Our company began in 1986 in Rushville, IN as DS Brand Seeds. Don Denzler’s 27 years of experience in ag sales, focus on “customers first,” and no-frills approach formed a strong foundation for future growth.
Mark Denzler joined his father in the family business in the fall of 1994, bringing with him a wealth of management experience. In 1996 Don retired, and Mark and Joyce Denzler incorporated the company as Denzler Seeds, Inc., operating in Fayette County, IN. Over the next 25 years, Mark guided Denzler Seeds through substantial growth as well as the acquisition of Bird Hybrids in 2009 to form 1st Choice Seeds. In 2012, 1st Choice Seeds relocated back to Rushville.
When Mark and Joyce Denzler considered their future retirement, it became clear to them that the future of the company was with its people. They determined to transition ownership of the company to key employees instead of looking for new leadership that did not understand the mission of the company they had worked so hard to grow. In 2018, Brian Marlatt was identified as the natural leader for the company’s transition to employee ownership. Brian and Amy Marlatt became majority owners in March 2021. Since 2019, ten other employees have purchased company stock. We have a great team, and we are proud to be 100% employee-owned.