want to grow,” Dennis says. “We’ve come to the point where, if we want to expand, we have to go big time and hire more help. But I’m not sure we want to do that.”


This article was written in September of 1993, in the Daily Republic.


As of 2017, Lowell’s son Todd, daughter Tonja, granddaughter Jordan, and their families carry on the business today now known as Dakota’s Best Seed.

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