Understanding and Sustainability Are Hallmarks to A History of Improving Crop Productivity
At the start of their 30th year, Horizon Ag-Products is poised for future growth, for innovation and for influence on sustainable agricultural practices with new products, expanded facilities and international partnerships.
When Horizon-Ag Products began operation in 1983, the common solution to increasing bushels per acre was to add excessive units of low cost synthetic fertilizer at planting time and then keep adding it throughout the growing season. Increasingly urban sprawl coupled with less productive acres led growers to even greater fertilizer use. The USDA Economics Research Service reports that the U.S. consumption of nitrogen increased from 2.7 million tons in 1960 to greater than 9 million tons in 1983.
Scientists and environmentalists warned that the increasing reliance of synthetic fertilizers could not be sustained. Over time, farmers and economists realized that the added fertilizer input costs to grow crops would lead to less profitability. For instance, the average increased cost of all nitrogen fertilizer products increased 118% from 1983 to 2012. Meanwhile, average crop prices for a bushel of corn, as an example, increased only 94% during the same 1983-2012 time frame.
Studies by universities and private companies, like Horizon Ag-Products, uncovered the effectiveness of using plant material derived compounds to maintain and increase yield at lower fertilization rates. Field testing and education within the agricultural community followed and Horizon Ag-Products emerged as a leader in this sector.
Starting with just one product, Horizon Ag entered into partnerships with fertilizer wholesale and retail companies to distribute Agri-Plus™ to western United States growers. Demand, fueled by growers’ positive results, led to more study, increased manufacturing and new products.
Today, 30 years later, the company has pioneered over 20 proprietary formulations and reached out to an international marketplace. Company Vice-President, Douglas Phelps, explains “We owe our success to our people, the partners we work with and the products that we manufacture.” “Our constant goal of continual improvement has never let our company grow stale,” he added.