It started with a single idea; it grew into a vast international enterprise. Henry Agard Wallace had the idea that a hybrid corn could produce better standing and higher yielding corn. He assembled a group of innovators who were willing to develop the idea and Hi-Bred Corn Company was born in 1926.
Wallace asked Jay Newlin, an advertising salesman, to manage the production farm. Newlin made sure the corn was planted and harvested correctly, and ensured its quality. He managed the production farm his entire career, until retiring in 1968.
Simon Casady, Jr. was one of the first shareholders and the first treasurer of Pioneer. He worked to formalize the legal and financial requirements of the new venture. He also designed the first hybrid seed corn plant in the United States located in Johnston, Iowa.
Raymond Baker led Pioneer's research and corn breeding efforts from 1928 to 1971. Baker set Pioneer's standards for teamwork between research and production that are still used as models today.
Fred Lehmann was Pioneer's legal advisor and second president. He is generally credited with developing the working philosophy of the company, "a quality product is more important than getting maximum business."
Nelson Urban joined Pioneer as the company's first business and sales manager. He innovated the farmer selling system that is still used today.
James Wallace, Henry's brother, was an early shareholder. During his long career with Pioneer he held every elected office in the Company, including president and chairman of the board.
R. Wayne Skidmore, who started with Pioneer in the depression, ultimately became president and chairman of the board. Skidmore lead the company to expand its foreign operations and incorporated Pioneer's various companies into the entity Pioneer Hi-Bred International. The company also went public under his leadership.
These eight amazing men not only turned Wallace's idea into reality, they dramatically improved the world's food.