Recent News

More Support, More Places: Meet Our Regional Sales Managers

When Albert Lea Seed acquired Blue River Organic Seed, we were excited to share the news about everything our integrated new brand could offer farmers across the nation. The what, the why, the how — thanks for all the great Q&A and conversations this summer!

Now it’s time to take a moment and introduce you to who you can turn to for specific answers to all kinds of questions as you head into the 2022 harvest and 2023 planting seasons. Our regional sales managers are here to help you learn more about hybrid options, seed genetics, cover crops, agronomic insights and our local dealer network.



800.370.7979 |

Herb’s family farm in northeast Nebraska has been certified organic since 1994, and he brings a depth of knowledge to all things organic — planning, planting, best practices and making the most of new market opportunities. He’s a graduate of the University of Nebraska, and his three boys are active in 4-H. One son competes as a Reining rider.

“With our two companies becoming one,” Herb notes about the expanded portfolio of Viking and Blue River Organic Seed, “we have more to offer and can respond even quicker to specific requests. We’re better able to control costs and help growers keep a rotation of living plants on the soil to maintain biology and reduce erosion.”



833.813.0910 |

From his family farm near Ida Grove, Iowa, Scott works closely with farmers in the Hawkeye State along with Illinois and Indiana. Along with row crops, his family raises beef cattle and sheep. He and his young family enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, from fishing and hunting to golf. He graduated from Iowa State University.

“Overall, organic farmers have been seeing good prices for their crops,” Scott says. “We want to be able to provide a good, stable supply of seed and have as many options as possible for corn and beans, small grains and cover crops. Weed management, soil health and diversified rotations are all topics we actively address with growers.”



833.813.0909 |

Joe Fries has been in the seed business for 52 years. “One of the most important things we do,” Joe states, “is getting good information out to farmers to help them avoid difficulties. Maybe it’s a rotational strategy for better nitrogen fixing. Or an issue related to a specific soil type. In this business, you never stop learning.”

This Iowa State graduate lives near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and if he’s not involved in one of his many church activities, you might find him hard at work in his gardens and tending to his vegetables and flowers. He played basketball until he was 70 and now focuses on volleyball.



833.813.0906 |

Carl grew up going to the Albert Lea Seed House with his father and uncle, and because they farmed both conventionally and organically, he got a good early look at a wide range of ag systems. He graduated from Bethany College in Mankato, Minnesota, and in his free time today, Carl enjoys sports, gardening and cooking with his wife and three children.

With Viking and Blue River Organic Seed becoming one, Carl concludes, “Today, our pipeline of support is even larger. Production, storage and deliveries are even more efficient. Our customers can order the same way they always have, and we’ll keep building on the best products in each lineup for the best possible selection.”



833.813.0907 |

From his farm on the sandy coastal plain of Maryland, Matt travels extensively and works with growers from New England to the Gulf Coast. “Farmers are always trying to do better,” Matt observes. “The goal for everyone is improve their operations incrementally, and we’re right there with them, from the diversity of hybrids we offer for different growing regions and conditions to our continued efforts on price stability.”

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Matt helped transition his family farm in New England to organic a decade ago. He grows specialty wheat on his farm today in an integrated grain and livestock operation that supports chicken production. When he’s not farming or traveling, he relaxes with family and friends on his boat in Chesapeake Bay.

Albert Lea Seed House Announces Acquisition of Blue River Organic Seed 

Albert Lea Seed House, owner of Viking Corn & Soybeans and one of the largest suppliers of organic field seed in the U.S., today announced it has acquired Blue River Organic Seed, the nation’s longest-established organic seed corn brand from the Farmers Business Network (FBN).   

Founded in 2005 and based in Ames, Iowa, Blue River’s product line includes organic corn, silage, soybean, alfalfa, forages and sorghum. Albert Lea Seed is headquartered in Albert Lea, Minnesota. In addition to organic seeds, its product line also includes small grains, cover crops, wildflowers and native grasses.

“We firmly believe that integrating the Viking & Blue River Organic seed brands will be a real benefit to organic farmers,” said Albert Lea Seed President Mac Ehrhardt.  “The combined company will provide the best selection of organic-specific genetics, delivered by a farmer-focused team that specializes in organic agriculture and from a family-owned company that is committed to the long-term growth and success of organic agriculture.”

Highlights of the Acquisition:

  • Elevates Albert Lea Seed as the largest organic field seed supplier, producer, and commercialization expert in the U.S.
  • Brings experienced industry leaders to the Albert Lea Seed team and will expand the organization’s relationships in the organic farming market.
  • Adds Blue River’s 40,000-square-foot, climate-controlled seed warehouse and office for support and distribution of the combined Viking/Blue River Organic Seed brand.

The combined Viking/Blue River Organic seed brand will operate out of Albert Lea, Minnesota and Ames, Iowa.

“We have long admired the success of Albert Lea Seed. We are proud to join forces with them to accelerate our successes and seize the opportunity to further evolve the organic farming industry,” said Maury Johnson, co-founder of Blue River Organic Seed. “We cherish our Midwest roots, and we remain committed to ensuring that farmers all across the country will benefit from the responsible production, sale and use of our organic products.”

Albert Lea Seed currently serves more than 6,000 customers. The addition of Blue River will double the size of its organic corn and soybean seed business and will enable it to serve customers and dealers across the U.S. more efficiently.




Established in 1923, Albert Lea Seed is an independent, family-owned company that provides conventional non-GMO and organic seed products to farmers across the country under its Viking product line. It also offers cover crops, small grains and forage. Its mission is to partner with dealers and customers to provide the highest quality organic seed genetics available. For more information, visit


In 2005, Blue River Organic Seed was established by a few individuals with a common vision. They wanted to give organic farmers an opportunity to stay true to their organic farming practices and principles without having to sacrifice performance. Blue River’s singular mission is to provide high quality seed and exceptional genetics specifically for organic farming environments across the nation. To learn more, visit


Farmers Business Network® (FBN®) is an independent ag tech platform and farmer-to-farmer network with a mission to power the prosperity of family farmers around the world while working towards a sustainable future. Its Farmers First® promise has attracted over 43,000 members to the network with a common goal of helping farmers maximize their farm’s profit potential with data and technology enabled direct-to farmer commerce, community and sustainability offerings. FBN has set out to redefine value and convenience for farmers by helping reduce the cost of production and maximize the value of their crops. The FBN® network has grown to cover more than 98 million acres of member farms in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Blending the best of Midwestern agricultural roots and Silicon Valley technology, the company has over 900 personnel and principal offices in San Carlos, California; Chicago, Illinois; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; a Canadian Headquarters in High River, Alberta; and an Australian Headquarters in Perth—with significant warehouse and logistics, remote and field employees across the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Wyoming Organic Farming Conference

Most organic farming conferences focus on growing large grain crops, fruits, or vegetables in moisture-rich soils. Dryland organic farming doesn’t always get the attention it needs – yet there are many dryland organic farmers, researchers, and scientists who have lots of knowledge and experience to share! If this sounds familiar to you, consider attending the 7th Annual High Plains Organic Farming Conference in February of 2020 (click here for more info).

In the meantime, the University of Wyoming published a great review of this past February’s conference! The conference was held at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming and was teeming with passionate and knowledgeable experts in dryland organic ag. Attendees learned about raising grass-fed beef, growing small grains and pulses, current events in the Farm Bill, and navigating organic certification.

This news comes as no surprise to those of us at Blue River! Organic management is increasing in popularity out west for a variety of reasons. Farmers are finding that organic premiums and improved long-term soil health can increase the sustainability of their farming operations. Most importantly, social stigma attached to “bucking the trend” and farming differently is fading, and the chance to find an educational community is drawing more farmers into the organic fold.  We are excited and heartened to learn that more opportunities pop up every year for organic producers and we’ll continue to get the news out to our customers as we learn about them!

5 Things to Know Before Buying Blue River Seed

Blue River Organic Seed has an incredible team that works hard each and every day across the country to provide you with the best organic seed on the market. When it comes to organic farming we know that good management can be more complicated to navigate and achieve than the average farmer may realize. Don't get lost in the fog of confusion. Know the facts about our seed company before you buy!

When choosing seed, it’s important to not only research the hybrid or variety that you’re considering, but also the seed company itself. What value does the company place on seed performance and quality? Does the company perform its own research and quality testing on the varieties and hybrids they sell? How in-depth are their field trials and research efforts? Do they invest in university trials and objective third-party testing as well? More importantly, do they make that research available to you, the farmer? What is their customer service like? Do they have certified crop advisors and agronomists on staff to help with agronomic questions?

While we can’t answer these questions for other seed companies, we can definitely give you an in-depth look at our own motives, mission, and quality-assurance practices. We feel strongly that when you get to know Blue River’s devotion to high-quality seed, robust testing and varietal improvement, and top-notch customer service, you’ll realize why settling for less from your seed company just isn’t worth it.

1. Blue River was founded on the importance of high-quality, certified organic seed.

In 2005, Blue River Organic Seed was established under a common vision: We wanted to provide organic corn grain and silage farmers an opportunity to stay true to their organic farming practices and principles without sacrificing yield and performance due to inferior or un-adapted genetics. With this mission in mind, Blue River set out to create and select high quality, organic and/or non-GMO seed varieties with exceptional genetics specifically bred for organic farming environments across the nation.

Since that time, Blue River has expanded its organic and non-GMO product line to include several other important crops: soybean, sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass, alfalfa, red clover, and sunflower. Most significantly, Blue River has further developed the PuraMaize system into a line-up of corn varieties that are traditionally bred with the ability to favor their own pollen over GMO pollen, virtually eliminating the concern of GMO contamination in the grain at harvest. The success of the PuraMaize system is a harbinger of even better things to come, so stay tuned as Blue River takes organic seed to the next level of purity!

2. Blue River does its own research and field testing to provide you with the best organic seed. We also invest in university yield trials and objective third-party research.

Here at Blue River, we feel that science should be on our side when developing high-quality organic seed. A part of that scientific process is extensive field testing and objective analysis of the results. Our researchers are committed to developing traditionally bred, non-GMO hybrids that are selected specifically for their ability to thrive in organic management systems. Not only does Blue River grow its products across multiple testing environments around the United States, we also invest in objective university and third-party yield trials to ensure that our customers are receiving truthful and transparent information about our seed.

3. Our products are screened based on field performance with multiple years of testing, over a wide array of soil types, weather environments, and fertility regimes.

When we say we perform quality research – we perform in-depth field trials across all kinds of soil types, fertility programs, and management styles – not to mention across several lines of latitude! We take the performance of our varieties very seriously and this extends to our extensive field testing before the seed ever makes it to your farm!

4. You can view our plot trials and data here for our different crops.

We want our customers to feel confident in their selection of Blue River seed. This is most easily achieved through transparency in the performance data of our products. We let the numbers speak for themselves – you won’t find higher quality for a better value!

5. We provide large company benefits with a small company feel. We always want to hear how your season is going and we love to see update pictures of those beautiful organic fields.

When you become a Blue River customer, you’re joining a team that is sometimes more like a family. We are here every step of the way to help you select and succeed with one (or several) of our products. Our sales team is experienced and knowledgeable about organic management systems and we have both agronomists and Certified Crop Advisors on staff, ready and happy to answer your questions about both our products as well as agronomic topics in general. Most importantly, we love to hear from our customers – whether it’s just a season update or if you want to share pictures of your harvest. Your feedback helps us improve our products and service in the best way possible!

Dealers, Industry Spotlight, Products

PuraMaize: Protecting Your Organic Corn At Harvest…One Field At A Time

What is PuraMaize? If you haven’t had the chance to try out this genetic marvel, then continue reading to learn how it can optimize your organic grain at harvest.

PuraMaize isn’t just another variety of organic seed corn. It virtually eliminates the need to delay planting in order to avoid GMO contamination from your non-organic neighbors. This means you can take advantage of a longer growing season and you’ll have the ability to stagger your harvest with an even wider range of varietal maturities.

When you plant regular organic seed corn, the threat of GMO contamination in the resulting grain at harvest is still a significant concern. You may have carefully selected an organic corn variety with great genetics, but if pollen from a nearby GMO cornfield makes its way into your organic corn during pollination, it won’t matter how great that variety is – you’ll still wind up with GMO contamination in your harvested grain. Not so with PuraMaize!

By using traditional plant breeding methods, our plant breeders have given you access to organic seed corn that not only has strong genetics, it is almost completely resistant to foreign pollen. This means you no longer have to delay planting behind your non-organic neighbors' field. PuraMaize allows you to plant the same day right next to them, and be worry free at harvest that the grain you’re harvesting is free of GMO contamination.

PuraMaize is ideal for all organic farmers, but particularly those who are supplying organic grain, meat, or dairy products to the Non-GMO markets. These farmers need to be confident that there will be no contamination from neighboring GMO varieties when they harvest – and Blue River has stepped up to the plate to bring you the next level of purity in organic seed corn!

To learn more about PuraMaize or to see if it would be beneficial to your operation, contact your Blue River representative, or call us at 1-800-370-7979.​

Products, PuraMaize