Bio Soil Enhancers
Business partners Lou Elwell and Wayne Wade are dramatically changing the agricultural industry throughout the U.S. and beyond. The co-founders of Bio Soil Enhancers (Bio Soil) have developed products containing SumaGrow, a game-changing product line that is saving farmers and even entire nations money, bettering the environment and delivering peace-of-mind to consumers.
The 100 percent, all-natural products promise an increase in crop yield while reducing and nearly eliminating the need for harmful fertilizers and pesticides, all while pumping up the nutrient levels in crops and soil. “The biggest problem we face is skepticism,” shares Lou, CEO of Bio Soil. “People think our product is too good to be true, so we need the data to back it up. We have put a lot of effort into generating an extensive amount of third-party research by universities, cooperatives and government organizations that all point to SumaGrow’s powerful capabilities.”
Microbial Magic and an Unexpected Niche
The not so secret ingredient in SumaGrow products is a proprietary blend of naturally occurring microbes. “The science behind what the microbes do is well-accepted,” explains Lou. “The trick is developing the capability to produce enough microbes to make a real difference in the field. The petri dish to the greenhouse is a jump, but the greenhouse to the field is a huge leap.”
After cultivating microbes for more than 20 years, Lou and Wayne were able to crack the formula in 2007 with assistance from researchers at Michigan State University. “About 95 percent of other products consist of only one microbe and about 90 percent of them don’t really work,” notes Lou. “Other microbial companies aren’t our competition, because their formulas just don’t provide the benefits we do; our biggest competitor is the fertilizer industry.” With the right formula, the pair’s unique idea allowed Lou and Wayne to set a plan in motion.
Lou and Wayne saw the opportunity at hand in the agricultural world, but didn’t realize the level of success SumaGrow would have in other markets. “Some markets – like golf courses, ballparks and cemeteries – popped up that we didn’t count on,” Lou reveals. “Most of the markets we now serve we didn’t expect in our original business plan.”
Lou goes on to note that when he and Wayne started developing SumaGrow, it was a one-size- fits-all product. “Now we’ve come out with some specialized products for specific applications and it’s taking off on a global scale,” he details.
The 25,000-square-foot Bio Soil plant is located in Hattiesburg, Miss.; however, the company is spreading the SumaGrow magic around the world. “We currently have 22 employees and we also own a conference center next door to our factory where we bring customers in for product training classes,” shares Lou.
From Africa to China and Vietnam to the Dominican Republic, SumaGrow products are helping farmers produce more, increasing crop and soil nutrient levels while using less polluting fertilizers. “We’ve done extensive field trials around the world,” adds Lou. “The combination of an increase in yield and at least a 50 percent reduction in fertilizer frequently doubles the bottom line profit of the farmer, which is a powerful tool for economic development in many developing countries.”
In 2012 SumaGrow was put to the test in over 500 trials in India alone. Lou is proud to note that he and Wayne couldn’t be any more pleased, as the company has seen some of the best results on record in Chinese field trails. “We saw a 30 percent increase in rice production and even greater yield increases in tea and wheat; those are game-changing results and the yield increase is only one of the product’s amazing benefits,” he explains.
In California’s field trials, the proof is in the profit. “We’ve done dozens of trials throughout the state and products containing SumaGrow have been approved by big names like Driscoll’s Berries, California Certified Organic Farmers and the California Leafy Greens Marketing Association,” shares Lou. “Holden Research, a prominent California field trial company, estimates that we’ve increased the profit-per-acre by $4,500 for green bell peppers and nearly $1,185 per acre for strawberries.”
Bio Soil has satisfied repeat users in nearly every state and has shipped product to over 40 countries. “Despite the proven results, regulatory approvals, especially foreign country import licenses, are the biggest obstacle to growth, with orders pending in at least 10 countries subject to obtaining import permits,” notes Lou.
The company has been deemed the second fastest growing manufacturing company in the country and No. 77 overall by Inc. Magazine. Additionally, Bio Soil was named the Grand Award Winner in the green category in Popular Science magazine’s Best of What’s New issue.
“We’re growing rapidly; triple digits in fact,” adds Lou. “The people who are using our product are getting phenomenal results.” Lou and Wayne are confident that Bio Soil Enhancers will truly change the playing field in the agricultural industry. With this duo at the helm, SumaGrow will continue delivering a win-win for farmers, consumers and the environment, all while growing at an amazing rate.