Juergen Steininger, owner and operator of the famous Hollingsworth peony collection, hosted a press conference on September 5 with several renowned breeders in attendance from the midwest as he announced the acquisition of the peony seedling program and a cross section of the commercial program from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery, Avalon, WI.
This transaction, overseen by the USDA local office, will launch the Burlington Jct. area farmer onto the world-wide stage of premier peony production.
Steininger acquired the Don Hollingsworth peony business in 2013 at his operation southeast of Maryville. Then in 2016, the business came to the 80 acre farm northwest of Maryville, close to Burlington Jct.
The farm hosted some of the world renowned top peony hybridizers on September 5 to celebrate the acquisition announcement of the Wisconsin stock, which is known throughout the peony world. This transfer began with the truck’s arrival of hundreds of varieties which will more than double the varieties Steininger will grow for markets around the globe.
The Klehm legacy will be maintained and be made available to wholesale peony growers and other retail customers with the commercial program in the future.
Hollingsworth Peonies have committed to future peony breeding and continue to improve and expand their offerings from their stock. Within the next three years, there are plans to introduce dozens of new varieties from the Klehm’s and Don Hollingsworth programs.
Among those who were present at the farm, were representatives from American Daffodil Society, Hermann, American Peony Society, Ames, IA, and an elite trio of peony hybridizers including Tim Stanek, Glenwood, IA, Henry Chotkowski, Fayetteville, AR, and Don Hollingsworth, Maryville. Also in attendance were locals, Rebecca Giesken, Maryville postmaster, Rob Johnson, owner of North Missouri Auto Clinic, Burlington Jct., Jill Brown, Northwest Missouri State University, cattle herdsmen Stephen Thomson and Dalton Riley and media representatives, Joyce Cronin, Nodaway Broadcasting, and Kay Wilson, Nodaway News Leader, both of Maryville.
The breeding effort is following the mandalay cross method which allows for future progeny of the present traits of a wider pool of varieties. The USDA representative, Nathan Bilke, Nodaway County resource conservationist, noted Steininger is unique in his approach of conservation with water resources and rotation of grasslands.