Minnesota, Renville County, near Sacred Heart
This land was first tilled in 1867 by Ole Enestvedt and a pair of oxen with a single bottom plow. The early years were hard, back-breaking years as homesteading usually was. In 1900, Ole and Anna's youngest son, Engebret started the Enestvedt Seed Corn Company while attending the St. Paul School of Agriculture. This is the story of a strong Norwegian family that continues the tradition of seed corn production still today here in the beautiful Minnesota River valley.
It was while Engebret was attending school that the University of Minnesota released 13 open pollinated varieties of seed corn in 1897. Engebret began growing and selling seed corn.
In 1908, Engebret married Clara and they started a family. A sad change came to the family as Engebret passed away in 1923 at the age of 43, leaving his wife Clara and five young children to carry the load of home and the seed corn business.
In the mid 1930's, the company started growing University of Minnesota hybrids call Minhybrids. The planting process changed using tractor-pulled multiple row planters with staggered planting dates to accommodate the crossing of hybrids.
The Enestvedt brothers, Odean, Johannes, and Bert, managed the business through many changes and improvements in the seed corn industry. Johannes invented a machine to aid in seed corn planting. It was the combination of a two- and three-row corn planter mounted on the front and back of a single tractor enabling him to plant up to six rows of corn with one machine.
In 1994, Bert received the Eldon Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture due to his lifetime of service in production agriculture.
Enestvedt Seed Corn has received many awards over the years, including the University of Minnesota release of Bert Soybeans named for Bert and his involvement in the soybean industry.
The Enestvedt Seed Corn Company is still family-owned and is managed by a member of the third generation of this sturdy Norwegian family, Roger Enestvedt. This is a heritage to be proud of.
Detasseling is essential to producing hybrid seed corn. The pollen-producing tassel is removed, so the corn plants that will produce the seed corn can't pollinate themselves. Instead, pollen from another variety of corn grown in the same field is carried by the wind, pollinating the detasseled corn's silk. The result is seed corn that bears the genetic characteristics of both varieties which can produce healthier crops with higher yields. Despite technological advances in agriculture, detasseling is still a task that is done primarily by hand though now detasselers ride instead of walk.
Food for a Nation
The Minnesota River Valley has a regional, national and international story to tell of the growth and development of the American system of agriculture; Taking Food to a Nation. Telling the story of the region's innovations (e.g., agriculture cooperatives and Green Giant), its productivity and its farming systems will help all visitors to better appreciate the importance of agriculture to this nation.
The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
Funded in part by Federal Highway Administration
logos of: America's Byways; Enestvedt Seed Co.; Scenic Byway Minnesota River Valley
(Agriculture • Settlements & Settlers) Includes location, directions, 7 photos, GPS coordinates, map.