The Beck Agricultural Center realizes the vision of Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids, to educate students of all ages, from grade school to college; to teach adults in the farming community; and to accommodate agriculture and industry meetings.
An especially important part of Beck’s partnership with Purdue to advance agriculture is ensuring that farmers receive current training, especially in new farming methods and plant and pest diagnostics. This partnership allows the seed company to learn from the university’s research, and the university to learn from practical experience in the field.
Beck’s father and grandfather founded the seed company in 1937. Lawrence Beck and his son Francis, who had attended Purdue short courses, each planted three-acre allotments of seed corn from the university's botany department. Francis and his wife Pauline remained active in the business until their deaths in 1999 and 2001, respectively.
Sonny Beck earned his bachelor's degree in agronomy at Purdue in 1962 and his master's degree in agricultural economics in 1964. His wife and the company secretary, Glendia, attended Purdue and worked in the Department of Animal Sciences for several years while her husband finished his degrees. Their sons, Scott and Tony, and daughter Kim are Purdue graduates and are all part of the company, along with Kim’s husband Todd Marschand, Scott’s wife Shantel, and Tony’s wife Tracey.
Francis Beck’s business philosophy was to provide a free, 100 percent replant agreement on every bag of Beck’s seed corn. His son, Sonny, and Sonny’s children continue that practice on all of the company’s corn, soybean and wheat seed, which is marketed to farmers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.