Seed World

Tim Greene is Continuing a Legacy

Tim Greene and his two sons at the Burrus Seed headquarters in Jacksonville, Ill. Source: Tim Greene

Since the 1990s, the Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA) has been a pillar supporting independent seed companies across the U.S. gather — not in competition, but in collaboration. 

For many, that collaboration is invaluable: being able to talk another independent owner and ask how they dealt with a specific situation, be it HR, crops or other topics, helps both businesses grow by bouncing ideas off one another. 

IPSA is only able to facilitate this collaboration with the IPSA leadership team behind the scenes. With the IPSA board, the organization is able to improve, grow and continue to give independents new opportunities.

Growing up, Tim Greene never expected he’d end up in the seed industry. Sure, he grew up in a small town near Burrus Seed’s headquarters, but his family was not in the ag industry.

“I grew up around sales thanks to my family’s involvement in the car business,” Greene, president of Burrus Seed and current IPSA president, says. “When I went to college I saw sales as a likely career path for me, but I didn’t envision it being in the seed business.”

Prior to that, Greene says his involvement with agriculture was limited to detasseling at Burrus Seed when he was 13 years old. 

“It was one of those situations of what do you do when you can’t drive and you’re looking to make a little money,” he says. “But I stopped when my family relocated during high school.”

When he moved back to the area for college, through internships and summer break jobs, Greene began seeing seed as a viable profession. 

Really, it was the mentorship of his father-in-law, Tom Burrus, who guided his seed career. 

“Tom, Todd and their father, Martin, gave me the opportunity to join the business and light my path,” Greene says. “They encouraged me to experience every facet of the seed industry, from production to sales.”

 Tom’s influence didn’t stop at Burrus Seed — it inspired Greene’s career with IPSA.

“Todd Martin really hounded me to join IPSA’s board, but it was Tom’s involvement with the organization that had a major influence on my career decisions,” he says. “I had a lot of respect for Tom, he was a true seedsman with a strong passion for people and this industry.”

Tom imparted the value of continuous learning and teaching to Greene. He says Tom continuously focused on sharing ideas and wisdom with the next generation. 

“I saw it demonstrated on a daily basis — he loved being an independent seedsman,” Greene says. “When you see that passion, you see the benefits that come with it. We have the unique experience working as a family business, but also get to come together with peers at IPSA. Some of us might be friendly competitors, but ultimately, we’re all independent companies with the same goal.”