"Being owned by a company that produces beneficial insects and also partnering with bio- and synthetic pesticide companies as well as fertilizer companies and other suppliers makes us the only greenhouse and ornamental distributor that truly offers wholistic IPM solutions rather than single products," says Scott Hodgins, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Plant Products – A member of Biobest Group.
Plant Products has long been a leader in greenhouse and ornamental pest and disease management in North America, a position that has only been enhanced by its acquisition by Biobest Group in 2022 and its continued development of new partnerships with companies like LumiForte, Lallemand Plant Care and Vestaron, among many others.
"Plant Products is the only company to say we are owned by a producer of beneficial insects while also maintaining strong relationships with chemical suppliers. We do not walk into an operation thinking, "I am going to sell Product A." We instead talk to growers, learn about pain points in their operation and bring them a solution. With biological controls, biopesticides, and synthetic pesticides at our disposal, the solutions that we offer are individually tailored to the unique challenges and tolerance levels at each of the different facilities that we work with." says Andrew Byfield, Sales Manager USA.
Carly Scholtz, Plant Products technical sales representative, demonstrates the finer points of the tap test to Erika Lafrinere (right) and Skylar Sweet (left) of Sawyer Nursery in Hudsonville, Michigan.
Like certain beneficials, Plant Products takes a generalist approach
As Andrew and Scott explain, many crop input suppliers focus either on the chemical side or the beneficial insect side of things. They compare this to bringing your injury to a surgeon, who would be more likely to recommend a surgical route to solve the problem rather than taking a step back to see the whole picture. Bringing your pest and disease questions to Plant Products is like going to see your family doctor, who will look at your entire file and provide you with various options to tackle the issue, whether it be surgery, change of diet, lifestyle, etc.
"As a member of Biobest Group, Plant Products understands the important role biological controls have in an IPM program. To have a successful, cost-effective program that properly manages resistance, the best strategy is often an integrated approach making use of the wide variety of pest control products and modes of action available to growers today," explains Andrew.
Biobest Academy: the one-stop shop for IPM training
At GreenTech Amsterdam, Biobest launched its online learning platform Biobest Academy which aims to strengthen the understanding of integrated pest management of anyone interested in the domain. The 30 modular courses have been designed specifically for technical managers and consultants, but the platform is open to anyone.
"Biobest Academy is open to anyone who wants to learn more about integrated pest management. Talking to a Plant Products representative is a great way to start this learning journey," explains Scott.
"Labor is on everyone's mind. With higher turnover in our industry, it can be difficult for supervisors to find the time to dedicate to training new staff. Biobest Academy is an excellent resource for training new hires and further developing existing IPM team members. The training modules offer a wide variety of IPM-related topics with different levels of learning from basic to advanced depending on the person's needs," says Andrew.
Plant Products – A member of Biobest Group will be exhibiting at Cultivate '23 at Booth #439. Plant Products will also be hosting its Growers Day in Avon, Ohio, on October 17. Scott and Andrew also both teased the upcoming addition of new high-tech solutions to Plant Products' portfolio. Stay tuned in the coming months!