- Adrian Polansky cuts the ribbon on the Polansky Seed new seed cleaning plant east of Belleville Thursday morning. He is flanked by his daughter, Amber and family at left, and son Adam and family at right. His wife, Kris, is holding the ribbon at far right, along with the 15 staff members of Polansky Seed. The plant is expected to be operational by wheat harvest.
From corn crib beginning to state-of-the-art cleaning facility, Polanskys works to add value to agriculture economy in the future
•The building towers some six stories.
•The seed cleaning unit has the capacity to clean a semi-load of grain an hour.
•The new equipment in Polansky Seed East will screen grain nine times–ensuring the highest quality of seed on the market.
•And the company not only provides seed to farmers across the two states–it contracts with local farmers to grow seed, adding value to the traditional agriculture economy.
That’s the quick view of the new plant Polansky Seed christened Thursday at a grand opening attended by hundreds of customers, dealers, and community members from across the region.
“We believe this is the only plant of its kind south of I-80 in the Western Cornbelt, and one of only five or six in the country,” says Adrian Polansky, the second generation owner of the seed business that started in a wooden shed at his parent’s farm. Today the business supplies mostly wholesale seed to dealers that cover an estimated 70 percent of Kansas and 20 percent of Nebraska.
“The heart of our business is as a wholesaler supplier to the retail market through businesses like cooperatives that market the seed,” says Mike Baxa, general manager.
“That’s how we move the quantity we do. “But we still also still serve our area farmers,” he adds. The company bags about 20,000 small individual bags of seed wheat, less than half of what it did at one time. “A lot of seed companies don’t do that at all,” Baxa says.
“It’s still a niche for us.” Baxa said certified seed wheat is Polansky’s “bread and butter”, along with soybeans, grain sorghum, corn, and forages like oats. In recent years, cover crops with root vegetables like turnips have been in demand from producers. The new plant will allow Polanskys to explore new markets in food-grade white corn and milo, Baxa said.
“We have some growers we’re going to work with on those crops,” he said. Baxa said the company not only provides seed to local producers, but also contracts with area farmers to grow seed.
“It helps the whole community,” he says. “Through our dealer network we bring a lot of money into this community.”
In tours through the buildings, visitors were most fascinated by the laser color sorter, an electronic camera that identifies off-color grains of wheat as it flows through the machine, and blows them out with a puff of air. In all, grain travels through nine different screening processes to remove trash.
The entire process in the seed cleaning plant is controlled by a single computer screen at ground level. Baxa says Polanskys expects the new seed cleaning technology to boost test weights by four pounds a bushel while increasing seed cleaning capacity from 400 bushel per hour at its current plant on M Street to 1,000 bushel per hour.
As an added bonus, “this plant will be dust free and perfectly clean,” he says. “Instead of cleaning wheat from harvest into October, we hopefully will be done by September, which will give us more time to market it and get it out,” he says. Polansky said the new plant was built large enough that the company could double it’s capacity in the future.
Polansky Seed started in 1941 on John Polansky’s farm “operating from a farm alleyway between a corn crib and wood bins,” Adrian says. In 1992 the company purchased Sis Seed on M Street and moved to Belleville. Polansky points to Mike Baxa, Pat Baxa and Sam Strnad who have been employees with the company since it’s beginning.
The third generation of the Polansky family, Adam, manages the farm operation and also works with the seed business. Adrian said he hopes someday the business passes on to the fourth generation of the family, the children of Adam and his daughter, Amber. The company has 15 employees.
Polansky Seed upgraded its seed cleaning facility at the M Street store about 10 years ago, Polansky said. Five years ago, the company purchased land from the late Joe Hanzlick on U36, “which gives us the ability to easily move seed north, south, east and west from Belleville” Polansky says.
The seed cleaning plant is the third phase of the expansion over the last five years. The first phases involved building a 14×80’ concrete scale and 100,000 bushels of storage at the East facility. The plant boasts a 5,000 bushel per hour grain leg “so it’s not going to take us very long to unload a semi”, Polansky says.
Polansky had to pause several times during the morning as he credited his family and employees and customers to help build the company to its present size. “I can’t take credit for what’s happened here,” he says. “My team members, my family, and my customers are why we’re in this community today.”