With seed farms and production facilities in nine states, CSS Farms stretches across the U.S. and it prides itself on having a culture of “doing it right.”
Its vision statement includes a commitment toward “cultivating people, leadership and new technology,” as it seeks to be their customers’ preferred supplier. It also defines its core values as a commitment to excellence, teamwork, integrity, entrepreneurial drive, innovation and farming lifestyle.
For Laurie Widdowson, CSS marketing and development manager, that vision statement and core values are not mere filler material for the company website’s “About” section. They represent strong feelings that she and other CSS employees feel toward their company. CSS, she says, is a special organization that is devoted to quality.
In 1986, CSS began by the Carter and Spevak families in the small town of Watertown, South Dakota. Soon afterward, it expanded to Nebraska, Texas and other states, while creating new partnerships and building its customer base. Today, CSS operates on a total of 14,000 acres of farmland and employs 300 full-time employees through the year.
In addition to having top-notch people and programs to develop those people, CSS also concentrates on technology. Widdowson said that the company has excellent “clean seed protocols.” That is, it excels at keeping its product virus free.
“We make a large financial and personnel investment to accomplish,” she said. CSS strives to zero infection, even when legal requirements are less strict.