• Ventura County Star: Hannah-Beth Jackson Names Agromin Top Small Business in Her District - Friday, May 24, 2013 at

  • 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 Business Association.

    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: , , , , , ,