Our History - Renk Seed

Renk Seed traces its roots back to 1846.

This was when Joseph and Katherina Renk came to Wisconsin to farm after leaving Germany. Over the years the farm slowly grew and in 1936 the farm under the ownership of William, Joseph’s grandson, and William’s two sons Walter and Wilbur, was incorporated as William F. Renk and Sons. This was the first family farm to incorporate in the U.S.. Another son, Robert, joined the company later. It was around this time in the early 1930’s that Universities were starting to push the benefits of hybrid corn. Renk Seed was in the forefront; growing and selling hybrid seed corn, the cornerstone of its business today.

Renk’s sheep business garnered a lot of headlines through its history with its production of several grand champions of Shropshire, Suffolk and Hampshire breeding. When the herd was dispersed in 1952 all breeds were sold at the highest average price obtained up to that time anywhere in the world.

In 1968 Richard, Steve and John took ownership of the company from Walter, Wilbur and Robert. By then the company was heavy into raising catttle in addition to its sales of hybrid corn seed and oats.

The seventies saw Renk Seed expand both domestically and abroad, adding Canada and Europe to where it did business. Renk started selling alfalfa seed at this time.

In 1990 Renk decided to quit raising beef and at the same time added soybean seed to their product lineup. It was then that the old processing tower (built in 1946) was torn down and today’s current tower was erected.

In 2000 the current generation of Renks; Jeff, Alex and Brett, took over ownership of the company.

Renk Seed has at one time or another raised sheep, hogs, dairy, and beef in addition to selling corn, soybeans , wheat, oats, alfalfa, and grasses. Renk Seed still farms to this day producing the vast majority of what it sells.

The Renk Family along with the Renk Seed Company has always been very innovative and forward thinking. The Renk farm had the first silo erected in the county in 1898, had one of the first tile drainage systems installed in Wisconsin in 1916 and had the first dairy herd to go on DHIA in Wisconsin. William Renk helped set up the Production Credit Association in Wisconsin and Michigan. Wilbur Renk was one of the founding members for the World Dairy Expo. Walter and Richard Renk were intstrumental at getting the UW-Madison Veterinary school started and set up an agriculture business degree at the UW. Renk Seed did groundbreaking work on narrow row corn back in the late sixties. The Renk farm was one of the first to adopt no-till in its area.

Today Renk Seed continues its forward thinking with new innovations such as one of the first seed companies to offer Farm Plan, first to use a robotic palletizer and now the first seed company to offer radar- in-motion and commodity markets on its website. Renk means Results!

Renk Seed Timeline