Locus Agricultural Solutions: Interview with BLOC Members

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What is the name of your / the business and social media handle?
Locus Agricultural Solutions, LLC
www.locusag.com

How did the name come about and how long have you been here?
By definition, locus is a center point; a place where different roads cross, a center of activity or concentration where things occur. We build local fermentation centers to produce microbes that help crops grow and that bring our ideas and local communities together. Locus Agriculture was spun out in September 2017 from our parent company, Locus Fermentation Solutions, which has been around for 4 years.

What is your role at the company?
Paul Zorner – President/CEO
Alex Fotsch – Director of Agricultural Operations
Yasmine Zein-Phillipson – Product Manager
Caleb Adkins – Product Development Lead (CA)
Locus also has employees in Ohio and Florida.

How did you get started?
Paul: I have known the founders of Locus Fermentation Solutions for 20 years. The idea of locally brewing microbes to be optimized for, and used in different regions, and the concept of “probiotics” for agriculture sparked the start of Locus Agricultural Solutions. We saw the need for improvements to soil health and more natural ways of controlling crop pests than current synthetic chemicals. The world will soon have 9.5 billion people and we continue to degrade the environment to grow food with synthetic chemistry to control pests which are becoming more resistant because we are using these pesticides so often.  Its ironic and its a chemical treadmill that needs to be stopped. Locus Ag works to find ways to optimize more efficient and healthy production of crops by focusing on the natural genetic potential of plants and the microbes they need to be healthy and naturally resist pest pressure. Just like probiotics for humans are important.  Enriching the microbial ecosystem in agriculture is an essential part of finding better, sustainable solutions for our future.

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What is your favorite thing about the business?
The team! And knowing that the we are working together to create better, more sustainable choices for our environment that will ultimately make a difference for future generations. We are a close group of employees and friends who are proud of the work we do.

What is the best part about being in Leucadia?
The beaches and surf. It’s such a sweet laid back town.

How do you feel your business reflects/ fits in the community?
Locus Agriculture is based on being environmentally aware and active. And with Leucadia’s historical connection to agriculture we can’t help but feel like we are holding onto some of that local history. This area used to be full of citrus groves and avocado farms and a lot of our on-site fermentation research takes place on farms just like the ones that used to be here.

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What’s your favorite thing about working from BLOC?
The sense of community, everyone is so friendly. And the La Croix’s of course!

Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?
All the time …. EVERY DAY! We are excited about our Rhizolizer product which improves the microbial health of soil and in turn leads to better crop nutrition and vitality. We’ve had good results out in the field with crop yields and are very happy. We’re also working on natural disease and insect control. It’s important with the changes that this environment is seeing, that we find safer more sustainable solutions for our farming practices. Locus is working on a basic ecological level to find those solutions.

Did you always see yourself doing something like this?

Caleb & Yasmine: Our background is in Geology but we are stoked to be doing this. Soil health is relevant and working for a company that is environmentally friendly is important.

Alex: I grew up on a vineyard and working in agriculture has been with me forever.

Paul: I also grew up on a farm and love growing things and playing in the dirt … well actually soil.

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What was your very first or most memorable job?

Yasmine: When I was 10 years old, I would open up my garage as a surf & skate shop. Yazzy Jazzy Surf & Skate.

Caleb: In college I used to teach climbing on our campus rock wall and take people out.

Alex: Driving the tractor around on the Napa vineyard was a memorable experience.

Paul: I spent 3 years in Mozambique working on economic development and helping communities find better ways to farm. It’s one of the most memorable jobs and places I’ve ever been.

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What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

Yasmine: Trust life and put in the effort.

Caleb: Life is good, I wouldn’t change it.

Alex: Learn to surf earlier.

Paul: Never compromise self and principals. Stay true to yourself.

Anything else you would like us to know?

Eat at Birdseye Kitchen so it stays open! Drink red wine and don’t put ice in white wine. Know where your fruits and vegetables are coming from and eat those from farms using Rhizolizer.

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