Certis Biologicals leads market growth with top-tier bio-products in 50+ countries
Sep. 28, 2021
“The industry has continued to grow rapidly, with Certis leading the way. We’re expanding our portfolio, developing the most innovative products and partnering with industry leaders to bring new biologicals to our network through the top distribution and retail channels around the globe,” said Amy O’Shea (President & CEO of Certis Biologicals) in this AgroPages interview.
At the celebration of 20 years of growth, Certis USA rebrands to Certis Biologicals to clarify the company’s focus. Could you please talk about the company’s main business and growth milestones?
At Certis’ 20th anniversary, we are celebrating being the leading choice for bio-based solutions in the commercial agriculture, nursery and garden markets. Our legacy of science-based biological technology was built by innovation that dates to the 1940s and culminated when Mitsui & Co. envisioned the future of agriculture with sustainable products. Their founding of Certis USA 20 years ago joined together our legacy companies, such as Thermo Trilogy, into a true leader in commercial agriculture. Today, we see consumers calling for more transparency and accountability in the entire food industry. Biologicals are a significant piece of answering that call.
The industry has continued to grow rapidly, with Certis leading the way. We’re expanding our portfolio, developing the most innovative products and partnering with industry leaders to bring new biologicals to our network through the top distribution and retail channels around the globe.
From the beginning, and it is still true today, our success has always grown out of a commitment to sustainability for our environment. We tap into the natural wonders of the smallest organisms on Earth to make a big impact for customers. That idea lets us stand with our growers as they raise healthy and productive crops every growing season.
The Certis team has commemorated our milestone anniversary by emphasizing growth around the globe. We sell our top-tier biological products in more than 50 countries, and we’re determined to keep helping more growers of all sizes protect their crops and their communities with our broad portfolio of solutions.
The Certis Biologicals team of sales and field development members regularly utilize their expertise in fields around the world helping growers maximize the power of biologicals for crop protection and crop health. Credit: Certis Biologicals/O’Neil Arnold
What are Certis Biologicals’ flagship products? How about their cost-effectiveness/advantages?
We are proud to offer the largest portfolio of naturally derived biological products that lead the market, exceed customer expectations and protect the planet. Our customers aren’t just buying the best product, they are also showing their commitment to sustainable growing practices for the generations to come.
At Certis Biologicals, we innovate along six key technology platforms—bacteria-based technologies, fungi-based products, virus technologies, bacteriophage technologies, biochemicals and neem seed extracts. From those platforms, we provide our Bt family of products including Agree® and Crymax®, our Beauveria bassiana PFR-97®, our viruses Cyd-X®, and Gemstar®, AgriPhage® products, which utilize bacteriophages for top crop issues including Fire Blight and Citrus Canker, bio chemicals like our Kocide® copper fungicides and our neem product Neemix®.
In Bt, Ba/Bs, Beauveria, Virus and Neem technologies, Certis Biologicals ranks within the top two as the global leader.
Our highly-targeted biologicals give growers a large toolkit to find the right solution to nearly every challenge from pest management to crop protection. These biologicals are integral to providing the tools that growers need to fight the pests and diseases that plague their crops and to address the growing concerns about resistance to traditional chemistries.
Our scientists and researchers are constantly building innovative new biologicals to meet any need while considering the carry-on impacts to the soil, the water and the communities who rely on them. We care just as much about what we draw from nature as what we put back into it. For any product to be sold with the Certis name, it must first align with our values from production to its destination.
Are there new products planned for launch? Do they provide new mode of action?
Certis Biologicals has always maintained a healthy and robust innovation pipeline. We have many new products coming out of our product development pipeline over the next 3-5 years. In the near term, growers domestically and globally can expect to see new Beauveria bassiana products, new virus products that target Fall Army Worm, nematocidal fungus products and even more new bacteriophage technology for bacterial diseases in a new crop category.
These new technologies are in addition to the consistent testing and innovating that we do for our current product lines, creating enhanced usability, better shelf-stability and increased efficacy. Our teams work diligently, every day, to ensure that biologicals keep adapting as resources for the growers who feed the world.
Where do you sell your products? Do you plan to enter new markets in the near future? If so, why do you choose these markets to expand your business?
The Certis brand is trusted around the world, and our products are supporting conventional and organic growers in more than 50 countries. We have achieved this growth through strong partnerships with our retail and distribution channels around the world. To us, as developer, manufacturer and distributor and to our channel partners, our customers are more than just accounts on a spreadsheet. Each of them has made the choice to put their values and the best products on the market into their fields and we are proud to be their partners every step of the way.
Our team has always had an eye on the horizon, looking for the next great opportunity to increase sustainability with the highest standards. We are eager to tackle the toughest agriculture challenges with solutions developed from nature. Right now, we believe that the EU’s target reduction of pesticide use creates a growth opportunity for biologicals to be the answer that those growers need to continue protecting their crops even as their options for doing so are dwindling. We have invested in the talent we need to focus on growth in that area, among other international markets, so that we can ensure those growers have the solutions they need.
We also believe that there are many untapped opportunities right here at home. We see a future where biologicals are a key component in the integrated pest management programs for every crop, in every market. Our portfolio and our company are poised to be the leader in providing that key.
What are the main challenges in broad adoption of biopesticides? How does Certis Biologicals deal with it?
The biggest challenge we face is in education. We want to show the agriculture community that our products can provide them with proven efficacy and reliability. We also want the marketplace to understand our core values: innovation that fuels conservation and sustainable practices. More and more of our customers and consumers are concerned about the environment and its impact on all of us. We are proud to be part of the growers’ teams as they make a commitment to healthier crops and a more sustainable future.
The second challenge is about setting our market apart from other conventional products. As a leading multinational company serving customers around the globe, we interact with government regulators every day as we promote natural, sustainable products that help our customers grow what we eat, wear and enjoy. It won’t surprise you to know that we can innovate much more quickly than a regulatory body.
Too often, our naturally derived biological products are judged by the same yardstick as synthetic chemical products. That’s a problem because we don’t just come from different science, it’s a difference in our philosophy. We are working with governments to update their understanding of what we do and how to best get our products to market.
I’ll, of course, point out that we’re not looking for a rubber-stamp application process. Certis Biologicals is ready to continue undergoing the most rigorous testing tailored to our products because we are confident in our science-based approach.
One of the main advantages of biologicals is their ability to rotate and even tank mix with other biological products, helping growers integrate a fully-functional IPM plan to protect their crops from the threat of pests, disease and weeds. Credit: Certis Biologicals/O’Neil Arnold
How do you see the opportunities in emerging markets (such as China and Latin America)? Do you think the marketing strategy in these regions is different from that in the United States?
As we have done for the EU, Certis Biologicals has recognized the growth opportunities that lie in China and Latin America, as well as other sectors around the world, and we have dedicated personnel and resources to bringing our products to them in a more effective and efficient way. Absolutely, each market is unique and creates its own challenges and opportunities, which is why we are investing in talent with skills and expertise that matches those specific areas.
Fast-growing number of investments and companies are now getting involved in biologicals R&D and new product launches. How do you see the future competitiveness in the biological sector?
At Certis Biologicals, bio-based solutions are our core and our legacy knowledge base. Our team puts their heart and soul—and our corporate investment—into providing the best biological products on the market, whether that be through our internal R&D or through collaborations with innovation partners.
We’re glad the market is growing and I’m confident we are going to continue to lead that growth through our next two decades, and beyond.
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