Beyond the Pitch
3Bar Biologics Helps Farmers Increase Crop Yield Organically
3Bar Biologics, Inc., a SpringBox Labs company, is on the path to help customers in Ohio’s number one industry—agriculture—raise bigger and healthier crops.
“My customers are farmers,” says Bruce Caldwell, CEO of 3Bar Biologics, a TechColumbus SpringBox Labs accelerator company. “We don’t succeed if they aren’t more successful using our product.”
3Bar Biologics, a spinout from The Ohio State University, provides natural, beneficial microorganisms that promote crop health, enhance quality, and improve yields. 3Bar Biologics helps farmers increase their yield while reducing their reliance on chemical inputs.
3Bar Biologics uses microbes that are naturally occurring organisms discovered and isolated from fields in Ohio. However, not every crop plant is colonized naturally to beneficial levels. So, by inoculating seed or placing them in furrow, farmers can use these beneficial microbes to improve yields.
“Microbes have a major impact on natural processes everywhere,” Caldwell says. “We hear about them causing disease in animals or plants, but most microbes are essential for life processes to happen. People tend not to appreciate all the good they can do. The beneficial microbes in our products do no harm.”
3Bar Biologics microbes (the product name is VIAH A1) are specific and exclusively licensed from The Ohio State University. They’ve been researched over fifteen years and are put into a delivery device that makes it easy for farmers to apply the microbes freshly.
“The big advantage,” Caldwell says, “is that when our microbes go into the soil, they don’t just sit there and survive. They are ready to actively colonize plant roots. They are going back into the soils where they came from, and they like the environment.”
Ever keeping the farmer in mind, 3Bar Biologics designed a solution that fits into farmers’ existing practices and is applied at the same time seed is planted.
“You have one farmer with a planter or harvester working a couple of thousand acres,” Caldwell says. “Every second counts. He doesn’t have the time to do a bunch of additional management practices.” The solution provided by 3Bar Biologics promotes natural processes that are the hallmark of biological and organic farming. This is a step toward more organic farming that doesn’t slow farmers down. This is how we are going to keep driving agricultural productivity into the future.”
When Caldwell was a boy, both his grandfathers were farmers in Mississippi.
“I have those roots,” he says. “One of my jobs was turning the compost piles and spreading it on the field.”
Composting puts microbes and organic matter back into the field to better grow the crops, so in that sense, 3Bar Biologics’ founder has come full circle.
“We’re helping farmers find a more sustainable way forward,” Caldwell says. “We have a tremendous opportunity to add value to Ohio’s agri-business supply chain. I love working on this. I love the thought that I can have a positive impact on our state and on people’s lives.”
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