The famous “winged ear” logo of DEKALB corn first made its debut in 1935 with the slogan, “DeKalb Quality Hybrids Will Be Your Mortgage Lifter.”
The brand’s historic symbol was commemorated this week with placement of an Illinois state historical marker at Memorial Park in DeKalb, Illinois, by the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA). Over the years, the internationally recognized symbol has undergone many design enhancements from the original concept. But the iconic image of a flying ear of corn remains.
“The DEKALB winged ear is a global symbol that represents innovation in seed technology and agricultural marketing. It has also helped make the city of DeKalb, Illinois, known around the world,” said Larry Mix, DAAHA president, who also serves as Monsanto’s Germplasm IP Stewardship Lead. “The DEKALB brand is recognized globally as a leading innovator, continuing to introduce advanced technologies to help farmers maximize their yield and profitability.”
In addition to Mix, speakers at the historical marker dedication included Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard, DeKalb Mayor John Rey, DeKalb Park District Board President Phil Young, Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director William Furry, Doug Roberts, the grandson of DeKalb Ag founder Tom Roberts Sr., and local DEKALB representative, Mark Delhotal.
“It is an honor to have the DEKALB winged ear logo displayed in a prominent location in the City of DeKalb, Illinois,” said Mayor Rey. “Having been home to the corporate headquarters of the DeKalb Agricultural Association and successive companies, it is fitting to have this commemorative display in this community. The DEKALB winged ear continues to be known worldwide as the symbol of productivity to farmers and many city folk.”
The history of the DEKALB brand actually began several years before the debut of the winged ear symbol. In 1912, a group of innovative farmers, bankers and county officials formed the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association, in DeKalb, Illinois, from which the DeKalb Agricultural Association with its DEKALB seed brand later emerged as a separate business and research enterprise.
In 1998 Monsanto purchased DEKALB Genetics Corporation and now proudly owns the DEKALB brand and the famed winged ear logo. Today the DEKALB brand and the logo are legally registered as trademarks of Monsanto in more than 80 countries worldwide.