Agroplasma Inc.® is a Tempe, Ariz.-based sustainable and organic fertilizer supplier that was started by Sweden’s Hans Berglund in 2004 as a means to expedite his citizenship to the United States.
“Hans has one of those bucket lists lives that only one can dream of,” said Jeff Ziehmer, general manager of Agroplasma. “He started out as a professional musician, toured with members of ABBA, so his network was big. Eventually Hans morphed into a subscription music business like Columbia Records, but in Europe and had about 450,000 subscribers at the height of it.”
Berglund partnered with Tony Jimenez, a tech mogul who is behind the technology of Agroplasma, and today, the company is the exclusive sustainable and organic fertilizer supplier of Ferticell®, Europe’s leading line of plant nutrients for agriculture.
Hans Berglund, founder, Agroplasma
“We are an organic fertilizer manufacturer that provides a premium product,” Ziehmer said. “When you look at organic agriculture, you don’t have all the plant-health products that conventional has to reduce the impact of pest and keep yields. The fertility that we provide is an equalizer, rivaling that of conventional to boost production on a per-acre basis and gives the organic farmer an edge.”
The Ferticell® product line is a unique collection of plant nutrients and soil amendments for both conventional and organic agriculture. One of its top products is the Explorer™ portfolio, the first soy protein hydrolysate organic Nitrogen.
“We were the first soy protein hydrolysate in the U.S., and we continue to improve upon that product,” Ziehmer said. “We are at 16 percent nitrogen but in its infancy, we were at 13 percent.”
Couple that with Universal™ 0-0-1, the company’s highly concentrated solution of freshwater algae extract, this has given the company a great deal of notoriety in the produce industry.
Each year, Agroplasma brings new products to the organic fertilizer market, revolutionizing the organic and conventional agriculture industry. To date, it offers 13 organic products in more than 30 states. Their most recent accomplishment was releasing the first organically certified, liquid Nitrogen at 10 percent. By solubilizing their premier Explorer™ 16-0-0, Explorer™ Liquid 10-0-0 has afforded many growers a much easier option in the field for tank mixes and ease of use.
“We don’t rest on our laurels. Our chain of custody is proven,” Ziehmer said. “When it comes to the chain of custody, we go right back to our sister company and know where our product originates. We are not animal-based. We are plant and mineral based and don’t have any shortcuts that would harm the soil.”
Jeff Ziehmer, general manager, Agroplasma
A cornerstone of its manufacturing process is making sure that product goes out just as strong as it was made. Therefore, when it comes to packaging, every Agroplasma product is checked, wrapped, double taped and goes through plenty of care, so there are no issues when it gets to the farm.
“The biggest challenge the company deals with is regulatory issues. It varies from state to state, with the interpretations lacking consistency and oversite”, Ziehmer said. “From the pesticide side of things, there is federal oversite that provides the basis, but none for fertility.”
The Ferticell® product line best fits after the plant is up and running or established and anything organic fits in well.
“We are not a pre-plant fertility product,” Ziehmer said. “We like to work in conjunction with compost quite a bit, and things that our complementary to soil health. Once a plant is up and growing, that’s where we come in.”
He adds the reason produce companies and growers should work with Agroplasma is because it has a controlled system without worry of animal byproducts with high-quality products that can extend the shelf-life of produce. For example, in Arizona, melons are increasing shelf-life by utilizing one of three of Agroplasma’s calcium products.
Agroplasma is currently working on refining its processes and it has two new products slated for 2020, though up to four if possible.