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OPN Connect Newsletter 271 · June 2, 2022

Penny Newman: A One-Stop Shop for Organic Growers’ Input Needs


In 2016, Penny Newman Grain Company launched its Farm Products division, which offers a comprehensive array of crop inputs for both conventional and organic growers.

 

“We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop, meaning we carry a source of every macro and micronutrient of which a grower may find themselves in need,” says Matt Nicoletti, director of business development for Penny Newman. “We sell organic fertilizers and soil amendments direct-to-grower and provide the logistical support and services to which large-scale commercial producers have grown accustomed. Additionally, we’re one of the few vendors in California to offer sap analysis, including the field sampling services.”

Global Organics Aug 2022

Matt Nicoletti, Director of Business Development, Penny Newman

Originally founded as an agricultural dry goods store in 1878, over time Penny Newman expanded to become a grain trading, feed manufacturing/merchandising, and supply chain logistics company. Farm Products is Penny Newman’s newest division and was created “with an emphasis on bringing innovative and regenerative crop inputs to market at scale,” says Nicoletti.

“We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop, meaning we carry a source of every macro and micronutrient of which a grower may find themselves in need.” – Matt Nicoletti

Chelan Aug 2022

When it comes to its input offerings, Penny Newman has “a very rigorous vetting process to ensure that we’re only offering the best formulations of each nutrient source,” Nicoletti says. “This is optimized for cost and yield, but we also ensure that these sources don’t adversely affect soil health or create imbalances as would be the case with high-salt nutrient sources, for example.”

In addition to nutrient products, Penny Newman offers a wide variety of soil amendments, biostimulants, and biologicals, which Nicoletti says “not only enhance the efficiency of our nutrients but also make incremental improvements to soil health and soil structure over time. The goal is to create a better what we call ‘supporting system’—i.e., soil structure and microbiome—that cycles and mobilizes nutrients much more effectively and suppresses pathogens to the extent that the need for supplemental nutrients and crop protection products are materially reduced over time.”

Penny Newman on-farm gypsum delivery

Misionero Aug 2022

Penny Newman is a major player in the California supply chain of gypsum, an important soil amendment for both organic and conventional growers. “With our parent company’s core competencies in bulk supply chain logistics, we were well positioned to help develop the rail-based program that now serves as the primary source for ag gypsum being brought into California,” says Nicoletti. “This supply chain-based efficiency allows us to be the most competitive source of high-quality dihydrate gypsum in the state of California.” 

In addition to nutrient products, Penny Newman offers a wide variety of soil amendments, biostimulants, and biologicals, which Nicoletti says “not only enhance the efficiency of our nutrients but also make incremental improvements to soil health and soil structure over time."

Two of Penny Newman’s newer fertility offerings include the Aqua-Yield NanoShield Technology product line and Coriphol by Corigin, both of which have only been available in California for a couple of years.

Cal-Organic Aug 2022

“Aqua-Yield is commercializing nanotechnology out of the University of Utah for agriculture that has been used in medicine for decades,” says Nicoletti. “Their products are all built upon a silicate nanoparticle that ‘loads’ tens of thousands of nutrient ions or active molecules per particle and delivers them more effectively into the plant. This works for both fertility and crop protection-based products through multiple modes of action, but, simply put, Aqua Yield’s products dramatically eliminate product waste and maximize efficiency. There’s not a liquid or dry soluble product on the market with which they’re not compatible, and the price point and simplicity make it the easiest and most effective tool we’ve identified to help growers eliminate their plant absorption problems and reduce the volume of inputs necessary for optimum production.”

Omni Crop Care launch at OGS 2021

Aqua-Yield’s organic line, Omni Crop Care, just became available at the end of last year, and Penny Newman was the first distributor to receive access to the products. “Our official launch announcement was done at OPN’s Organic Grower Summit in December,” says Nicoletti.

“There’s not a liquid or dry soluble product on the market with which [Aqua-Yield’s products are] not compatible, and the price point and simplicity make it the easiest and most effective tool we’ve identified to help growers eliminate their plant absorption problems and reduce the volume of inputs necessary for optimum production.” – Matt Nicoletti

Vitalis

Coriphol by Corigin is an OMRI Listed organic liquid plant growth enhancer. “It harnesses the power of plants’ natural immune systems to mitigate stress and, in turn, enhance yield and quality,” says Nicoletti. “Coriphol is manufactured by way of running almond shells (their only ingredient) through a pyrolysis process (super high heat in absence of oxygen) to break down the shells’ lignin structures into a liquid that is rich in phenolic compounds.”

Nicoletti explains that plants can actually produce these phenolic compounds enzymatically themselves when under stress; however, he notes that this activity “requires a metabolic and structural compromise through which energy is directed toward surviving rather than growing and reproducing—i.e., producing marketable yield.” In other words, when a plant synthesizes these phenols itself, it comes at a cost.

Penny Newman Farm Products tanker loading

“Coriphol effectively supplements these phenols without requiring that stress response or metabolic compromise,” Nicoletti explains. “Corigin has some amazing data on increased yield and quality from programs that incorporate Coriphol, even with upwards of 50 percent reduction in fertilizer loads—and these are the exact kind of results we’re seeing in our field trials.” 

Penny Newman Fresno facility

Looking ahead, Nicoletti says Penny Newman will keep growing its Farm Products division. “We plan to continue investing in our ability to bring our products and solutions to a larger network of growers,” he says. “This is a capex-heavy endeavor as the level of service to which growers are accustomed requires both infrastructure and personnel, so there is a direct correlation between the demand one is servicing and the assets necessary to serve it.”

Stemilt Aug 2022

“Corigin has some amazing data on increased yield and quality from programs that incorporate Coriphol, even with upwards of 50 percent reduction in fertilizer loads—and these are the exact kind of results we’re seeing in our field trials.” – Matt Nicoletti

As part of this investment, Penny Newman recently acquired and has been renovating a 10-acre fertilizer storage and manufacturing plant in Hanford, California. “It’s a very strategic asset with direct rail access, dry and liquid mixing capabilities, and approximately 2 million gallons of liquid storage,” says Nicoletti.