About

We are Family

On the surface, Kelley Bean is an employee and family owned company founded in 1927 that processes and sells the dry edible beans which are sourced directly from its local community of grower partnerships.

But beneath the standard company bio, we are something more.

Invested in Relationships

There is a humanity to our work where care and concern for our growers, our employees, and our customers is likened to that of an extended family.  

We have a strong commitment to quality and safety and their relation to the Kelley family name and the family names of our employees.  There is a rare authenticity here where trust, reliability, history, and values still hold meaning.  

We choose our relationships carefully as the investment in our relationships represents long term thinking – long term thinking over generations.  

We invest in the numerous small communities around the country we call home and our employees wear such hats as mayor, city councilman, Chamber of Commerce President, and hospital board member among others.

Safely & Affordably
Feeding the World

Agriculture is the root of our success and our employees provide the strength for our continued growth. The success of our customer is the fruit of our labor. We are dedicated to safely and affordably feeding the World, our community, and you.

Kelley Family History

Kelley Bean traces its roots back to the founding of the Chester B. Brown company in 1927 where Robert L. Kelley Sr. was plant manager of the Morrill, Nebraska facility.  In the early 1940’s, Robert Kelley was promoted to President of the company, a position he held until 1969.  

In 1970, Robert L. Kelley Sr. left Chester B. Brown to form Kelley Bean Company.  His son’s Gary, and later Bob, joined him to help run the family’s new business.  

In 1982, under Gary Kelley’s leadership, the Kelley Bean and Chester B. Brown companies merged to form a reunited Kelley Bean Co., Inc.  

In 2006, under Bob Kelley’s leadership, Kelley Bean acquired ConAgra’s dry bean operations.  Eleven other acquisitions over the years have formed one of the largest originators and processors of dry beans in the U.S.  

Today, a third generation led by Kevin Kelley, is in place and poised to grow the company well into the future.  Ask any of the Kelleys and they will tell you that none of this would have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the world’s best group of employees and growers.

Kelley Bean Company - through the years

We have come a long way. Enjoy a trip back in time as we look at how far we have come since our humble beginnings in 1927. 

Here are some of the significant events that have shaped our company into what it is today– One of the largest originators and processors of dry beans in the U.S.

1927
Chester B. Brown Co. Founded
Old pic of outside of the Chester B. Brown Co

Chester B. Brown Co. is founded with Robert L. Kelley Sr. as a key employee.

1938
Robert L. Kelley Sr. becomes General Manager
Robert L Kelley Sr

Robert L. Kelley Sr. becomes General Manager of Chester B. Brown Company.

1938
First Electric Eyes Machine
Old pic of the Electric Eyes from ESM

Chester B. Brown Company leases the first Electric Eyes from ESM (Electric Sorting Machine Company.) These were the first eyes in the bean industry West of the Mississippi. The technology was so advanced that ESM would not sell the eyes, only lease them.

1941
Robert L. Kelley Sr. becomes President

Robert L. Kelley Sr. was promoted to President (and General Manager) of Chester B. Brown Company.

1946
First Cello-Pak Machine
Bagged dry beans Brown's best.

First Cello-Pak retail packaging machine purchased.

1952
Scottsbluff Bean & Elevator

Acquisition of Scottsbluff Bean & Elevator.

1953
Idaho seed facilities

Acquisition of seed facilities in Idaho.

1960
Gary L. Kelley joins

Gary L. Kelley joined the Chester B. Brown Company.

1969
Robert L. Kelley Sr. leaves

Robert L. Kelley Sr. leaves Chester B. Brown Co. after 42 years.

Kelley Bean Company Begins
1969
Kelley Bean Co. Founded

Robert L. Kelley Sr. & Gary L. Kelley found Kelley Bean Co. in Henry, NE.

1971
Gary L. Kelley becomes President

Gary L. Kelley becomes President of Kelley Bean Co.

1972
Robert L. Kelley Jr. joins

Robert L. Kelley Jr. joins Kelley Bean Co.

1978-79
Harpstreith Plants

Acquisition of Harpstreith plants in Mitchell, NE and Lyman, NE.

1982
Chester B. Brown Co.

Acquisition of Chester B. Brown Co. and merge into Kelley Bean Co.

1983
Employee Stock Ownership Program

Kelley Bean launches their Employee Stock Ownership Program.

1986
Farr, Wyoming Co and Farmers Elevator

Acquisition of Farr, Wyoming Co and Farmers Elevator.

1989
McBride Warehouse, Elmore Bean and Nebraska Elevator

Acquisition of McBride Warehouse, Elmore Bean and Nebraska Elevator.

1992
Deaver Grain

Acquisition of Deaver Grain.

1997
Prairie Products Elevator

Acquisition of Prairie Products Elevator.

1998
Robert L. Kelley Jr. becomes President

Robert L. Kelley Jr. becomes President of Kelley Bean Co.

2000
Michigan Sales Office

Establishment of the Michigan Sales Office.

2005
ConAgra Foods

Acquisition of KBC Trading & Processing, a division of ConAgra Foods.

2006
Cuba Export

Kelley Bean makes first export sale to Cuba since the late 1950's.

2010
P.A.S.S System

Kelley Bean launches internally developed P.A.S.S. System - a GFSI certified food safety and quality system.

2011
Kevin L. Kelley becomes President

Kevin L. Kelley becomes President of Kelley Bean Co. to lead the third generation into the future.

2015
Yellowstone Bean Company

Acquisition of Yellowstone Bean Company.

FROM FARM, THROUGH FAMILY, TO YOU;
WE ARE KELLEY BEAN