Sieren’s Seed Service began in 1966 when Marcel and Celestine Sierens started cleaning grain near Somerset, MB. Initially, Marcel set up a few machines in a shed on their farm to clean their own seed. Seeing the success, neighbours asked if he could clean their seed as well, prompting Marcel to build a dedicated plant for seed processing. Their children, Joe and Chris Sierens, grew up helping with the seed plant and their parent's farm.
In 1978, Joe graduated from the University of Manitoba with a diploma in agriculture and returned to the Somerset farm. That same year, he married Mimi, and they went on to raise four children. Chris graduated from the diesel mechanics program at Red River College in 1980, returned to the farm in 1982, and married Brigitte, raising four children as well.
Always focusing on providing the best to their community, Joe and Chris became Select Seed Growers focusing on pedigreed seed production and operating an authorized seed establishment. Evolving the business further in 2000 with an AWSA warehouse. Adapting to changes in the seed industry, the seed conditioning facility underwent a major renovation in 2007-08, and in 2014, Sierens’ built an authorized soybean treating facility, expanding their services to include growing, processing, and treating pedigreed soybeans.
Today, the third generation of Sierens family is contributing to the success of the business. Joe's son-in-law Robert is actively involved in the company's operations, and Chris' son Scott is an accredited operator and grader at Sierens Seed Service. The company offers a complete range of crop protection products and services. Alongside that, they manage a 2250-acre farm focused on pedigreed seed production and processing.
Sierens Seed Service recently won the grand prize in WinField® United Canada's Raise the Barn contest. They were able to rally their community and win $28,000 to support the local school lunch program and provide an AED for the local senior's home. However, their community support does not end there. Since the retail was started, Sierens has been an active part of keeping the lifeblood pumping in Somerset and the surrounding area. They have supported local community projects, events, organizations and clubs and the family actively engages with local boards and organizations in fostering community growth.
Partner Joe Sierens, expresses a deep connection to the community, emphasizing the importance of giving back.
“I love sharing a tractor snack with my grandkids, and that’s one of the reasons we give back. Because our family has been living and working here for four generations, our community is important to us.”
The Sierens family has a deep-rooted passion for farming, technology, and experimentation. Joe, in particular, loves to talk about farming and experiment with new technologies and practices. They use their own farm as a 2250-acre research farm where everything they do is a trial. For years, they have conducted large side-by-side trials for canola, soybeans, and occasionally, corn. They also conduct a large number of fungicide and herbicide trials every year.
“I share the good, the bad, and the ugly with our farmers when it comes to our trial results. And we always have,” says Sierens. “I think that has built our credibility and goes a long way with a lot of our customers.”
Their family’s long history of trials and attention to detail on their farm has led to some important insights for their fellow farmers.
"Customers know that we conduct all our trials in-house, and we are not a very large farm. This means we pay attention to detail. I always tell young farmers that I have never been paid by the acre but by the bushel. We focus on the opportunity to make more money per acre vs continuing to expand acres. Let’s instead do a better job with what we have and focus on making a more productive acre,” shares Sierens.
Reflecting on his career, Sierens highlighted integrity as paramount in business.
“Maintaining integrity, putting customers first and offering honest recommendations are our cornerstones. We aim to provide the best guidance, considering multiple sources of information, including our own trials and experiences. Having said that, we know we’re not always going to get it right, the weather impacts everything we do.”
With their active farm, Sierens is always exploring new innovations to stay up-to-date with the latest products and technologies that can make a difference for farmers in their area.
“We were one of the first in our area to work with Farmers Edge and use soil testing for variable-rate seeding fertilizer. Now we work with SWAT (Soil, Water and Topography) Maps to help make the most informed decisions for soil management. Even though we don’t sell fertilizer, I think it’s important to be mindful of erosion, water conservation, and the living organisms in our soil, not to disturb, disrupt or harm them. It's not just one thing that’s going to help your farm succeed, but all these factors coming together, which is another reason we do trials,” shares Sierens.
One of the innovations actively being tested by Sierens is the use of biologicals.
“I see biologicals having a fit in less productive soils and I think that’s why you’ll see biologicals results up, down, and wild sometimes. Plants are going to get stressed, whether they are on good soil or less productive soil. When things are missing in the soil and the plant can’t get what it needs at that particular time, the biologicals will help your plant overcome that."
"I've seen it happen on our farm; it often doesn't translate into yield yet, because something else goes wrong down the road. But as this technology develops, the hope is that we will be able to start seeing those yield bumps. As our industry moves to reduce commercial fertilizer, the biological world can fill in some of those gaps by focusing on soil health. I've got many customers now that are talking differently than they used to. And we’re looking into these products to see if we can start to rely on our soil health and reduce our commercial fertilizers,” explains Sierens.
Throughout their 45 years in the industry, Joe and Chris have witnessed significant changes and have been at the forefront of adopting innovations on-farm. They take pride in being seed professionals and contributing to an industry that provides the latest genetics, traits and chemistry to produce food ingredients to feed the world.