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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Brandt founder was a pioneer in the field of liquid fertilizer

Glen Albert Brandt was the quintessential entrepreneur and a true pioneer in the field of liquid fertilizer. 

In 1953, he founded the company that eventually became Brandt, a leader in the agricultural and turf fertilizer markets, and that in 2014 acquired Grigg.

Brandt died June 7 in Springfield, Illinois. He was 94.

060920brandt2.jpgA native of Farmingdale, Illinois, Brandt was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy, and parents Albert and Margaret. Survivors include sisters Evelyn Brandt Thomas and Shirley Brandt Hagen, son Rick (Kristie) and daughter Terri Gustafson (Tom), four grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and cousins and special care giver, Janet Zeigler. 

He founded the forerunner to Brandt 67 years ago when at age 27 he began custom-applying anhydrous ammonia for local farmers.

Before his days as an entrepreneur, Brandt briefly attended Springfield Junior College in his native Illinois before enlisting in the U.S. Merchant Marines in 1944. He returned home after three years of service to help his father farm and soon after was drafted into the Army in 1950. After serving two years in the infantry in Korea he received an honorable discharge and returned to Pleasant Plains to continue farming with his father.

Starting in 1953, he led a line of companies that would become Brandt Inc. From Brandt & Gardner Gas Station to Brandt’s Fertilizer Service to Brandt Chemical Co. to Brandt Consolidated Inc., He presided over the company’s rapid growth and set a vision for the future. In 1986, at age 60, he stepped aside as CEO of Brandt’s Fertilizer Service and Brandt Chemical Co., to serve as chairman of the board. In 1990, Brandt oversaw the formation of Brandt Consolidated Inc., the company that became Brandt Inc. in January.

G.B., as he was known by his friends, was an active leader in the agrochemical industry. He served as the president of the National Fertilizer Solutions Association in 1972. The NFSA later spawned the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation, before becoming part of the Ag Retailers Association. In 2000, BRANDT was named Ag Retailer of the Year by the Ag Retailers’ Association and Ag Retailer magazine. In 2007, the ARA gave Glen its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

in 2015, G.B., along with sister Evelyn, was named the Illinois State Ag Ambassador. A patron of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, charter member of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and a member of the development committee for Lincoln Land Community College, G.B. was always visible and charitable toward his community. He was also a licensed pilot. In his youth he was a founding member of the band Boogie Woogie Brandt and the Barrelhouse Boys.

G.B. remained active in the agricultural business that bears his name until his passing. He was a vocal member of the Brandt Board of Directors, serving as a consultant the past several years. In addition, he was heavily involved in a number of other related Ag companies as an owner and a board member including Springfield Plastics, TradeMark Nitrogen and Precision Tank, which is now part of Precision Build.

Memorial donations may be made to The Brandt Foundation, or mail to Brandt Global Headquarters, 2935 S. Koke Mill Road, Springfield, IL 62711.

Edited by John Reitman

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