Black Earth, which was founded in 1998, had an initial goal to develop high-grade humic products, primarily focused on large-volume production, supporting its agriculture, drilling, manufacturing partners and helping Black Earth dealers have a base humic product to create their own blends with.
However, over time there came the realization that to become successful partners and grow with the demand of the ag sector, more support and consultation on soil fertility issues were needed. This idea and through listening to end-users and growers, brought forward a new phase of Black Earth.
The introduction of the company’s humiZen product line in early 2020 marked a big step forward in the company’s ambitious goal to become an education leader in the humic space. The humiZen line boasts convenience and compatibility, helping to make farmland as fertile and productive as nature intended by promoting nutrient uptake, improving water retention, and providing available carbon to regenerate healthy soil.
Lindsay Westren, marketing and communications specialist, Black Earth Humic
“We’ve expanded our market to focus not only on engaging our dealers but focusing on the end user and what they need for their soils, such as nutrient-based blends—products that help increase the benefits for our end users,” said Lindsay Westren, marketing and communications specialist for the Calgary, Alberta-based company. “We’ve grown consistently over the years and continue to grow by listening to our customers and dealer partners.”
Black Earth’s range of Canadian-made humalite products are designed for everything from agricultural to industrial applications and built to help growers achieve their growth goals, increasing yields and allowing for stronger and healthier plants.
Currently, the company distributes to more than 45 countries globally and continues to see an increase in humic use as the popularity of both humic and the organic industry continue to grow.
“We really focus on the quality of our source material,” Westren said. “There are different source materials and deposits throughout the world; the quality of the material and the benefits one will see from the Alberta-based humalite product is going to be better because there’s a higher and more pure content of humic in our product.”
The company tests and validates all its products using the HPTA method, which detects more additives and different components of a humic product and allows the company to be more transparent with customers about what exactly they are putting in their soils and the results they can expect.
Peas treated with humiZen (left) vs peas untreated and planted two days earlier (right)
“We believe in the strength of our baseline products as well as our new humiZen line of high-value products,” said Chris Graham, general manager of Black Earth. “Together, coupled with our targeted processes, we are confident we have the best humic solution, and this is what will separate ourselves from our competition. Using the HPTA method of testing helps to substantiate our claims for our entire product line.”
The organization has historically focused on the agriculture and drilling industries, but when Graham came on board in the spring of 2019, he arrived with a strategic plan to provide more value and information in higher-value products. That has led to a great deal of growth.
“We’ve grown consistently over the years and continue to grow by listening to our customers and dealer partners.” -Lindsay Westren
“Our projections have accelerated quite significantly in the last couple of years, and the results are such that people are starting to find Black Earth more than they ever have before,” Graham said. “We’re no longer the great secret in the ag space; we want to be the well-told secret."
Opportunities for growth ahead in the humic space will follow the growth of the humic industry itself, which is projected to have a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 13 percent of the next 5-8 years.
“We’re hoping to outpace that by double,” Graham said. “We have the luxury of having the best source in the world. We want to use that as a platform to then also create the education source of humic as well.”
Chris Graham, general manager, Black Earth Humic
Along those lines, Black Earth has a pretty comprehensive education plan that it’s rolling out with some of its premier partners.
“There’s a lot of misinformation in the world about humic, its uses and applications,” Graham said. “Our team wants to differentiate Black Earth from that disinformation and help support our partners in all the different industries we collaborate with and service.”
That’s why Black Earth champions its “Show your Grow” program, which encourages people to show their real-life results to express the value of humic.
Graham noted one of the important things for organic growers to understand is humic is not a replacement for fertilizer, rather it’s a soil conditioner or enhancer that stabilizes the organics and the pH balance in the soil and increases the uptake of nitrogen in the plants.