Latham’s Sandie Johnson Retires After 43 Years in the Seed Industry

From sunflowers to kidney beans to soybeans and corn, Sandie Johnson says her 43 years in the ag industry has treated her well.

She was just 25 years old when she started in the sunflower research department for SIGCO Research in Breckenridge, Minn. In the fall, she worked in the fields, collecting moisture samples for testing. In the winter, she threshed sunflower heads one by one, putting the seeds in envelopes for planting.

“It was hard, monotonous work,” says Sandie, who is retiring from Latham Seeds after 12 years of working with farmers and dealers.

A knack for numbers and an interest in accounting took Sandie to the accounts payable department at SIGCO, where, among other things, she tracked all capital purchases. When SIGCO was bought by Mycogen Seeds, she moved to a different department (SVO) that contracted with farmers to grow high oleic oil sunflowers — and was happy to continue working with growers through delivery, billing and settlements for their crops throughout the season.

The purchase of a lake house in 1994 an hour away prompted Sandie and her husband to relocate.

Her new job was as an office “floater” at the hospital in Fergus Falls, Minn. It only took six months for her to realize how much she missed working in the ag industry.

“It was the same thing every flippin’ day!” Sandie says of the hospital position. “I couldn’t do it.”

She accepted an opening at Prairie Bean Co., (a division of ConAgra) and focused her attention on processing kidney beans. And then in 1996, Sandie moved to Wisconsin to be the office manager at Brown Seed Farms. As a small company, she handled everything in the office – from seed orders, shipments, returns, account receivables, payments and settlements, payroll and accounts payable. Thirteen years later, when Brown Seed was sold to NuTech Seed, she relocated to Forest City, Iowa and continued to work with the dealer network that also moved to NuTech.

“Then one of the RSMs I worked with at NuTech went to Latham Seeds,” Sandie says. “He told me they needed someone and I was interested in working with a family-owned business again.”

That was in 2011, when Sandie accepted a seed account manager position at Latham. She worked with farmer-dealers for several regions for 10 years until December 2022, when she moved into the finance department — again relying on her knack for numbers and accounting experience.

“I’ve been so lucky that I’ve always enjoyed who I worked for in this industry,” Sandie says. “I’ve loved working in agriculture every minute. It’s been very good to me.”

The unexpected death of her son-in-law earlier this year made Sandie reevaluate her future. In many ways the tragedy brought her and her children closer together. But it was a life-changing event that she simply couldn’t ignore.

“Going through it, we saw the value in each other,” Sandie says. “And while I love what I do – my job and the people I work with – I love my family more.”

Sandie and her husband, Todd, live in Forest City with their two dogs: Zuzu, a 15-year-old puggle, and Stella, a one-year-old Dalmatian. Dogs

She has two children, two stepchildren and six grandchildren. Sandie’s an avid baseball fan (especially of the Minnesota Twins) and loves participating in community theatre, which she’s done for most of her adult life in several states.

Her plans after retirement?

“I intend to do my best to be fully present and enjoy every minute I can with family and friends.”

In honor of her time at Latham Seeds, Sandie is sharing a recipe for the dish she has always brought to the annual holiday potluck.

Cheesy Creamed Corn


3 – 16 oz package frozen corn kernels

1 – 8 oz & 1 – 3 oz package of cream cheese

3 T water

3 T milk

2 T sugar

6 slices American cheese cut into small pieces



Combine all ingredients in crock pot, cover & cook 4-6 hours on low (I start it on high for 1 hour)

Stir as needed.

Serves a bunch!