Recently Forbes released a list of all the billionaires in the world. There were 2,755 spread across the globe. But of those 2,755, only one of them lives in Iowa, and that person lives in Adel. So let's take a look at the sole member of the Adel Billionaires club.
The Adel Billionaire
With a net worth of $5.4 billion and a world ranking of 520, a 79-year-old Adel resident, Harry Stine.
Harry has farming in his bloodlines. Harry's great grandparents, William and Sarah Stine, arrived in Adel in 1871 and established a 160-acre farm. The family has always worked in farming, and Harry's parents Bill and Roselba Stine moved to a 200-acre farm that would become Stine Seed Farm. Young Harry started farming at just five years old and became fascinated with seeds. This fascination has been his lifelong passion as he works on seeds and seed genetics that help farmers earn better yields or are more resistant to pesticides.
At age 22, in 1964, he joined his father's soybean cleaning business. His interest in research and seed breeding started when he found some unusual soybean plants in one of the company fields. Realizing the potential of breeding and developing new variants of beans, Harry began a soybean-breeding program. Out of this, Stine Seed was born.
Stine Seed has continued to grow and has made millions from licensing corn and soybean genetics to large multinationals.
"We're going to be able to double corn yields very easily. And apparently a lot of people working in the same industry can't see that...They think, 'How can this be? And furthermore, how can this little farm kid out here be doing this?'" Harry Stine
Harry has won several awards. These include:
- Iowa's Outstanding Young Farmer by the Iowa Jaycees
- Ernst & Young Iowa/Nebraska Entrepreneur of the Year
- 50 Most Influential Iowans by the Des Moines Register
- Inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame
- Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from the Iowa Biotechnology Association
- Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Despite his enormous wealth, Stine still owns a small home in Adel close to Stine Seeds headquarters and drives to work in a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
He has also given many generous donations to large institutions in Iowa, including McPherson College, Drake University, and Spurgeon Manor, a skilled nursing facility for seniors.
While there is only one billionaire in Adel, there are 99 who live in New York City, more than any other city in the United States. So let's hope that Adel can add another billionaire to its list in 2022!