Interview with Jeff Fassbender
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
At just 30 years old, Jeff Fassbender was elected president of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association (WSPIA) Board of Directors, in January 2020.
Holding that position at such a young age is not surprising considering Fassbender’s experience at Seidl Farms, Inc., in Deerbrook, Wisconsin, and what he has packed into his three-plus decades.
A respected certified seed potato operation, Seidl Farms has historic yet humble roots. Jeff’s grandfather, Frank Seidl, grew up on his own parents’ (Art and Evelyn Seidl) dairy farm in Bryant, Wisconsin, which also raised about 15 acres of table stock potatoes.
When he was 21 years old, in 1949, Frank planted and grew 20 acres of potatoes. For the next 30 years, he grew fresh and chipping potatoes, oats and clover, and in 1980, added certified seed potatoes.
Frank’s daughter, Peggy (Jeff’s mom), married Jim Fassbender, who had been working on the farm since he graduated from high school in 1976. Peggy continues to work as the farm’s secretary-treasurer.
Part of the fourth generation, Jeff joined the farm full-time, in 2010, after studying agribusiness at Fox Valley Technical College.
Now vice president of Seidl Farms, Jeff informs, “Today we grow 1,000 acres of potatoes, snap beans contracted through Seneca, barley contracted through Malt Europe, oats, field corn, clover and alfalfa.”
“I actually started on the farm when I was 12 years old, working during the summer months washing the warehouse and fixing boxes,” he says.