Eastern Shore farmers sought for free fertilizer trials from F3 company

For Holganix, providing cutting edge fertilizer is more than a business model. It’s also a way to grow larger crops with less contaminate runoff into area waterways.

With the help of the F3 Tech Accelerator Program, Holganix is now seeking Eastern Shore corn and soy farmers to take part in a free fertilizer trial of their Holganix Bio 800+ product.

The fertilizer is a “microbial technology that harnesses the power of over 800 species of soil microbes and other soil amending ingredients to promote greater crop production and plant health. The product is currently used on more than 1 million acres of farmland in the U.S., with customers in nearly every state,” Holganix said in a product statement.

Holganix will select 10 farmers for the free trial and provide product for up to 100 acres of crops for seven months.

“We spent about two months with F3 identifying how we might go to a trial with the region,” said Barrett Ersek, Holganix founder and CEO. “We discussed what incentives to make that happen and how we would target potential participants. We started to build data in agriculture back in 2016 when we first started working in the Midwest.”

Return on investment

The Ashton, Pa.-based Holganix, which received $20,000 in funding for marketing and mentoring from F3 Tech, is already seeing positive results in crop yields through its probiotic technology.

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Thus far, the product has garnered it share of praise.

Holganix Bio 800+ was the among the winners of the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge.

“It’s exciting to see all the ground and agricultural land that we could be part of to improve soil and plant health,” Ersek said. “This also helps the farmer be the steward to the waterways by helping to sequester the nitrates and phosphates into waterways. Helping water quality, soil quality and farmers on Delmarva is a passion.”

Ersek added his ideal results through the trial would be farmers learning they could use a Holganix microbial inoculant at or close to feeding in line with their starter fertilizer. There is no need for extra applications or additional passed over their field.

By observing the germination benefits, they could see earlier rooting. By midway through the season in June or July, they would dig up some plants treated with the Holganix fertilizer and those not and compare the root difference.

Results could include four to five times the root mass that could “hold up better to storms and high wind, and have much better access to water and nutrients,” Ersek said.

Previous samples of plants indicate Holganix Bio 800+ create plants with more root mass as seen on the right with no extra work on trial fields of soy.

Previous samples of plants indicate Holganix Bio 800+ create plants with more root mass as seen on the right with no extra work on trial fields of soy.

The challenge is part of a USDA-EPA partnership to advance agricultural sustainability in the U.S. and recognize technologies that improve the efficiency of fertilizers to increase crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment.

“Investing in the adoption and distribution of technology that aids Eastern Shore farmers is a major focus for us as we help to diversify the success of local agriculture,” said Chris Hlubb, Program Director for F3 Tech.

F3 also recently announced the fifth company selected as part of its 2021 portfolio, with 5Metis named the winner.

Founded in 2021, 5Metis uses the technology platforms of two leading agricultural technology companies, Boragen and AgriMetis, to combine boron-based small molecule discovery and synthetic biology for discovering new modes of action for crop protection.

The company, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, just raised $10 million from investors in an oversubscribed Series A Preferred Stock financing round. As part of 5Metis’ involvement in the F3 Tech Accelerator, the program is expediting commercial outreach and partnerships for the company.

The F3 Tech Accelerator Program is an initiative of the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center. It provides funding and support for early-stage companies to prepare them for potential investment from the future F3 Tech Seed Fund, industry partners and investors.

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This article originally appeared on Salisbury Daily Times: Shore farmers sought for free fertilizer trials from F3 company