Tom Clayman grew up raising lambs. Dustin Miller was a baker’s son. In 2005, the two purchased a seed company in Hutchinson.
Kauffman Seeds, which was founded in 1965 by Edward Kauffman, started out as an alfalfa seed cleaning business. During the 1970s, certified wheat was added to the menu, and by the mid-1980s, the company was selling soybeans. With the founding of Midland Genetics, the company expanded to corn, grain sorghum and forages.
When Clayman and Miller bought the business in 2005, they added a line of cover crops and oats. Several years ago, the company moved just north of Haven and sells seeds in Kansas, northern Oklahoma and eastern Colorado.
Remaining local is important to Kauffman Seeds. The company buys alfalfa, German millet, wheat, cow peas, mung beans and soybean seeds from farmers in Edwards, Harper, Pratt, Reno and Stafford counties.
“We take their production, clean it and put it in bags,” Clayman said. “We were in the cover crop business long before those people even thought about cover crops.”
Because the seeds are grown in central Kansas, they are used to the hot, dry climate.
“They can withstand our harsh environment,” Clayman said.
The company, which sells both GMO and non-GMO seeds, has a 40 acre farm filled with test plots behind its headquarters.
“We are doing our testing so people know what we’ve got and how it works,” Clayman said.
Each year, the company sells more than 300,000 bushels of wheat. More than 25 silos hold the variety of seeds the company maintains.
“Every time we change variety of seed, we are cleaning out the combine and the truck,” Clayman said.
Kauffman Seeds will have a wheat field day on May 16 at its Haven facility. More than 35 varieties of wheat will be featured. On Aug. 18, there will be another field day.
“I enjoy bringing products to farmers that will make them more profitable,” Miller said. “Farmers are the best people to do business with. They’re working to feed their families. They’re working to feed our families.”