By Anne Kallas
Thursday, May 23, 2013
With its commitment to diverting organic waste from
landfills, using backyard mulch, clippings and other plant materials that
people throw away to make more than 200 soil amendments, Ventura County-based
Agromin is a great example of the future of small businesses, according to
state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.
To honor Agromin, Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, named it the
Small Business of the Year for the 19th Senate District.
“This is a small but pioneering business,” Jackson said. “I
think it’s a terrific example right here in our community of a small business.
Small businesses are the backbone of our community.”
Agromin CEO Bill Camarillo said he was pleased that his
company, which employs 95 people, will be honored June 10 in Sacramento, along
with 70 other businesses in the state. The ceremony is part of California Small
Business Day, which has been observed since 2000 by the California Small
Jackson said 99 percent of California businesses are small
businesses, which employ 52 percent of the workforce.
“I love the idea of the work they do. We all need to be
supporting small businesses — shopping small businesses,” she said, adding that
small businesses add to the vitality of the community.
Camarillo said Oxnard-based Agromin is constantly developing
ways to turn the waste stream into a usable resource. The company diverts
organic waste into composting fields and turns it into more than 200 soil
amendment products, which are sold nationwide.
“Agromin is one of the largest recyclers in California. We
recycle 400,000 tons a year of organic waste. In the past 20 years we have
recycled 4 million tons,” Camarillo said. “In California there are 13 million
tons a year of organic waste produced. We can’t work fast enough. This is a
naturally grown kind of energy.”
Although composting is an ancient practice, Agromin uses
scientific methods to jump-start the process.
“We are trying to duplicate Mother Nature’s process. We’re
trying to speed up a process that naturally takes years to do. Ours is a 90-day
process to break material down. We’ve learned how to speed up the process
scientifically. We’re learning about compost as living soil.”
In selecting Agromin the district’s Small Business of the
Year, Jackson noted its partnership with CSU Channel Islands.
“Agromin is involved with the community and economic
development in the area,” she said.
Camarillo said the company’s partnership with Limoneira Co.
is working to create a sustainable agricultural model.
“We are part of their sustainability program. We have helped
reduce their water consumption by 30 percent, and we’ve reduced the need for
herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. We’ve helped eliminate erosion
on the property. It’s a great partnership,” he said.
Labels: Agromin, award, California Senate District 19, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Santa Barbara County, small business, Ventura County