Keith Chisholm of Gary, a certified seed producer since 1967, was honored by the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) at its annual meeting on Jan. 10, with the Achievement in Crop Improvement Award. MCIA, founded in 1903, has presented its highest honor annually for nearly 50 years to recognize exemplary service to the seed industry as well as outstanding leadership in agriculture and the local community. The award is sponsored and was presented by The Farmer magazine.
Keith has spent a lifetime producing certified seed and seeking ways to diversify his farming and business operation. He has produced a variety of certified seed crops including wheat, barley, oats, soybeans, and edible beans. In addition to seed, he worked to increase the value of locally grown agricultural products; he has produced and exported food-grade soybeans and even processed, packaged and sold bird seed. In his long career, Keith built two MCIA approved conditioning plants. The first in 1978 was Circle C Seeds, which he later sold. Today, at his Star of the North facility, Keith focuses on cleaning certified seed and processing edible beans. In 1990 he was named a Premier Seedsman by MCIA.
Active in his county crop improvement association, Keith has helped organize the annual Norman County Crop Show for many years. Keith also served six years on the MCIA Board of Directors and on other MCIA committees. An avid traveler, he has visited more than 100 countries; several trips were to help develop markets for Minnesota-grown agricultural products.
Keith grew up on a dairy and crop farm which has been recognized as a Minnesota Century Farm. He attended Northwest School of Agriculture in Crookston and after graduating in 1955 he returned and began farming with his brothers. In 2005 Keith was recognized by the Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Association as a “Top Aggie,” the organization’s highest recognition. He is a veteran of the U.S. military and a member of the local VFW and American Legion organizations. Active in his community, Keith was a member of the local school board for 15 years, including time as a board chairman.
A man who is always thinking, in 2003 he believed farmers using Roundup Ready soybeans should switch to different herbicide chemistry, or mode of action “every other year so they don’t get the weed resistance to it.”
Even after over 60 years in the business, Keith Chisholm continues to farm and produce seed; He says, “It is better to wear out than rust out.”