A San Joaquin seed company is doing big things all around the world. From California to Australia, it produces more than 30 different alfalfa seed varieties.
Now it’s breeding a new plant to bring a healthy alternative to sugar to the marketplace.
“S&W Seed company was founded in 1980, by the Sovero Brothers, that’s the S in S and W, out of Five Points California and they wanted to develop high quality feed for their livestock,” said Mark Grewal, President & CEO of S&W Seed Company.
Grewal said that alfalfa seeds can be found in everything from the hay cows eat to the clothing we wear. He said the San Joaquin Valley is the premier seed production area, and it’s the fourth largest crop in the world and No. 2 in California.
“It’s very important; it’s the highest protein crop in the world. It’s the building block for dairy cows — every dairy cow in the state of California by the number eats at least 8 pounds of alfalfa hay per day — every day of its life,” Grewal said.
Grewal said after years of hard work, the business sprouted into a worldwide public company.
“Sanw on Nasdaq produces 20 to 25 percent of the proprietary seed needs on the globe,” he said.Grewal, a Fresno native, earned his agronomy degree from Fresno State.
“It’s a privilege to see the team grow — to become a chief executive officer of a public company is quite an honor in itself, he said.” And he said while the seed company produces one of the highest quality alfalfa seeds in the world, it’s now taking on a healthy alternative to sugar — Stevia plants.
“What you want is this leaf, and we’re going to process the ingredients that roboticizes inside that leaf and extract them, Grewal said. “Once we extract them you’ll have a process that will go into a liquid, powder or granular and then you’ll take that into table top or in a different processes into sodas and stuff to replace sugar.”
The Stevia plant is the first of its kind to grow in the U.S. and it’s currently undergoing research and development in a top secret location.
Grewal said the company has four varieties that are in the process of being trademarked.
“This is zero calories, zero glycemic index — indigenous to parent way and it’s natural, so for the diabetic market alone it’ll be a breakthrough,” he said.The company expects to have a Stevia variety patented in six months.