Soybean breeder Bill Eby was the recipient of the Iowa Seed Association’s (ISA) 2011 Honorary Member Award. Eby accepted the accolade during the ISA’s 108th Annual Convention held February 8–9 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. The award commemorated his work with Midwest Oilseeds, a company founded by Eby and Harry Stine which has become one of the most successful soybean breeding programs in existence.
“I thank the Iowa Seed Association for this honor,” says Eby. “As a developer of soybean varieties, I depend on the seed industry to market these varieties and your support has been appreciated throughout my career.”
Eby and Harry Stine, Founder of Stine Seed Company, were both raised in rural Dallas County, Iowa. In 1968, Stine and Eby joined forces to create one of the first private soybean breeding programs in existence. During those early years, Eby wore many hats — soybean breeder, planter and combine operator, repairman and data analyst — and as years progressed his hard work began to pay off. In time, Midwest Oilseeds became one of the most renowned genetics suppliers in the seed business.
In 1994, Eby and Midwest Oilseeds were granted the first utility patent ever issued on a soybean variety. This action would establish the precedence for how seed developers would protect their intellectual property. To date, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Eby more than 416 soybean cultivar patents.
Eby is about to embark on his 44th growing season with Stine Seed Company. Evidence of his legacy and lifetime commitment to the soybean industry can be found growing in fields across Iowa every summer. To learn more about Stine Seed Company’s industry-leading soybean breeding program, visit www.stineseed.com.