Marrone Bio Innovations' Dr. Pamela Marrone Discusses Biologicals in Organic Farming
DAVIS, CA - At last month’s Organic Grower Summit, many of the best and brightest from the greater organic segment were on hand. Companies from around the country showcased new and innovative ways to improve organic farming practices, grow the profile of the burgeoning organic industry, and continue to improve the supply chain and support services for organic farmers.
At the event, we spoke with Dr. Pamela Marrone, Founder and CEO, Marrone Bio Innovations (
“I think it’s important that the food channel is fully educated on this segment because it can really help them,” Pam said. “The fact is, the fastest-growing segment of crop inputs is biologicals. They’re really important up-and-coming products, and producers, retailers, and consumers should understand this segment. It’s gone from, twenty years ago, bathtub brews and snake oils, to very reputable products with science behind them and companies like ours understanding how they work and how to make them work.”
MBI offers effective and safe solutions to pest control problems across the entire gamut of cultivated crops. From fruits and veggies to grains and nuts, cotton, animal feed, and flowers, MBI offers solutions powerful enough to be employed in conventional farming, but also suited to transitional, and certified organic production systems.
Pam noted that that these are products that are both an extremely effective part of any integrated pest management system (IPM)—and an effective way to reduce growers’ impact on the environment—while also boosting yield, better managing resistance, and providing greater flexibility during harvest.
“Like consumers, retailers want their supply chain to be more sustainable, and many of them are even imposing metrics on their suppliers around sustainability,” Pam said. “Pesticides are generally not included in sustainability metrics because pesticides can be controversial, but if you include biologicals as part of your pest management and plant health programs, you’ll definitely improve your sustainability because these products are biodegradable and can be sprayed up to harvest without worrying about chemical residues.”
Because unlike chemical pesticides, MBI’s biological pest control solutions don’t leave residuals that may present lasting danger to eaters, growers, and retailers. Produce sellers can rest assured that their produce is safe and optimal, while using effective pest management tools that provide other perks as well.
“Biologicals provide for much easier labor management because you can spray in the morning and be back in the field at noon. You can move your crew around without worrying about worker safety because these products are generally very safe,” Pam said, and those benefits, along with the efficacy of MBI’s products, have seen the company’s customers reap impressive rewards. “We have growers across a variety of crops that have successfully used these products—either alone in organic programs where they have fewer tools or integrated with other pesticides in conventional programs. We have a potato grower who has managed to upgrade their potato grade (size) for increased return on investment. We have other customers in, for example, strawberries who have experienced higher-quality berries with higher sugar content.”
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