3Bar Biologics Delivers New Microbial Solutions for Sustainable Farming
3Bar Biologics believes in the value of bugs—living microbes that help farmers produce more food—efficiently, sustainably, and cost-effectively.
The Ohio-based company is a microbe delivery and manufacturing innovator with technology and expertise that helps farmers improve how they grow food.
“We are in a very good place right now,” said Bruce Caldwell, CEO and Founder. “We have had a strong start to our fourth fiscal year of doubling revenue each year—growing our business in a cash-flow positive way. Our model is working because, as a company, we are true to our original mission.”
That original mission is all about delivering the power of microbes to increase crop performance. Stable, fresh, and pure microbe products for commercial agriculture applications increase farm yield, improve profitability, and enable sustainability.
Overcoming traditional barriers to microbe production and success in the field
For years, experts in agriculture and leaders in biotech recognized the many potential benefits of living microbial products commercialized for farms. “From the very start, these living products have shown great potential to transform agriculture,” said Caldwell. “They have the ability to help farmers grow more food with fewer chemicals.”
However, for many of the beneficial microbes discovered, commercialization challenges, including high costs, availability of infrastructure, difficulties with shelf stability, and ease of field application, have blocked progress.
“3Bar Bio addresses these ‘Achilles Heels’ of biological products,” Caldwell said. “Innovation is the intersection of what is needed and what is possible. As we have grown 3Bar Bio, we are at the intersection of microbiology and bioengineering. We have developed formulas, packaging, and processes for making these living products that no one else is doing.”
With Live MicrobeÒ Technology, 3Bar Bio unlocks product development pipelines with engineering, manufacturing, and packaging technology, which is raising the bar for the entire agriculture industry. “There isn’t a single company in the industry that we can’t work with,” Caldwell said, “either as an enabling technology for contract development or as a manufacturing organization.”
The company’s proprietary biomanufacturing and delivery systems create living microbial products that, when they reach the farm, field, or greenhouse, produce the same expected result as in a laboratory or the biomanufacturing environment.
Proving innovative and sustainable solutions to the agriculture industry takes more than technology
One of the most important aspects of building a company that delivers innovative solutions to the agriculture industry is fitting into the existing supply chain. 3Bar learned from experience and pivoted.
“As a small company,” Caldwell said, “it’s a challenge to gain access to distribution via the cooperatives, which started at farmer-owned coops but are now big corporations. We had to learn to fit inside the existing network of how farmers buy and receive products.”
3Bar learned the value of forging partnerships, from testing to manufacturing and packaging, with organizations already engaged in supplying solutions to farmers. The demand in the market for microbial technologies is on the upswing.
“Farmers’ greatest asset is the soil, which is a complex living microbiome. They are shifting toward being more proactive. They know that if they can do a better job of managing soil and understanding that living piece that is so complex, they can increase yields and the long-term sustainability of their land. Progress in this area is providing a nice tailwind for our business,” Caldwell said.
Publicly discussing the challenges and potential solutions of applying live microbe technologies honestly and openly has also built momentum for 3Bar.
“Whether it is with the coops and distributors, the microbial discovery companies, or directly with farmers, we are finding success by focusing on their problems and what’s important to them. We listen to our customers,” said Caldwell. “Being empathetic to their problems and helping them unlock new ways of thinking about improving the stability and vitality of the whole agricultural system.