By: Conner Novak
Those involved with agriculture may know that worm castings are the absolute richest natural fertilizer there is. Even in small amounts, castings can provide a plant with all the nutrients it needs for months. Not only does this fertilizer provide nutrients, it can also remove toxins and harmful fungi from soil. Because of this, the production of worm castings through “worm farms” is something farmers have been taking an interest in for quite a while now. Small scale worm farms have been around for years. However, as more farmers have looked to move away from synthetic fertilizers to something more natural, large scale worm farms capable of producing well over a hundred thousand pounds of castings in a season have started to pop up not only around the country, but around the world.
One such facility, “Master Organics,” is operating right here in Johnson County. The founder of Master Organics Soil Solutions, Randal Marsh, has spent twenty years researching worm castings, how they can be used, and the true extent of its capabilities as a fertilizer/soil solution. Throughout his studies, Randal consistently found plants and vegetables grown using worm castings to be “greener, bigger, taller, with more prolific color.” Randal believes worm farms like his have a vast amount of potential, especially for small farms. It is evident that Randal is not alone in this belief as his facility is seeing quite a bit of success. Master Organics ships worm castings all over the country from North Carolina all the way to Texas. The company that puts supplements on the Washington Monument site even selected Randal Marshes product to be used around the National Mall.
Worm castings are much more than a simple fertilizer. Randal Marsh presented many examples of this natural soil supplement doubling the size of various fruits and vegetables, trees producing fruit a year early, and many more documented examples of boosted production. Randal was also a participant in a study done by Virginia State that experimented with ways small farmers could boost their growth to ensure they had enough produce to sustain themselves more reliably. Randal said, “This whole project when we originally started was about trying to feed third world countries by giving them the ability to produce a lot of food in a small space.” Master Organics is a business, yes, but a business pushing innovation as well as a business whose roots lie buried in a very worthwhile goal.
With populations increasing all around the world and pollution taking its toll on the planet, new technologies and cleaner alternatives are very important right now. Randal Marsh and Master Organics have provided both in the form of a natural productive fertilizer that is being produced here in Johnson County. Master Organics is a business whose creation was inspired by goal of helping to feed third world countries. Worm farms like this have potential and it will be interesting to see the future holds for them from both humanitarian and agricultural standpoints. Clearly one does not need to look far from home to find examples of innovation and progress both on a local and global scale.