Meadville, PA — January 1, 2017 — Ernst Conservation Seeds, the largest supplier of native grass and wildflower seeds in the eastern United States, enjoyed unprecedented sales in 2016. The company anticipates a similarly profitable 2017 as it positions itself to meet sustained demand while continuing to drive new market development into the future.
Ernst grows, processes and sells hundreds of species of native and naturalized seeds and bioengineering (live plant) materials grown on more than 9,000 acres in northwestern Pennsylvania. Its products are sold to commercial, government and private sector customers. It employs nearly 90 people during its busy seasons.
Federal, state and grass-roots initiatives continue focusing efforts on the improvement of habitat for declining pollinator populations. This has driven an uptick in demand for seed mixes featuring a diverse selection of native wildflowers and grasses in new commercial and residential sites, conservation areas on farmlands, wetland mitigation and revegetation of disturbed sites.
Additionally driving native seed demand, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) accepted more than 800,000 new acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and over 100,000 acres into the new CRP Grasslands program in 2016. This brought the total enrolled acres close to the 24 million-acre national cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. These land conservation programs provide annual rental payments to farmers who remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that improve environmental health and quality.
One of the top producers of switchgrass in the country, Ernst Seeds and Ernst Biomass, LLC continue to develop new opportunities for the use of switchgrass in the protection of watersheds via riparian buffers, for use in livestock bedding, as an industrial absorption material and as an alternative energy feedstock.
Ernst will launch a completely redesigned website in February. The new site will feature an intuitive and powerful seed finder tool, on-site project planner, blog featuring articles from Ernst staff and respected thought leaders, and many helpful resources for the successful establishment of native species.
Ernst Seeds will continue to invest in its facilities, capacity and workforce, while developing strategic organizational and academic partnerships, and representing the native seed industry in state and federal advocacy efforts as it has for decades.
About Ernst Conservation Seeds
Founded by Calvin Ernst in 1964, Ernst Conservation Seeds grows, processes and sells over 400 species of native and naturalized seeds and live plant materials to conservation organizations, landscape architects, reclamation/restoration contractors, government agencies and private landowners throughout the United States and abroad.
Randy Ferguson, Dir. Marketing & Communications
Ernst Conservation Seeds