«Why not to sell our seeds directly to growers but not to a distributor?»
Clément Létourneau well known for his innovative ideas and their practical implementation nourished the idea of building a seed plant to provide local farmers with seeds.
Clément Létourneau together with his son André and his wife Marie-Claire Bourgeois founded Semences Prograin Inc., specializing in the production, cleaning and sale of wheat, oat and barley seeds.
One day, Mr. Létourneau met a local livestock feed producer who was looking for roasted soybean seeds.
Thanks to the ingenuity of his son Andre and his wife’s support, Clément Létourneau began constructing the plant. He built the silos, purchased the necessary equipment and a roaster for soybeans. This was the beginning of the "soybean passion", the realization of a dream, which no one in Quebec could even think of.
The Létourneau’s passion for soybeans was contagious. Growing and then using soybeans in Québec underwent staggering growth. Semences Prograin then acquired a team. Alain Létourneau joined Semences Prograin after graduating from college and getting a marketing degree.
— the Beginning of Own Breeding —
Soybeans became an increasingly popular crop replacing cereals, and Prograin decided to invest in research for the first time. A better understanding of soybean management and the best production techniques became a priority. In collaboration with Agriculture Canada and MAPAQ, a research program was defined and started.
— the Beginning of Work with Japan Food Soybean Market —
Semences Prograin had been developing very rapidly since 1983. In a year, the company’s sales were increased by 10 times. In 1987, there was a new breakthrough - Semences Prograin started exporting its products to Europe and Japan. That is when Patrick-Marc Ham became a part of the Prograin family which significantly contributed to the development of those markets.
Clément Létourneau is inducted in the prestigious Québec agriculture Hall of Fame:
- For his innovative approach, which enabled him to play a decisive role in the highly specialized domain of soybean farming;
- For his innovative business sense, which opened the doors to the Canadian and international markets;
- For his creation of the first research centre for the development and improvement of soybeans genetics in Québec.
Semences Prograin became the first seed company in Canada, which introduced a seed preliminary preparation system. This innovation won the award of the year at the agricultural exhibition in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec.
In 2000, Patrick-Mark Ham was a finalist and holder of the "Export 2000" prize for high achievements in the development of Canadian agriculture at a competition organized by the relevant Ministry.
From 2001 to 2005, thanks to the construction of additional silos, the storage capacity of raw soybean increased by 10,000 tons.
In order to satisfy the growing demand for its products, the company adds a second cleaning line for commercial soybeans.
Semences Prograin invested $ 1.3 million in the construction of new research facilities.
In the fall of 2011, the second important investment was the construction of a new warehouse for storage of ready-made seeds with an area of 1,700 m2.
The increased producers’ demand for the treated and inoculated seeds motivated our decision to invest more than a million dollars in the construction of a new treatment line. The state-of-the-art and advanced equipment allows us to independently treat seeds and fully control the production period and the quality of the final products.