Harry Stine of Adel-based Stine Seed was named to the Forbes 400, the business magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Stine, who is now 81, is ranked 76th on the list with a real-time net worth of $9.7 billion.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, topped the list once more, with a net worth of $251 billion. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos beat out Oracle CTO and co-founder Larry Ellison for second place.
Stine, a father of four, grew up in Adel, a hamlet of about 6,000 people near Des Moines, as the son of a farmer. He still drives his Ford F-150 pickup to Stine Seed’s offices and lives in a modest house just down the road.
According to Forbes, Iowa’s richest guy and single billionaire enjoys table tennis and mushroom hunting. But the central Iowa native built his riches in the most straightforward way possible: with seed money.
Stine amassed billions of dollars by breeding soybeans and corn and then leasing the genetics to firms like Syngenta and Monsanto. The self-made billionaire began farming at the age of five.
In the mid-1990s, Forbes said that Stine “struck highly lucrative licensing deals with large multinational corporations across the globe, which form the backbone of his empire.”