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Miller Chemical & Fertilizer: A Legacy of Service and Exceptional Crop Productionqrcode

Sep. 30, 2021

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Sep. 30, 2021

image.pngIt takes more than time to build a legacy. Since 1937, Miller Chemical & Fertilizer, LLC has been committed to delivering more than the products agricultural producers around the globe have come to trust. With an industry-leading dedication to service, Miller’s highly trained agronomists and crop advisors have been providing innovative solutions to customers for more than 80 years. 


From humble beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, in the late 1930s, Miller operated out of two factories: one formulating pesticides and another manufacturing farm fertilizers. In 1968, the company moved to its present-day headquarters in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with the following decades aptly characterized as “onward and upward,” a strategy Miller continues to deliver, in every aspect of their business portfolio. 


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Since 1937, Miller Chemical & Fertilizer, LLC has been committed to delivering more than the products agricultural producers around the globe have come to trust.


The opportunity to provide advanced specialty solutions to farmers around the world began with Miller’s discovery of Pinolene™ based products. This was followed by entering the markets for specialty macronutrients, micronutrients, biostimulants, crop production aids and plant growth regulators (PGRs) between the 1980s and 2010s. Miller’s portfolio continues to expand by focusing on innovative solutions that growers have come to expect. 


Acquired in 2019, Miller is part of the J.M. Huber Corporation, which has a revenue of approximately 3 billion USD annually. As part of Huber, Miller continues to uphold the Huber Principles of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability; Excellence; Ethical Behavior; and Respect for People. 


Miller offers science-based, data-driven products that are supported by years of university research and third-party field trials. The organization remains steadfast on researching and delivering agronomic solutions to the high-value agriculture market segments: fruits, nuts and vegetables. 


“Our culture, today, has come from a deep respect and admiration for what it takes to grow a crop,” says third-generation Miller employee, Mike Fiery who serves as the Vice President of International Sales. “Our commitment from the very beginning was to do what was best for the grower.”


Miller’s commitment to farmer success is cemented not only through a comprehensive product portfolio, but through the support and education the Miller global sales and marketing team provides. “We are still in the initial phase of growth, investing in people, resources and process, to realize our vision of becoming a leading sustainable global formulator of specialty products,” states Karan Bansal, Global Director of Marketing. 


Fiery shares that integrity, communication, and education are pillars of Miller’s service commitment with team members working to support and educate growers, distributors, and one another—sharing information and key learnings from products and practices not only within a region, but around the world. “Integrity means everything to us as an organization. We want to connect with customers globally and have them view Miller as a partner, not just a supplier of products.”

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Focus on Sustainability

 

The advancement of specialty adjuvants and biostimulants, both hallmarks of the mission to produce food with fewer resource inputs, are at the forefront of Miller’s focus.  


Soil health is critical to overall crop production and quality. Biostimulants are a soil’s natural solution to productivity and are classified as substances or microorganisms that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the crop rhizosphere, stimulate natural processes to enhance nutrient cycling, nutrient efficiency, and abiotic stress tolerance. Biostimulant-driven soil health enables soils to cycle and manage nutrients more efficiently. With multiple biostimulant products in its portfolio, Miller’s investment in the future of agriculture is evident. 


No less important to Miller’s commitment to sustainable production is the company’s specialty adjuvant product portfolio. Specialty adjuvants help to improve the performance of pesticides, whether by placing and keeping more product in the plant target zone or by increasing absorption and efficacy. Specialty adjuvants allow pesticides to perform to their ability. The Miller portfolio of specialty adjuvants offers specialized solutions to meet the needs of farmers globally. 


“Our adjuvants assist in optimizing the performance of most pesticides,” says Randy Edwards, Vice President of US Sales. “Many of them are designed to shift applications of fertilizers, plant growth regulators and pesticides from high dosage to lower dosage while saving the grower money and reducing the amount of chemicals in the environment. It’s a win-win.”

One of Miller’s adjuvants, Nu-Film-P™ works by forming a soft elastic film over 7-10 days. This film enables excellent deposition coverage, reduces the effects of rainfall erosion, volatility and ultraviolet (UV) degradation on agrochemical spray deposits. This product also poses minimal phytotoxicity to plants and is non-toxic to honeybees.*


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■ These photos were taken approximately 12-15 hours after applications were made. Nu-Film-P™ improved coverage and deposition across the plant surface compared to an organo-silicone or citrus peel surfactant.


Other core focus areas for Miller include plant nutrition, crop production aids and organic compliant products. 


Every hectare of agricultural production requires both macronutrients and micronutrients. Most macronutrients from Miller, such as the Express line of products, are designed to strengthen plant resistance and recovery from abiotic environmental stress. Flexible product application via fertigation or foliar application in conjunction with Miller’s specialty liquid, standard dry and specialty dry product formulations provide farmers options in meeting their nutritional needs. 


This plant nutrition technology is designed for maximum crop response during all physiological growth stages. It is ideally matched to be used in either a foliar program or a combination foliar/trickle irrigation program. The Express formulations have been designed to supplement virtually any crop production system. 


Meeting farmers’ micronutrient needs, many of Miller’s chelates are chemically reacted, microgranule formulations. They are easy to handle and highly soluble in spray solutions and drip irrigation systems. 


Products that are considered crop production aids in Miller’s portfolio address unique environmental conditions and pest control issues. Miller’s formulations reduce and resolve problems from pod shatter to minimizing heat stress. The product line-up also includes US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered animal repellents. Additionally, Miller offers a crop protection portfolio to manage plant diseases and insects. The Miller portfolio also provides EPA registered products labeled specifically for use on growing crops, ornamentals and or turf.


In all, the company provides a broad product portfolio, including several organic compliant products, to help farmers reach their production goals. The line-up of products and the flexibility and ease of use they provide a farmer are key to the modern agriculture industry and Miller’s commitment to people and the planet.


Addressing Grower Challenges 


All farmers, no matter where they farm or what they grow, face challenges. Few agriculture production sectors present more challenges than the high-value production cycles of citrus, cucurbits and almonds. 


Miller has dedicated countless hours of research and human capital to helping farmers solve these challenges while keeping economic sustainability top-of-mind.


“The most expensive application a farmer makes is the one that doesn’t achieve the desired result,” Edwards says. “You can always find a lower cost product, but the question farmers should be asking is, what value am I getting by using that particular product?” Every crop input is an investment by the grower. Miller’s mission is to bring to the market new and innovative products that consistently address the key pain points of the growers and help them get a good return on their investment. 


Improving crop quality is one of the top concerns Miller has been working to address for more than 80 years. To do that, the company is delivering solutions to the grower issues and quality pain points all farmers face: environmental stress; fruit/nut set and development; abiotic stress; pest and disease; and cold protection.


“No matter where a crop is grown, everyone has the same goals: increase productivity and quality and decrease input costs. As export opportunities have grown, the focus on increasing quality has grown, too,” Fiery says of the need to capitalize on planned export marketing. “If you’re going to be successful in export markets, the quality of what you’re producing is paramount because you’re ultimately competing against the rest of the world.”


While unique in their production; all high-value crops have a common challenge: initial fruit set, a nutritionally taxing period of production for all plants.    


To meet the challenge, Miller has employed a less-is-more approach to nutrition and the mitigation of abiotic stress, effectively saving farmers money, reducing the gallons of product applied all while satisfying a plant’s nutritional needs. The nutrition and abiotic stress reducing specialty fertilizer Fertigard™ provides growers a combination of superior nutritional compounds and plant extracts designed to provide energy at key physiological periods, creating a healthier plant and strengthening crop resistance to environmental stress. The product also provides phosphite to enhance a plant’s natural defense mechanism against various fungi-based diseases such as phytophthora. 


For example, in a Florida study, Fertigard was applied to a pre-fruit set citrus grove at 1/23 the rate of nitrogen, 1/6 the rate of phosphorus and 1/10 the amount of potassium on a pound-for-pound basis. Tissue samples of the Fertigard-treated trees showed that the absorbed nutrients were as good or better than the block sprayed with generic 3-18-18 applied at full dosage. 


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More examples of success with Miller products include Millerplex™, a specialty fertilizer, and Cytokin™, nature-based PGR. Millerplex and Cytokin program showed significant increase in production and weight of bell peppers in Peru. Trial work executed by a third party concluded a 20% increase in crop production and 11% increase in weight over the control. 


Cold weather desiccation costs growers, including citrus producers, millions of dollars in damaged crop every year. Vapor Gard™ crop production aid mitigates the effects of cold weather by forming a thin protective film over the surface of the plant and fruit to reduce transpiration and strengthen plant turgidity.


Positioned for the Future 


For more than 80 years, Miller has provided farmers a science-based portfolio of products, backed by unparalleled customer service and education. Dedication and integrity have become the legacy that has made the Miller brand a trusted partner around the world.   


“We work to form dedicated partnerships everywhere we do business so that our customers know when they see the Miller brand, they are getting a long history of integrity and commitment,” Fiery says. “Trust is a cornerstone of everything we do and a culture that we’ve carried forward.”


Supported by the strengths and capabilities of Huber, Miller continues to expand their global footprint as a trusted source for some of the most innovative biostimulants, adjuvants, and macronutrients on the market. The company is well-positioned to fulfill their global mission to serve as the trusted source for exceptional crop production through both organic and in-organic growth. Miller is excited to serve the current and next generation of farmers in their efforts to feed the growing world. 



* In both oral and contact honey bee studies, Pinolene® showed no toxicity at the highest dose (200 μg/bee) compared with criterion of >11 μg/bee threshold for the “practically non-toxic” classification. (US EPA, Health Canada PMRA, & CDPR, 2014, Guidance for Assessing Pesticide Risks to Bees)


Please visit the website https://www.millerchemical.com  to know more about Miller Chemical & Fertilizer, LLC


This article was initially published in AgroPages' '2021 Market Insight' magazine.


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Source: AgroNews

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