One Minnesota DEKALB Dealer: Going 56 Years Strong

W. Sparks 8/25/2011

For more than 56 years, Ervin Westphal has sold DEKALB® seed from his seed dealership in Stewart, MN. And at 89 years old, he is still going strong.

Today, Westphal has about 60 farmer-customers who purchase DEKALB corn seed and Asgrow soybean seed from him. He plans to sell DEKALB as long as health permits.

“There is nothing better than keeping your mind busy,” he said. “Plus, I love what I do, and my health is good as long as I’m selling the seed.”

Growing up DEKALB

Westphal was born and raised on the farm where he’s currently living in Stewart. Before he became a dealer, he grew two hybrids on his farm, and one was DEKALB. He still grows corn on his 160-acre farm.

“When I first started farming, we were planting with horses,” he said. “Now we are planting with 48-row planters.”

Westphal first began farming with his father, Ferdinand. DEKALB was one of his dad’s favorite hybrids. 

“My dad was the first for everything,” Westphal said. ”He had the first alfalfa grown in the county, had the first hybrid corn in the county. He was always willing to try new things.” 

Building a Dealership

His father passed away in 1973, but his legacy continues in Westphal’s dealership, where Westphal made his appearance in 1954. He sold his first seed in the fall of that year and delivered it in 1955.. And since that start, he has sold only DEKALB.

Westphal now works with the Kuttner Family of Kuttner Seed.

Ervin is very loyal to DEKALB, Asgrow® and his growers,” Ken Kuttner said. “Even at 89, Ervin is still enthusiastic about new products and selling seed.”

Westphal said he’s had a lot of offers through the years to sell other products, but he sticks with DEKALB because, in his mind, it’s the best.

“Why would I sell something that I don’t like?” he asked. “DEKALB has been good to me and to my customers.”

Ervin’s positive attitude is contagious,” Kuttner said. “His favorite saying is: ‘Don’t worry, it will always work out.’”

As we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of DEKALB, we recognize dealers and growers like Westphal who are committed to DEKALB. To learn more about DEKALB’s rich legacy, visit