Ah, to be a self-made man. Very few of us aspire to it. But the ones who do, are impressive. It's even better when it happens to one of "us", an Iowan, a man who grew on a farm in Adel, Iowa, and at five years old, he started driving a tractor to pick up straw bales.

That little boy is now a 79-year-old man and is currently estimated by Forbes to be worth $5.1 billion dollars. His name is Harry Stine and he is the definition of a self-made man. Stine thought big, and developed a business from what he knew and loved to do.

Credit: merschmanseeds via Youtube
Harry Stine - Credit: merschmanseeds via Youtube

Stine is the state's only billionaire and biggest landowner

According to Forbes, Stine is a "seed-genetics savant that has made a fortune licensing corn and soybean genetics to multinational companies like Monsanto and Syngenta." The company he founded, Stine Seed is one of the largest independent producers of genetically modified seeds.

Not coincidentally., Stine owns 15,000 acres of land in Iowa, also making him Iowa's largest landowner.

On a personal level, his father was what they call a "hardscrabble farmer", making a meager living farming on poor soil. This lead to Stine becoming fascinated with seeds when he was growing up. The "kicker" to all of this is, Harry is dyslexic and mildly autistic, but it doesn't hurt that he is also a math and data wiz.

The best part is, Harry's feet never left the ground. He's still a down-to-earth farm boy, who owns a small modest home, and drives his truck to work every day. Not surprisingly, is very active in philanthropy through The Giving Pledge.


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