Published Feb 19, 2019

Mac Ehrhardt & Dean Sponheim – Starting a Cover Crop Seed Business

By Practical Farmers of Iowa

This session will is a crash course in the basics of starting a cover crop seed business. Mac Ehrhardt of Albert Lea Seed first discusses seed laws and intellectual property considerations, including licensing and plant variety protection. Dean Sponheim shares how he started a “one-stop shop” for cover crop seeding, including paperwork, contracting seed, equipment and logistics.

Mac Ehrhardt is president of Albert Lea Seed, located in southern Minnesota. Albert Lea Seed is a third-generation family business that sells organic and non-GMO seed throughout the Upper Midwest.

Dean Sponheim is co-owner of Sponheim Seeds and Services, offering a “one-stop shop” for cover crop seed and seeding services since 2014. Dean contracts about 1,000 acres of rye and oat production, which he cleans and deploys to airplanes, drills or interseeders.