State Historical Marker Commemorates Iconic DEKALB Winged Ear Symbol

Thursday September 17, 2015


DeKalb, Ill.
"The DEKALB brand is recognized globally as a leading innovator, continuing to introduce advanced technologies to help farmers maximize their yield and profitability."

DEKALB, IL (Sept. 17, 2015) – Eighty years ago, one of the most widely-recognized symbols in agriculture was created.  The famous “winged ear” logo of DEKALB® corn first made its debut in 1935 with the slogan, "DeKalb Quality Hybrids Will Be Your Mortgage Lifter." 

The brand’s historic symbol was commemorated this week with placement of an Illinois state historical marker at Memorial Park in DeKalb, Illinois, by the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA). Over the years, the internationally recognized symbol has undergone many design enhancements from the original concept. But the iconic image of a flying ear of corn remains.

“The DEKALB winged ear is a global symbol that represents innovation in seed technology and agricultural marketing. It has also helped make the city of DeKalb, Illinois, known around the world,” said Larry Mix, DAAHA president, who also serves as Monsanto’s Germplasm IP Stewardship Lead. “The DEKALB brand is recognized globally as a leading innovator, continuing to introduce advanced technologies to help farmers maximize their yield and profitability.”

In addition to Mix, speakers at the historical marker dedication included Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard, DeKalb Mayor John Rey, DeKalb Park District Board President Phil Young, Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director William Furry, Doug Roberts, the grandson of DeKalb Ag founder Tom Roberts Sr., and local DEKALB representative, Mark Delhotal.

“It is an honor to have the DEKALB winged ear logo displayed in a prominent location in the City of DeKalb, Illinois,” said Mayor Rey. “Having been home to the corporate headquarters of the DeKalb Agricultural Association and successive companies, it is fitting to have this commemorative display in this community. The DEKALB winged ear continues to be known worldwide as the symbol of productivity to farmers and many city folk.”

The history of the DEKALB brand actually began several years before the debut of the winged ear symbol.  In 1912, a group of innovative farmers, bankers and county officials formed the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association, in DeKalb, Illinois, from which the DeKalb Agricultural Association with its DEKALB seed brand later emerged as a separate business and research enterprise.

In 1998 Monsanto purchased DEKALB Genetics Corporation and now proudly owns the DEKALB brand and the famed winged ear logo. Today the DEKALB brand and the logo are legally registered as trademarks of Monsanto in more than 80 countries worldwide.

The marker is the fifth in a series of state historical markers that DAAHA is placing to recognize significant ag innovations that have come from the DeKalb area and northern Illinois.  A special exhibit also marks the logo’s 80th anniversary. “The Winged Ear: Origin and Evolution of a Global Classic” is open through next spring at DAAHA’s gallery at 111 S 2nd Street, Suite 204 in DeKalb.  For more information visit

About Monsanto Company

Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: and Follow our business on Twitter® at, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.



DEKALB and Design® and DEKALB® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. ©2015 Monsanto Company.

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The DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association (DAAHA) placed an Illinois state historical marker at Memorial Park in DeKalb, Illinois, Wednesday to mark the 80th anniversary of DEKALB corn's famous winged-ear logo, one of the most recognized symbols in agriculture. Among the participating dignitaries were DAAHA president Larry Mix (far right); DeKalb Mayor John Rey (front row wearing hat); and Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard (front row wearing tie).