Jacob Hartz, Sr.
Jacob Hartz, Sr. was a pioneer in soybean production and seed processing throughout Arkansas and the Mid-South. After completing only six years of formal education, he worked as a sales representative for the International Harvester Company before starting his own business. In August of 1924, Hartz with Mr. A.R. Thorell formed the Hartz-Thorell Supply Company, an International Harvester dealership in Stuttgart. Hartz along with his partner introduced soybeans to Arkansas and the Mid-South. In 1936, Hartz- Thorell built their first seed plant for the processing of soybean, oat and rice seed. This plant was the most modern seed plant of its kind in the Mid-South for many years. The Hartz-Thorell Partnership was dissolved in 1942, and the Jacob Hartz Seed Company was organized by Mr. Hartz and his sons. Along with Hartzell Banks who was the director of the Rice Branch Experiment Station, Mr. Hartz would travel all over Arkansas and the Mid-South “preaching soybeans.” This duo was commonly referred to as the “soybean twins.” Between 1950 and 1960, the Jacob Hartz Seed
Company expanded to become the largest soybean seed company in the United States. Not only did he sell seed in the Southern U.S., but also exported soybean seed to Mexico and South America. Also food-type soybean markets were established in the Far East, which became important to the company’s business in later years. In the early ‘60s a major processing and storage expansion took place that would become the largest, most modern soybean seed processing plant in the U.S.—the storage capacity of which would be 1.8 million bushels—and would become one of Stuttgart’s largest industries. Mr. Hartz retired in the early 1960s and assumed an advisory position with the company until his death in 1963. The soybean industry in Arkansas as it is known today is very much the product of the efforts of Jacob Hartz, Sr.