1926 Henry A. Wallace

Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965) changed the face of agriculture. He began inbreeding and cross-breeding corn to improve yield years before earning his college degree in agriculture in 1910. By age 15 he had disproved the conventional agrarian wisdom that ear appearance – row uniformity, kernel shape and length – could predict yield. Wallace developed the first commercial hybrid corn in 1923, and in 1926 founded the first hybrid seed corn company, which became Pioneer Hi-Bred International. DuPont purchased 20 percent of Pioneer in 1997 and completed the purchase in 1999.