Earlier this year, Forbes published its annual list of Forbes 400, which ranks the richest Americans by their net worths. The 400 richest Americans saw their combined wealth increase 40% over the last year to $4.5 trillion. Almost all are richer than last year.
Today, I will uncover the richest person in Adel, Iowa.
According to Forbes Magazine, only one billionaire on the Forbes 400 considers Iowa home. His name is Harry Stine, with a net worth of $7.7 billion, making him the 93rd richest man in the country.
Harry Stine has many titles: business owner, inventor, and entrepreneur, but the title he loves the most is "Farmer."
A long time ago, in the late 1800s, William and Sarah Stine, with their oldest child Ira, moved from Pennsylvania, settled in Adel, Iowa, on 160 acres, and started farming. Their oldest daughter Ira Cloyd married Lydia Sheaffer and had four boys, including Harry's father, Bill (William), all four boys farmed together.
In 1930, Bill (William) and Roselba Stine moved to the location where Stine Seed Farm would be created a few days later. Stine Seed Farm focused on cleaning oats and public variety soybean seeds with a mobile cleaner. After finding some unusual soybean plants in a farm field, Bill's son, Harry, became interested in soybean breeding.
According to the history on the company website, Harry Stine partnered with his father, Bill, in the soybean cleaning venture in 1964. Harry loved farming and wanted to find additional profit opportunities by developing newer, higher-yielding soybean lines. So in 1966, when every other seed company invested in corn, Harry Stine took a tremendous risk investing in soybean research.
Harry Stine told The Scoop, "I tried soybeans, honestly, because I didn't know any better. Then, farmers saved seed, and most varieties were produced by land-grant universities for virtually all open-pollinated crops, like soybeans. So I decided if we created the varieties, we could control the market."
In 1967, Harry Stine, and four other investors, founded Improved Variety Research (IVR), a soybean breeding company. It is the first private soybean research and development in the country. Six years later, IVR shut down, and Harry and Billy Eby created Midwest oilseeds, the largest soybean research, and development program in the United States. The company became the best in genetics licensing, and Stine Seed started to breed and deliver high-yielding hybrid seed corn.
These developments changed soybean farming in Iowa, and according to Des Moines Register, Stine made his fortune breeding soybeans and corn and then licensing the genetics to companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.
Nothing distracts Harry from farming.
However, the continuous success didn't distract Harry Stine, who continues to focus on providing his customers with great products.
In 2019, he told Sonja Begemann, "Our motive today is the same as it was 50 years ago — give better products to farmers in a more cost-effective manner because economics win". He added, "Being able to give farmers in the U.S. and worldwide the ability to be more efficient is so fun and gives me so much joy."
Forbes reported that He's donated to many Iowa institutions, including Spurgeon Manor, Drake University, and McPherson College skilled nursing facility for seniors.
Have you visited Adel, Iowa?