Seven Decades of Seed:
Family-Owned Bamert Seed Company Celebrates 70 Years
Native grasses waving across a windswept landscape only tell half the story.
The genesis of natural, beautiful vegetation thriving above ground is written by an intricate system below the soil. It’s an origin story rooted in tradition, development, and innovation by a family that has helped stewards of the land nurture their surroundings for more than 70 years. Bamert Seed’s story begins where every plant finds its start – in the ground.
Q: What is the story behind the founding of Bamert Seed?
Brett Bamert, President: Following World War II my grandfather, Carl, went back to his childhood home of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Land was too expensive in the area, so he began to look for more affordable ground, which brought him to Muleshoe, Texas. He answered an ad in the newspaper in the 1950s to grow seed for the Soil Bank program, which was started to help counterbalance the abundance of crops in the market following the war and prevent another Dirty Thirties.
Nick Bamert, Chairman: Just like any other market that has its ebbs and flows, the company my father, Carl, was growing for ended up with more seeds than they could sell. Instead of plowing up his seed fields and maybe trying to grow more seeds for that company in a few years, he purchased a seed cleaner in 1968 and decided to grow native seeds to sell to other wholesalers and distributors in Texas. That decision changed the trajectory of Bamert Seed and set it in a whole new direction. Throughout the 1970s, the company grew about eight different varieties. It was in 1981 that I came home to the business and we continued to expand our number of species. Technology was really beginning to make a big impact even back then, and we decided to put personal computers to work for us. We initially used them to track inventory, but soon found they were helpful in another aspect of our business, as well. With the goal to provide seed to feed stores and to local farmers and ranchers, we created a mailing list for direct marketing. The ability to promote our products and our services directly to our targeted customers was a big impact for us in the early ‘80s. It put us on the map throughout Texas and the Southern United States and perfectly positioned our brand when CRP was established in the mid-1980s. The program impacted us for the next three decades.
Just as there’s always a new growing season, our family continues to look forward. Brett joined us in 2010 and helped bolster our marketing with multi-faceted strategies. And in 2014, Austin came on board with in-depth knowledge of production. Austin now serves as Vice President of Bamert Seed. Under Austin’s guidance, our farms from Muleshoe were expanded to the Amarillo area, which has allowed us to increase production and branch out across the state. Because we harvest and produce in different areas, we are able to provide more local ecotype seeds to meet the needs of markets around the state. We’ve also started cleaning native local collections, which is an exciting part of the market that continues to develop.
Q: Bamert Seed has been a family-owned business since the beginning. In what ways has your family been involved over the years.
Nick Bamert: Our family has always prided itself on doing what needs to be done to get our seed to customers. Brett and Austin pitched in when they were growing up on the production side of things. They started driving tractors when they were 10 or 12 years old and were involved in the farming aspect of production. They would load trucks or whatever needed to be done after school or on Saturdays. When I was growing up, we had to make our own analysis tags with an old rotary printer. You filled it up with ink, and it printed the tags out. Even though it had a cutter on it, it wouldn’t be a clean cut through the ticket, so you had to tear them apart. In the evenings, we would be watching TV and tearing tags just to make sure an order scheduled for the next day would have all the necessary tags.
Q: What are some of Bamert’s biggest achievements that stand out, looking back over the past 70 years?
Nick Bamert: Our recent achievements in the past 10 years include adding an automated cleaning facility and expanding production in the Panhandle. Prior to that, we developed our own proprietary variety of Buffalo Grass called “Top Gun” 25 years ago, which created a unique niche in the market for us.
From a mission standpoint, I am proud of how in the past decade we went from providing seeds to the market based on what we produced to providing our customers with what they envision and help meet their project needs. I like that we’ve shifted our philosophy from “This is what we have,” to “Let’s help our customers be successful in planning and planting what they want to see on their project or property.” We’re not just offering what we’ve produced, it’s all about working everyday to meet the needs of our customers. We’ve got world-class team members who have expertise in helping our customers achieve their goals in ecological restoration and revegetation. That’s certainly not something we used to have, and I’m proud to say Bamert Seed has a level of knowledge to meet those challenges today.
Austin Bamert, Vice President: A: One thing that really stands out to me is the improvements we have made with customer relations. Brett and the sales team have created new ways of tracking customers and their needs, which has made a huge difference in our whole operation. We are now able to better serve our customers.
Q: What do you envision for the next 50 to 70 years? What’s your vision for Bamert Seed moving forward?
Brett Bamert: For Bamert Seed, it’s never been about just growing and selling seed. It’s been about caring for the land. And to do that, we have to continue to ensure our products are relevant to the regions we sell to. We may be a Muleshoe, Texas-company, but we want to always bring authority to our brand and propel the industry forward by pursuing opportunities to bring seed in that meets the needs of our customers. Bamert Seed wants to not only provide seed, but serve land managers and contractors as consultants and a resource to ensure their projects are successful by using the right seed, correct planting methods, and the right equipment. Our goal is to not only sell seed in the bags, but to sell seed and service together!
Q: Would you say that the Bamert Seed of today is living up to the legacy that Carl Bamert envisioned for it?
Nick Bamert: We work hard every day to have a sense of success that we’re making the right decisions to ensure that we’re better tomorrow than we were today. Our team constantly strives to offer higher quality seed and service day after day. That’s why I feel proud when I leave here every day. I know even if not everything necessarily went right today, I know we’re all a team on the same page and working toward the goals of tomorrow.
Austin Bamert: What started out as something my grandfather pursued himself has evolved into something much bigger than he probably had ever imagined. I think he would be most proud of the fact that he has three generations working to grow his legacy.
Brett Bamert: I believe Bamert Seed in 2021 is beyond his wildest dreams. I don’t think he ever realized it could become what it is today. His passion was agriculture—growing a variety of seeds, harvesting them, and getting them to the customer. To see his passion be so successful—and the people who were involved in making it that way—that’s what would impress him most.