A Rich History
As a leader in agricultural services, Van Horn Inc. has worked with Central Illinois growers for more than 80 years as a partner in the field. The company is one of the few 100 percent employee owned Ag retail companies in the United States. Van Horn serves more than 5,000 customers in 17 counties, servicing more than 1,000,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Central Illinois.
The Van Horn Seed Company was started by W.C. Van Horn and his son, Lyle. In the spring of 1934, Lyle planted the first hybrid seed corn near LaPlace on the Piatt County farm owned by his father. This produced one bushel of seed corn. By 1936, five acres were planted and the farm slowly continued to grow.
After Lyle Van Horn purchased his father’s interest in the company, the business was incorporated into Van Horn Hybrid Inc. The services of the company expanded into selling fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides to farmers in Central Illinois. Lyle and his wife Ruth sold their company to the employees forming one the first Employee Stock Ownership Programs (ESOP’s) in the country.
During the 1990’s, Van Horn shifted its focus to a retailing structure building from its one retail crop input facility. Eventually the company sold the seed production division.
Over the following years, Van Horn expanded to 10 locations with Cerro Gordo being the original facility. Van Horn now provides a variety of products and services to their clients including seed, fertilizer, chemicals and custom application, with the recent addition of precision ag equipment and technology.
The company strives to provide insight to their customers for their future management decisions. Today Van Horn is ranked 38th in Crop Life Magazine’s top 100 dealers in the United States.