800-218-1862 Contact Us

A family tradition of integrity.

Since 1935.

Learn more

Cool Timeline

1915
1915

1915

Charlie Cornelius discovers a new hobby—evaluating and experimenting with open pollinated seed. Before long, he’s earning trophies, ribbons, and recognition at local and state growing competitions.
1934
1934

1934

1934
Charlie’s son, Gilbert, contracts with Farmer’s Hybrid Seed Corn Company to produce two acres of its new hybrid corn. The contract allows Gilbert to keep half of the foundation seed.
1935
1935

Gilbert begins producing hybrid seed

At the urging of his wife, Alice, Gilbert begins producing hybrid seed on six acres. A full-fledged business soon takes root.
1936
1936

1936

Charlie's daughter, Emma, and her husband, Emil Kruger, join the family seed company partnership.
1938
1938

1938-A

The partnership constructs a drying house on Charlie’s farm. Prior to that, seed was dried in the basements and attics of the partners’ homes.
1938

1938-B

1938-B
Blue Ribbon Hybrid logo designed by Alice Cornelius.
1945
1945

1945

The company’s seed-drying house catches fire and burns to the ground, threatening nearby structures, including Charlie’s home. Lawrence Cornelius joins the partnership.
1946
1946

1946

1946
The partners break ground on a new production building located a half-mile south of the original location. The facility remains part of Cornelius Seed’s present-day operations.
1949
1949

1949

Emil Kruger leaves the business to become a pastor. Gilbert purchases Emil and Emma’s stake in the seed-processing facility.
1956
1956

1956

Gilbert’s son, Gerald Cornelius, purchases his grandfather Charlie’s company shares, becoming the third generation to join the family business. His wife, Wanda, becomes an important part of the company’s growth.
1959
1959

1959

Paul Cornelius, Gilbert and Alice Cornelius’ second son, joins the company. Health issues soon prompt his departure, but he continued to work closely with the company for many years as a corn breeder.
1970
1970

1970

Charlie Cornelius passes away at the age of 88.
1972
1972

1972

Ron Cornelius joins the company, becoming an active part of Cornelius’ seed production and sales, and farming operation beyond the seed house.
1973
1973

1973

1973
Gilbert Cornelius passes away unexpectedly. His son, Gerald, assumes leadership of the business.
1983
1983

1983

Gerald and Wanda’s son Chuck joins the business as the fourth generation. Chuck graduated from Iowa State with a degree in Agronomy. His wife Chris, who also started with the business has a degree in Ag Journalism from Iowa State.
1986
1986

1986

Nancy Johnson—Gerald and Wanda Cornelius' daughter—and her husband, Lester, join the company.
1994
1994

1994

1994
Gerald passes away. His son, Chuck, is named president of Cornelius Seed.
1998
1998

1998

1998
The company introduces a new logo and accompanying slogan, "Plant it. Profit. ®”
1998

1998B

Lawrence Cornelius passes away.
2001
2001

2001

The company embarks on the construction of a new main office and warehouse expansion.
2003
2003

2003

Once again the Cornelius Seed dryers are updated and enlarged.
2005
2005

2005

Increased sales volume necessitates the construction of another warehouse and loading dock.
2006
2006

2006

2006
A state-of-the-art processing facility is built complete with a color sorter.
2008
2008

2008

Lester Johnson retires from the company to pursue a full-time farming operation.
2009
2009

2009

Chuck and Chris’ son Will joins the business after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Agronomy, extending the company’s family owned heritage to the 5th generation.
2010
2010

2010

Cornelius Seed celebrated 75 years in business.
2011
2011

2011

James, son of Chuck and Chris joins the business after earning degrees from Iowa State University in Agronomy and Ag Systems Technology. He is a 5th generation family owner as well.
2013
2013

2013

2013
Cornelius Seed makes the historic decision to launch Cornelius Seed brand soybeans.
2013

2013B

Paul Cornelius passes away.
2014
2014

2014

Janie Cornelius joins Cornelius Seed as the Technology Lead. She earned a degree in Ag Studies from Iowa State. Janie is married to James.
2014

2014

After 42 years of dedication and service to the company, Ron Cornelius, plant manager and co-owner, retires.
2015
2015

2015

Major renovation completed to the Husk/Sort facility for a gentler and more efficient handling of seed and a safer environment for employees.
2015

2015

Nancy Johnson leaves the family business to pursue her dream of teaching.
2017
2017

2017

Shelling processes are updated and improved for gentler handling of seed and allowing for increased volume.