News from around Johnson County as reported on March 16 in the pages of the Daily Journal and the Franklin Evening Star from the last 111 years.
On this day in 1991, the main story in the Daily Journal was about a local seed company cultivating ideas.
Holden’s Foundation Seeds, a 126-acre-farm and research facility located along Whiteland Road in White River Township, was breeding traits to boost corn yields and improve plant resistance to disease and pests.
These efforts had made Holden a major player in the breeding marketplace — an area that included one other company.
“That’s probably true,” said Don Eggerling, Holden’s vice president for research and development.
Corn growing in the U.S. had come a long way since Squanto told starving pilgrims in 1621 to bury three fish in each seed hole for fertilizer.
Corn plays a key role in Johnson County agriculture, and chemicals have replaced fish as fertilizer for most growers. Until the late 1930s, farmers used to save seeds to use for the following year’s planting.
But then companies like Holden’s took root, and yields began to soar as a result of their experiments with hybrids.
From the 1860s through mid-1930s, yields held steady in the range of 25 to 30 bushels per acre. By the early 1990s, with various hybrids, yields of 130 to 135 bushels weren’t uncommon in Johnson County.
Other memorable Johnson County stories from this day
Local developer Bemis Group was seeking a cash incentive from the city of Franklin for a major redevelopment project south of downtown: the Garment Factory.
Whiteland town officials were searching for the source of a 100-gallon-per minute leak in the town’s drinking water system. The leak was costing the town $8,000 worth of water a month.
The Whiteland Dairy Queen opened for business following the erection of a fence at the store to comply with a court order. A nearby homeowner had sued the business for damages before it opened.