The LCS national sales and marketing manager has built his life and career around agriculture

Grant Groene brings deep roots in farming and more than 17 years in the seed industry to his work as the LCS national sales and marketing manager.

Groene grew up in Winfield, Kan., where the wheat field flatlands meet the Flint Hills. His weekends and summers were spent on his grandparents’ farm tending wheat, soybean, grain sorghum and alfalfa. Working with family and having a connection to the land stuck with him.

“I never considered doing anything other than agriculture,” Groene says. After high school, he dove right into agronomy studies at Kansas State University, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Groene worked with several professors and mentors at K-State, but his time with Dr. Mitch Tuinstra and Dr. Newton Ochanda was the most formative. Through their program, he learned how crop genetics are refined into targeted varieties that address very real, and often very specific, farmer needs. He was hooked. Internships with a sorghum grain plant breeder and seed company solidified his interest. And the rest, Groene says, is history: “All these years later, I’m still in the seed business.”

Groene’s career has taken him all over the world, working in agricultural research, field agronomy, sales and product management. He spent 15 years with Pioneer Seed under various corporate umbrellas, eventually managing its global agronomy program.

Then the COVID pandemic hit, travel came to a halt and Groene sought out new ways to expand his horizons. He spent his non-working hours earning an MBA from West Texas A&M University College of Business. Then he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. He considered both a way to advance his skills and career, but being an officer in the Navy Reserve Supply and Logistics Core went beyond professional goals: “My granddad was in the Army during the Korean War, and all his brothers served, too. When the opportunity came up, I thought, ‘This is my chance to do my part.’”

Groene joined LCS as the national sales and marketing manager in January, but he’s been familiar with the company for a while. “I think LCS has some of the best wheat breeders in the country,” he says, adding that parent company Limagrain is one of the biggest seed companies in the world, giving LCS access to premium global genetics. “We’ve got a lot of collective experience to be sure we’re breeding products that meet farmer needs.”

LCS conventional wheat varieties are bred for specific traits and with specific geographies and growing conditions in mind. Every LCS region is different, and Groene oversees sales across all four of them: the Central and Northern Plains, Mountain West and Pacific Northwest. In areas with weed challenges, LCS offers lines for proven wheat production systems CoAXium and Clearfield. There’s always something new. “That’s what I like about this business,” says Groene. “Every year, you get a new class of products to evaluate, and LCS has a good trial network in place to get the right data when they come out.”

To Groene, what matters is building relationships and working with seed dealers and farmers to find solutions. “Farming is so much more than feeding the world. It passes down from generation to generation, allowing families to work and spend time together and then, in turn, give something back that’s valuable to other people.” The amount of land available to grow food is shrinking all the time, says Groene, and agricultural research is crucial to figuring out how to increase the productivity of the land we have. “I’m glad I get to be part of it and do what I can to leave things better than how I found them.”

Outside of work, Groene and his wife Sara stay busy chasing after their 1-year-old, cycling, barbecuing, and watching K-State sports and live music.