(1898 - 1970)
Alumnus V.B. Hamilton established the historic Farm Bureau’s first successful business affiliated companies, including insurance. He partnered in Farmers Hybrid Hog Co., later acquired by Monsanto.
V.B. Hamilton came to Iowa to study agriculture and became an influential figure in three areas – a county Extension director, a Farm Bureau state official, and an agri-businessman putting new genetics to work. He received a degree in animal husbandry from Iowa State College (now University) in 1921.
As secretary-treasurer of the Iowa Farm Bureau Association state membership more than doubled in the 11 years he worked for the organization. He established the historic Farm Bureau first successful business affiliated companies, especially those activities providing for an insurance company as well as other segments dealing in farm supply items and other products and services. All of this activity, particularly the insurance company, tended to stabilize membership.
Then he partnered in a new business called Farmers Hybrid Co., a cooperative that produced and marketed seed corn only to Farm Bureau members. He was also a partner in the first commercial “hybrid hog” company in the nation, Farmers Hybrid Hog Co.
That company set out to do with swine what Henry A. Wallace had done with corn. It used a system of selective crossbreeding and matings seen by Hamilton and his partners as a real genetic breakthrough, promising faster-growing, leaner pigs that converted rations into pork more efficiently. The company later became part of Monsanto of St. Louis, but by the 1970s, several other companies had caught on to hybrid hogs.
V.B. Hamilton was also responsible, during his time with the Board of Regents, for offering, penciled on a two-cent postal card, an application to be president at Iowa State to James H. Hilton, who would see the growth of Iowa State College to Iowa State University. He received the Distinguished Service Award from American Farm Bureau Federation in 1974.