One of the largest businesses in Fitchburg for its time was Blaney Seed Farms begun in 1932 by Edwin Blaney. The business was located on the Blaney family farm in the area of East Lacy and Syene Roads. Edwin Blaney became interested in seed corn after attending the agricultural short course at UW Madison when hybrid seed corn was just coming onto the scene in agriculture. At that time farmers were being encouraged to start raising hybrid corn to replace lower yielding open pollinated corn. The UW Madison released foundation seed stock with Edwin receiving enough for one acre. From this original one acre Edwin sold seed corn directly to local farmers. He built a dryer and processing plant on his property and joined the new Wisconsin Certified Seed Association. Over the years the business expanded requiring a sales team to be hired as acres devoted to seed corn increased and Blaney Seed Corn sold in other Midwest states.
Edwin’s son, Richard Blaney, served as President and General Manager of Blaney Farms, Inc. from 1964 – 1979, years of continued growth for the business. In Fitchburg, Blaney Hybrid Seed Corn grew on over 2,000 acres with land rented from area farmers in the Syene, Irish Lane, and Lacy Road areas. In 1976 some 8,000 acres of Blaney Seed Corn grew in four different areas of Wisconsin. The Blaney business became one of the largest temporary employees in Wisconsin. For example, in 1977 some 2,500 area high school age teens were hired to do the work of detasseling the corn plants during the summer months. By the time the business was sold in 1979 to Stauffer Company, it was the largest independent family owned seed company in the upper Midwest. From one acre of seed corn it had grown to encompass 8,600 acres rented across the state. Blaney Seed Corn at its peak was selling 200,000 bags of seed corn in a nine state region.