Caudill Seed Company is proud to announce we now have Barenbrug Turf Seeds. Barenbrug is one of the oldest and largest grass seed companies in the world. This new association will allowCaudill seed Company to bring the latest and greatest turf grass genetics from all over the world to our customers in the Ohio River Valley region of the United States. These seeds will add to our full line of turf seeds for sports turf, sod farms, professional landscapers, contractors, golf courses, agricultural dealers and home owners. You may call your salesman or see your local Caudill seed Company dealer for more details.
Caudill Seed Company is proud to announce we are now selling a complete line of Seminis Vegetable seed for 2014. These products are know for cutting edge genetics for everyone from commercial growers to large gardeners. We are particularly proud to have Performance Series sweet corns which offer outstanding yield potential, protection from above and below ground pests, and tolerance to Roundup WeatherMAX herbicide which gives the grower more flexibility to manage their sweet corn crop.
Caudill Seed owner hopes Beshear will sign hemp bill
Dan Caudill, co-owner of Louisville’s Caudill Seed Co., praised the Kentucky General Assembly’s passage of a bill to regulate industrial hemp production by Kentucky farmers.
“It looks like we’re getting down the road with hemp,” he said of the legislation.
“We are staunchly behind the hemp bill,” Caudill added. “We would like to see it (become law), as much as possible, unchanged.”
Caudill Seed Company is proud to announce our new affiliation with Barenbrug USA. Caudill Seed Company will bring our 65 years of service to the seed industry in the Ohio River Valley region of the United States as the distributor for Barenbrug USA of forage grass and legume seed in this region. This partnership with Barenbrug USA will allow us to access genetics from the world’s largest supplier of cool-season grass seed to complement our proprietary and public lines of seeds we currently offer. Caudill Seed Company looks forward to the opportunities this creates to offer an even broader line of products to meet the needs our customers in the future.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Caudill Seed Co. is pleased to announce a feature on the company will start airing on the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Emmy award-winning show, “Bluegrass & Backroads,” on KET the week of September 23, 2012. Please see local listings and air dates below.
Producer Bob Shrader interviewed co-owners and brothers Dan and Pat Caudill and filmed our operations last May in preparation for a segment on Caudill Seed.
The segment will be made available on the “Bluegrass & Backroads” website (www.bluegrassandbackroads.com) following its KET airing. It will also air nationally on the RFD-TV network (www.rfdtv.com), but no times or dates have been announced.
According to the Kentucky Farm Bureau website, “Bluegrass & Backgrounds travels the back roads of Kentucky to capture its rich agricultural heritage, its intriguing people and its unique locations.” The program, hosted by Shrader and Matt Hilton, is in its 10th season.
Louisville-based Caudill Seed is celebrating its 65th year in business. Founded in 1947 by Forrest Caudill, it has four operations in Kentucky—Louisville, Allen, Winchester and Morehead—and in Granite, Oklahoma. As a leading seed and supply distributor in the region, Caudill Seed primarily serves the agricultural, turf seed, contractor supply, and reclamation industries.
The company, a second-generation family business headed by brothers Dan and Pat Caudill, employs 180 people.
The segment on KET will air at the following dates and times:
- KETKY: Sunday, September 23 at 7:30 am EDT
- KETKY: Sunday, September 23 at 11:00 pm EDT
- KETKY: Tuesday, September 25 at 12:30 pm EDT
- KET: Wednesday, September 26 at 12:30 am EDT
- KETKY: Thursday, September 27 at 8:30 pm EDT
- KETKY: Friday, September 28 at 7:30 am EDT
- KET2: Saturday, September 29 at 5:30 pm EDT
- KETKY: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm EST
- KETKY: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm EST
- KET: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 12:30 am EST
- KETKY: Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:30 am EST
KET2: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm EST
Caudill Seed Co. will be keeping very busy with trade shows and conferences this coming fall. We’ll be manning a booth at the following special events:
- Beef Bash 2012, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Princeton, KY, September 27. We are sharing a booth with Crystalyx. This is the third time the Beef Bash has been held as a biennial event. Featured appearances are expected from UK Deans, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and representatives of the state and national cattlemen’s associations. The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is co-sponsor of this event with the UK College of Agriculture.
- The Kentucky Turfgrass Council’s Fall Conference, Belterra Casino and Resort, Vevay, IN, October 15–18.
- The 13th Annual Kentucky Grazing Conference, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Princeton, KY, October 30. This event is sponsored by the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council. The council’s mission is “To promote the use of forages as profitable, economical and environmentally sound agriculture through education, communication and professional development of producers, scientists, educators and commercial representatives and by/through communication with policy makers and consumers in Kentucky.”
- The 2012 Kentucky Recreation and Park Society Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show, Capital Plaza Hotel, Frankfort, KY, November 12–14.
BY CHRIS ALDRIDGE, KENTUCKY AGRICULTURAL NEWS
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When decorated military veteran Forrest Caudill returned to his native Shelby County dairy farm after World War II, he was glad to be back home in his native Kentucky. But he no longer felt at home in the milking shed.
“He had one goal in life, and that was to never milk another cow,” said his son, Dan Caudill. “It’s a tough way to make a living.
“He didn’t want to spend his life on a dairy farm. So he started harvesting bluegrass, which was a big commodity back in those days.”
Such was the genesis of Caudill Seed Co. In 1947, Forrest started traveling to farms and military reservations such as Fort Knox, collecting the seeds from fields of tall bluegrass using old-fashioned threshing machines and splitting the crop with the property owners.
“He had a crew of 20 to 30 guys,” said Dan, now the company’s chief executive officer. “He would clean it [seed], process it, and sell it on shares.”
Like a seed sprouting in spring, Caudill Seed began to grow, prompting a move from Shelbyville to Versailles. In 1959, the fledgling business made a bold move to Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood across from bustling Bourbon Stockyards.
“The strategic location of that day was to be close to the stockyards,” Dan said. “Dad’s theory was that farmers would sell their livestock, then walk across the street and buy their seed.”
Forrest’s strategy proved successful. Sixty-five years later, seed is still the heart of the Caudills’ family business, although it has diversified into other areas such as organic foods. The company has 180 employees in three Kentucky locations – Morehead, the Floyd County town of Allen, and Louisville – and a small facility in Granite, Okla.
“He was a fantastic, hard-working guy,” Dan said of his father, who died 12 years ago.
Kentucky Proud Director Jennifer Mueller recognized Caudill Seed by presenting company president Pat Caudill, Dan’s brother, with one of 12 Kentucky Proud Partner in Excellence awards in March at the PNC/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen state high school basketball tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
“We believe Kentucky Proud is an investment in Kentucky’s land, people, and its future,” Pat said. “We urge all Kentuckians to buy Kentucky Proud products at every opportunity.”
Dan called Kentucky Proud “a great program.”
“Kentucky Proud has meant a lot because Pat and I are multi-generation Kentuckians,” he said. “Our great-great-great-grandfather is from Letcher County, so we go way back with Kentucky roots.
“We love Kentucky and want to support Kentucky businesses. There’s a lot of networking done through Kentucky Proud. It’s a great way to network with large and small companies. I know Jamie will continue the great work done there.”
The “Jamie” Dan referred to is Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who toured Caudill Seed’s Louisville facility, now located in the city’s Portland neighborhood, on June 7.
“They’re a signature agribusiness in Kentucky, and we just want to tell them how much we appreciate them, see how we can continue their growth, and thank them for their accomplishments,” Commissioner Comer said in a radio interview before the tour with veteran farm broadcaster Jack Crowner of Clear Channel Communications.
Caudill Seed distributes its signature products throughout Kentucky and five surrounding states. Dan said Caudill’s most famous seed is Kentucky 31 tall fescue, which was discovered growing on a Menifee County farm in 1931 by Dr. E.N. Fergus of the University of Kentucky. The hardy grass was introduced to the U.S. from Europe in the early 1800s.
“Kentucky 31 was developed by the University of Kentucky, and it was almost as good as their basketball teams,” Dan quipped. “We still sell a tremendous amount of it.
“This year, we’ll produce 500,000 pounds of grass seed from Kentucky,” Dan said, noting that Caudill currently contracts with six Kentucky growers after not having any last year. “Kentucky used to be a big [grass seed] producer, and we can bring that back.”
Caudill sells more than seed. To modify a line from an old Barbara Mandrell song: “Caudill was organic when organic wasn’t cool.”
Caudill went into what then was called the natural foods business in 1983. “We were growing beans and peas chemical-free back before ‘organic’ was a word,” Dan bragged.
One of Caudill’s divisions, Whole Alternatives, packages edible seeds and beans for human consumption under its Wild Harvest brand or other brands, then distributes them throughout North America.
Whole Alternatives has carved out several niches in the organic food world.
“We’re the largest manufacturer and distributor of organic microwave popcorn in the world,” Dan said proudly. Most of the popcorn is grown in Indiana, but some comes from Kentucky, he said.
Dan led the tour group into a large warehouse room filled with bags of mung beans, which are small, round, green-colored beans that resemble peas.
“There are more mung beans in this one room than anywhere else in the world,” Dan said. “La Choy [brand] puts our beans in all of their chop suey.”
When the tour concluded, Commissioner Comer called Caudill Seed “an impressive business.”
“We appreciate what you do,” he told Dan, “for the agribusiness economy in the state and here in Jefferson County.”
Top right: Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, center, chats with Pat, left, and Dan Caudill of Caudill Seed. (Photo by Chris Aldridge)
Bottom left: Dan Caudill shows Commissioner Comer and other guests the variety of organic and natural products co-packed and private labeled at Whole Alternatives. (Photo by Chris Aldridge)
Legendary farm broadcaster Jack Crowner interviewed Dan and Pat Caudill and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer during the commissioner’s tour of our Louisville operations on June 7.
Mr. Crowner first became acquainted with Caudill Seed more than 25 years ago. He interviewed Forrest Caudill, the company founder and father of the current owners, when the operation was based on Story Avenue in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville, for one of his radio programs.
The broadcaster asked the Caudill brothers to relay the history, operations and markets of the diversified Caudill Seed Co.
Dan Caudill, Chief Operating Officer, said his father, born and raised on a dairy farm in Shelby County, returned from World War II as a decorated military veteran, was determined never to milk a cow again.
Forrest Caudill started Caudill Seed in 1947 by threshing bluegrass seed and distributing it for sale to area farmers, according to Dan.
Pat Caudill, company President, said Caudill Seed has since grown into a multi-faceted business that supplies not only many varieties of seed and fills several niche markets on the agribusiness scene, but also processes and packages food items to grocery chains and other retail outlets throughout the US and Canada.
“One of our divisions, Whole Alternatives, prepares and distributes edible seeds and beans in many different packaging formats,” Pat Caudill said. “We’re focused on ‘Kentucky Proud’ products.”
Caudill Seed received one of the 12 inaugural Kentucky Proud “Partner in Excellence” Awards from Commissioner Comer’s office this year. Mr. Comer touted that honor during his interview with Mr. Crowner.
“Caudill Seed is a signature agribusiness in Kentucky,” the commissioner said. “We never want to forget the accomplishments of our existing agribusinesses. Caudill Seed is a perfect example of that.”
Following is Mr. Crowner’s interview, published with permission: