FAIRFIELD, Mont. - Treasure State Seed is a true story of entrepreneurial success. When Donald Becker started out on his own in 1979, he had a handful of customers looking for winter wheat seed. He worked out of an office in his home for a period of time, but he eventually outgrew the space.
Looking to expand, he bought an old building in town and built a warehouse behind it. Then in 1987 he purchased property with a seed plant just out of town on the highway and the rest as they say, is history.
The company now boasts 250,000 bushels of grain storage with the addition of a 150x65-foot warehouse in 2003.
“Over the years, we have grown a fair amount from where we started,” said Chad Becker, Don’s son and the current Vice President of Finance and Sales for the family company. Chad graduated from Montana State University in 2003 with a degree in business.
Don officially retired from the company a couple of years ago, but Chad points out that his dad still comes into work nearly every day.
Treasure State Seed has evolved over the years, but now the company deals primarily malt barley to producers on the irrigated bench. The facility also provides winter wheat to the dryland farmers of the area. Additionally, the company sells a lot of forages, alfalfa and grass seeds for use in areas like landscape/lawn work and reclamation.
“When they do highway jobs and they tear up the ground and then re-seed it, we do mixes for that. We also do mixes for pollinators in CRP and for pretty much anything you can imagine,” stated Chad.
The company remains busy and clips along at a steady pace. Chad explained that July is usually a bit slower for the company because crops are maturing and there isn’t a lot of planting going on. But once harvest hits in August, the seed cleaning component of the company revs up.
“Once August hits and harvest starts, we clean winter wheat until October. Once winter wheat season is over, we start cleaning barley which we do pretty much until the end of the year. From January to March we are cleaning spring wheat, oats and hay barley,” Chad said.
Certified seed has become much bigger then it used to be, so these days Treasure State Seed stays pretty busy cleaning seed. The company contracts with local growers to produce certified seed, which must be cleaned and inspected before it can be anointed as certified.
“It’s a process to certify seed, but it ensures the growers are getting what they paid for and it ensures purity of breeds,” explained Chad.
As Treasure State Seed celebrates 40 years as a business, Chad attests the company would not be where it is today without their dedicated employees. A senior employee for the company has been with them since 1985 and the office manager has been part of the team for 20 years.
“We have an excellent community and great employees,” Chad said.
Starting from relatively humble beginnings, Treasure State Seed remains a family operated seed company that conducts business all across the state of Montana.