HOOPER, Neb. - Hoegemeyer Hybrids will celebrate 75 years in business with its Hoegemeyer Homecoming Field Day on Thursday, Aug. 9, at the company's facilities northwest of Hooper.
The event will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 3 p.m., at 1755 Hoegemeyer Road.
The day will include demonstrations that feature the latest research, products and technology, including updates on corn, soybeans and alfalfa, plus agronomy services and cover crops. Special presentations from Ray Ward of Ward Laboratories, Tom Hoegemeyer of Hoegemeyer and Mike Boehlje from Purdue University run from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
H. Chris Hoegemeyer and his son, Leonard C., started Hoegemeyer Hybrids in 1937 when producing hybrid seed was in its infancy. As a student at the University of Nebraska, Leonard learned about the potential of corn hybridization and various techniques, so he brought home two inbred lines for his father to try.
Leonard dedicated his life to the development of rugged, stress-tolerant hybrids to provide quality seed to farmers. His legacy continued when his son, Tom, went to Iowa State University, where he earned his Ph.D. He joined the company in 1974 and built a reputation as one of the most innovative and well-respected plant breeders in the seed industry.
That legacy lives on in two family members who are moving Hoegemeyer forward while drawing inspiration from the leaders who came before them: Stephan Becerra and Chris Hoegemeyer.
Leonard's grandson, Stephan Becerra, spent summers as a boy and throughout high school and college working for the family business. He attended Iowa State University and received a bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1995.
Becerra started his formal career in the seed industry working for Cargill Hybrid Seeds. He earned a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the Cornell University Johnson School of Management.
After graduating, Becerra joined Deere and Co., as a project manager in new business development. He returned to Hoegemeyer as general manager in 2004.
Tom's son, Chris, grew up living near and working at the Hoegemeyer production plant near Hooper. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural business and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He spent two years at Vladivostok, Russia, teaching business and economics.
Chris returned to the family business in 2002 and is currently the operations manager. As part of the Hoegemeyer management team, he leads the customer accounts and service team.