Potato Grower

September 2019

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Page 17 of 39

Every company in every industry claims to be innovative. Even those who market themselves as espousing old-school values or tried-and-true products have a vested interest to show their customers and the public how forward-thinking they are in their products and practices. For the folks at Actagro, innovation is infused into everything they do; it's not just talk. The company was founded in 1981 in Fresno, Calif., where it is still headquartered. Over the years—and particularly in the last decade—that innovation has fueled phenomenal growth. In 2008, Actagro opened a new production facility in Osceola, Ark., to better supply a growing customer base in the eastern U.S. Sales have expanded into Australia, Europe and Asia. In April 2019, the company opened the Actagro Technology and Innovation Center, known to employees simply as the ATIC, the crown jewel of what Actagro has come to stand for. It's not that Actagro discovered or invented some fancy new material. In fact, leonardite, the soft, black, carbon-based mineral from which Actagro's products are extracted, has been used by the plant and soil health industry for decades as a source of humic and fulvic acid products. What the company has done is extract more out of that leonardite than anyone has ever been able to. The industry standard is to extract fulvic and humic acid, which leaves behind roughly 50 percent of the raw material. Actagro has made its name based on a patented process whereby it also extracts humin, utilizing upwards of 85 percent of the raw leonardite ore. Once the humin is extracted, it goes through six more extractions, which result in dark black liquid solutions called Actagro Organic Acids. "There are five main areas where we have products and are doing research," says John Breen, senior director of research and development. "They are nutrient efficiency, nutrient management, soil health, plant biostimulants and stress mitigation. Supporting all that is new chemistry. The core of all our research and product development is the soil." The purpose of Actagro products isn't Actagro's innovation makes growers more efficient Not Your Fertilizer Granddaddy's Actagro anticipates its newly christened Technology & Innovation Center will accelerate the company's already impressive track record of science-based innovation. Actagro products are created in large holding tanks at the facility in Biola, Calif. 18 POTATO GROWER | SEPTEMBER 2019

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