Beck's Hybrids buys Ohio’s Imboden Farms
By GARY BROCK
The Beck-Imboden Ohio Farm includes fields south of Columbus along the Scioto River and extends just north of Circleville to south of Waverly. The purchase spans at least four Ohio counties, including Fayette, Pickaway, Ross, Pike and Scioto Counties.
The purchase, along with other land purchases last year, has been called a “great strategic move for Beck’s and a great decision for agriculture in Ohio.”
According to the announcement from Beck’s, as a large irrigated grain producer in the Midwest, Les and Carol Imboden founded Imboden Farms nearly 30 years ago and have been instrumental in designing and installing irrigation systems.
“Establishing the best succession plan for Imboden Farms was extremely important to Carol and I,” said Les Imboden, owner of Imboden Farms. “After being a 100 percent Beck’s Hybrids customer for several years, we approached the Beck family because of the outstanding business environment they’ve created.”
Last May, Beck’s purchased 285 acres of land in Madison County near London. The land is near I-70 and other major highways, and also right next to the large 2,100-acre Ohio Farm Science Review complex at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center.
Chuck Gamble, Farm Science Review Manager, told ACRES of Southwest Ohio that the purchase in May and the just-announced purchase of the Imboden land “Is an excellent move on Beck’s behalf. It really positions them for the future. They are looking to the future.”
He also pointed out that the announcement by Beck’s just adds to the positive environment being seen in the Ohio agricultural economy.
“I look at it as a very aggressive move on Beck’s part. They are exploding and growing out,” Gamble said.
Gamble was excited by what the decision will mean for Ohio’s agriculture community. “Holy moly… we (Ohio) are positioned for a very good year. The decision by Beck’s just demonstrates how positive the economic climate is here in Ohio,” he said.
“Because over time, there certainly will be synergy from the purchase. I think it will be a win-win for everyone,” he said.
Beck’s has long been a major presence at the annual Ohio Farm Science Review, an annual agriculture and farming event held each September, drawing more than 150,000 each year for the week-long event highlighting the latest in farming technology and research.
The 285 acres next to the Farm Science Review site is expected to be used as a warehouse and distribution center, with construction starting later in the year and into 2014. Beck’s spokesman Bruce Kettler told Business First in Columbus that small research plots may be planted at the Madison County location this spring. He added that the seed processing facilities will stay in Indiana and Illinois.
Jason Gentry, a Beck’s seed advisor for Southwest Ohio, said he is excited about his company’s commitment to the community and Ohio. “That is a big step.”
Gentry has been with the company for five years, and says it is a wonderful company and the Beck’s are a “wonderful family. They have the farmer, their customers and their employees in mind in this growth and in everything they do.”
Presently, Beck’s has seed crops in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. But the Imboden farms in Ohio were attractive because of the central-pivot irrigation on the plots and the fact that the land is isolated from most other central Ohio farms — reducing the risks of genetic contamination.
Les Imboden will remain as general manager of the Beck-Imboden Ohio Farm and become an employee of Beck’s Hybrids. Beck’s has also hired three full-time employees and one part-time employee for the Beck-Imboden Ohio Farm.
Imboden is a first generation farmer and over the years has become a leader in many industry organizations. He currently serves as board treasurer of the Ohio Corn Marketing Association, a delegate for the U.S. Grains Council, is a member of the Grower Services Action Team for the National Corn Growers Association, and is board secretary for the Ohio Christian University Foundation.
For the 2013 growing year, the farm will continue to raise commercial corn and soybeans. Imboden will also continue to manage the Rivers Edge Golf Club located on the property.
“With nearly 75 percent of the farms under irrigation and containing mostly higher productivity soils, this purchase is a solid, long-term investment for Beck’s and for the benefit of our customers,” said Scott Beck, vice president of Beck’s Hybrids. “As we keep growing, it’s important that our seed production is diversified in multiple states and environments, to continue providing our customers with the best in seed quality, field performance and service.”
(Gary Brock is editor of ACRES of Southwest Ohio.)