La Crosse Seed Co. Bag

Image Copyright La Crosse County Historical Society

Image Copyright La Crosse County Historical Society

Haley Gagliano

Catalog Number: 2018.fic.846

This cloth seed bag from La Crosse Seed Co. was once part of a high-demand agricultural business that dates back to the early 1900s.

The La Crosse Seed is an independent company which distributes seed and related products to agriculture and turf dealers across the Midwest and beyond. Now owned by DLF Pickseed, La Crosse Seed Co. is located in the La Crosse Industrial Court.

Although once operating at a much smaller scale, La Crosse Seed has just marked its 100 years as a company, with roots dating back to 1919. That year, three executives from the Salzer Seed Co. incorporated La Crosse Seed Co. The business was located within the Salzer complex at Eighth and Adams streets. Since then it has grown into a nationally recognized specialty seed supplier.

This cloth seed bag dates to about 1950, when hybridized seed had become common because of its vigor and increased yields. After its introduction in the early 1930s, the demand for hybrid corn began to grow because it proved to be superior to other varieties farmers had been planting. Because of this, businesses like the La Crosse Seed Co. began to produce and sell other hybrids, like this “Certified Ranger Alfalfa Seed.”

The product was sold in one-bushel, cotton cloth sacks with The La Crosse Seed Co.’s name and logo printed on the bag. The La Crosse Seed Co. chose bright red and green text, placing focus on its seed that is “Always the Best” to attract buyers. The company also created a slogan to demonstrate its pride to provide “seed you need, when you need it” to its customers.

By the late 1950s, paper sacks replaced the previously used cloth ones, while today seed is packaged in a variety of different materials, including paper and woven-poly blends. Polyester and other tough synthetics were only beginning to be developed when this cotton bag was produced.

This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune on September 26, 2019.

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