Wednesday, October 21, 2020


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

DeKalb Ag

The marker is located at the former headquarters of DeKalb Ag, now the Northern Illinois University Health, Wellness & Literacy Center located at 3100 Sycamore Road, DeKalb.
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, Inc. (, and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
DeKalb's roots date to 1912 when a group of farmers and bankers formed the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association to improve area farming. In 1917, an offshoot was formed, the DeKalb County Agricultural Association, with a focus on quality seed. Hybrid corn research began in 1924, and by 1940 DeKalb led the nation in hybrid seed corn sales. The winged ear logo became its international trademark. DeKalb applied hybridization principles to sorghum, sunflowers, egg-laying poultry and swine breeding stock. Varietal alfalfa and soybean seed were also added.

The company diversified into oil and gas exploration and other agriculture and oil-related businesses. By 1988, DeKalb had returned to its core business, as a global leader in agricultural genetics for seed, swine and poultry. DeKalb was recognized as the first company to patent transgenic corn, later introducing genes that provide farmers with herbicide, pest and disease resistance. An innovative profit sharing plan provided full-time employees with an equal share of profits. DeKalb's charitable foundation made substantial donations to communities where it operated.

DeKalb's original headquarters were on Fifth Street, moving to this location in 1966. In 1970 the company went public, splitting its shares into voting and non-voting classes. The founding Roberts family maintained majority ownership of the voting shares. DeKalb shares were traded on the NASDAQ and later on the NYSE. In 1998, Monsanto Company completed its purchase of DeKalb for a total company valuation of $3.7 billion. Bayer AG purchased Monsanto in 2018. DeKalb® brand seed products continue to be developed and distributed around the world.

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