The Green Side of Success – From a compost project in Idaho to Best of State and a world record in corn production in Virginia and Georgia, Cal VanDyke has truly mastered the green side of success with his business, Black Dirt Organics. Five years ago, Cal did work on a project in Idaho that required a good amount of compost testing. While the project proved to be unsuccessful, the research from it is what fueled the beginnings of Cal’s new company, Black Dirt Organics.
During the time of the Idaho project, Cal found a source that was high in organic acids, which are a very important component when it comes to plant growth. As a result of his research, Cal came up with an idea that would allow him to extract these acids without the use of harsh chemicals, like brown coal, which are bad for plants. “Ours is a fresh source which is easier on the plant,” says Cal.
Black Dirt Organics extracts nutrients from compost in a liquid form using a patented process that is highly effective in plant-growing . The product has been tested against Miracle Gro and proven to be more effective in plant production in addition to being half the cost and chemical-free. While the target of the business is mass agriculture, it is also effective on a smaller scale. From beautiful flower beds to mass-producing vegetable gardens, Black Dirt Organics provides a higher rate of plant growth in any setting.
As with any new business, when Black Dirt Organics was just starting out, it was finding it difficult to get funding. It needed the basics. The product needed further testing, credit needed building and marketing was a necessity. That’s when Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund agreed to provide Black Dirt Organics with the money that it needed, seeing Cal’s idea as one that showed a lot of promise. UMLF is a Community Development Financial Institution whose mission is to provide funding and management assistance to Utah’s new and existing entrepreneurs who cannot access traditional sources of funding. According to Cal, “The UMLF loaned us money when no one else would; they believed in us when no one else did, and that allowed us to grow.”
Today, as a result of getting funding, along with a vote of confidence and a highly effective product, Black Dirt Organics has set two world records in corn production over the last two years in Virginia and Georgia. It allows private labeling of its products, with three companies taking advantage of this and an expansion to California in the works. It also plans to double its sales this coming year, and farmers are gaining more confidence in its product than ever.
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