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H. Chris Hoegemeyer and his son, Leonard C. Hoegemeyer, started Hoegemeyer Hybrids in 1937 when the science of producing hybrid seed was just dawning. As a student at the University of Nebraska, Leonard learned about the potential of corn hybridization and various techniques, so he brought home two inbred lines for his father to try.
Leonard’s interest grew, and he went on to earn a Master's degree at Kansas State and was working on his Ph.D. in plant breeding at the University of Missouri when he enlisted in the Army in World War II. He dedicated his life to the development of rugged, stress-tolerant hybrids to provide quality seed to farmers.
Leonard's legacy continued when his son, Tom, went to Iowa State where he earned his Ph.D. Since Tom joined the company in 1974, he has built a reputation as one of the most innovative and well-respected plant breeders in the seed industry, making Hoegemeyer Hybrids a major player in the Western Corn Belt.
That same legacy also lives on in two family members who are moving Hoegemeyer forward while drawing inspiration from the leaders who came before them: Stephan Becerra and Chris Hoegemeyer.
Leonard's grandson, Stephan Becerra, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, but spent summers as a boy and throughout high school and college working for the family business, Hoegemeyer Hybrids. He attended Iowa State University and received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1995.
Stephan started his formal career in the seed industry working for Cargill Hybrid Seeds, first as an operations manager at Cargill’s Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, production plant, then as the logistics and distribution manager. He went on to earn an MBA with an emphasis in marketing from the Cornell University Johnson School of Management.
After graduating, Stephan joined Deere and Company as a project manager in new business development in the Global AgServices Division, where he assisted in the evaluation and negotiation of various acquisition opportunities. He returned to Hoegemeyer as president in 2004, and he’s been leading our growth ever since.
Tom's son, Chris Hoegemeyer, grew up living near and working at the Hoegemeyer production plant near Hooper, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a master’s degree in agricultural economics. Anxious to see the world, Chris spent two years at Vladivostok State University of Economics in Vladivostok, Russia, teaching business and economics and working on marketing projects for the University.
Chris came back to work for the family business in 2002 and is currently the executive vice president of Hoegemeyer Hybrids. As part of the Hoegemeyer management team, he leads our customer accounts and service team, working hard to ensure that all of our customers receive reliable, genuinely helpful service whenever they need it.