When you think of something that represents DeKalb, the DeKalb Ag’s Winged Ear logo has to be at the top of the list. Through the company’s several name changes, the Winged Ear has flown proudly throughout the world.
It has taken on a life of its own and is one of the most recognizable logos in history. This also makes the logo a very desirable collectible. The thrill of “borrowing” a field sign has been enjoyed by many locals.
Anywhere you go in the world it is likely that you will come across the logo in your travels. Items with the Winged Ear logo on them are still displayed proudly in this area.
DeKalb Ag did a lot of things right; one of the most forward thinking was the marketing of the farmer/dealer sales force. In the early days, as Tom Roberts Sr., manager of the DeKalb Agricultural Association, grew his reputation in the field, he earned a great amount of respect from his peers. So when he had a new hybrid seed product for them to try, they were willing to try it based on Roberts’ experience.
The farmer/dealer force could sell seed to their neighbors, plant plots that would compare this seed to others, make sales calls in their free time, and warehouse seed at their location. The farmer/dealer would be the best informed on issues of growing seed corn.
As this program grew, incentives were introduced. More importantly incentives that the farmer/dealer’s wife would want. What better way to motivate her husband to sell seed than for the wife to want the incentive offered?
There were so many different incentive items from tableware to the most modern kitchen gadget for the ladies and belt buckles, hats, and trailer hitches for the guys to mention a few. Many of the collectibles are still in high demand today.
Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives