A few days ago, some visitors were at the Feed Mill and were shopping in the Art & Craft Gallery. As the ladies were leaving, they noticed the feed bag display we have at our front desk. You may remember the display as I blogged about it earlier this year (May 17, 2012). As the one lady was looking at the bags, she immediately said “My dad started Kussmaul Seeds.” It was a heartwarming moment for the few gathered as she recalled how her dad started the business.
Jean Kussmaul Bula, the youngest daughter in the family, sent us the picture of her as she is pointing to the feed bag from the company that her father started. She also sent us the following information about how her father started Kussmaul Seeds.
He started the business in 1934 with just one acre. That was before electricity came to the area and he built a shed with a slotted floor and he used a wood stove to heat it. It took about 10 days to dry the corn. He had a B tractor driving the fan. He used a gas engine on the sheller and fed it by hand. The seed grader was run by a gas engine too and he could grade one bushel in about an hour. He sold his first crop for $4.00 a bushel! A few years later electricity came to the farm. Someone from the University of Wisconsin drew up plans for the first forced air corn dryer. Several farmers close by started to raise a little hybrid corn and brought it over to Dad for him to dry. He made good money—$1.00 a bushel! In 1939 his brother came into the business. He was a natural born salesman. He is going to be 99 in Feb. Dad died three years ago at the age of 97. His name was Rudolph Willard Kussmaul. My Uncle is Allen Kussmaul. “Rud” and “Al”. Like I said, Dairyland Seed bought it in the early 80’s and now it is owned by Dow Chemical but still goes by the name of Dairyland. Needless to say, we are all very proud of him.
The picture to the left is of Rudolph Willard Kussmaul at one of the displays at the Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa, in the early years. Rudolph is the one on the far right in the green shirt and cap just behind the guy with his back to the camera.
From feed and seed to rooms and suites. The Feed Mill has quite a history and the legacy continues. Isn’t it amazing what a small world we live in! Lanesboro is so fortunate to receive so many visitors each year.