The pioneering fertilizer manufacturer sees room for growth as the agriculture industry aims to boost yields.

In the late 1930s, geological prospector Rollin Anderson became fascinated by Native American claims that the pebbles they chipped off of pink rock formations and planted in holes with maize seed improved crop production, so he traveled to Utah to see for himself.

He began to mine and sell the crushed rock locally based on the testimonials of farmers that supported the Native Americans’ claims. By 1942, he completed several trials that convinced him of the benefits to plants, as well as sheep, cattle, and turkeys.

After consulting with a scientific expert at the U.S. Bureau of Mines who determined that plants were benefiting from the trace elements in the ore, Anderson formed a company that tested and sold crushed AZOMITE as a feed additive and soil amendment throughout Utah and California.

When Anderson retired in 1988, he leased the reserves to Peak Minerals, which broadened Anderson’s work through accredited research studies. Company President Wesley Emerson further developed the AZOMITE market before merging with what is now known as AZOMITE Mineral Products in 2011.

AZOMITE stands for A to Z of Minerals Including Trace Elements, which Anderson registered as a trademark in the early 1940s. Most fertilizers contain mainly nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) — macronutrients that plants require in large amounts. But NPK are only three of the essential nutrients plants require. For plants to complete their life cycle and produce at full potential, a wide range of trace minerals is necessary.

“We’re not a macronutrient fertilizer,” says Jim Phillips, the company’s president and CEO. “Micronutrients help fill the void.”

AZOMITE is a hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate (HSCAS) containing other minerals and trace elements. HSCAS is an anti-caking agent that is generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Photos courtesy AZOMITE Mineral Products

Challenges: Phillips says AZOMITE has the same challenges as any other business, with logistics being one of the bigger issues. The company ships to more than 30 countries via rail, semi trucks, and shipping containers. “The cost of fuel and logistics adds a lot to the cost of our product,” he notes. “It’s a natural product and quite bulky. Constantly pricing is a battle. For animal feed or fertilizer, people have so much they want to spend. We struggle to keep prices down.”

Opportunities: As consumer preferences shift toward more sustainable products and concerns over food security grow, AZOMITE is positioned to be part of the solution. The all-natural product has been proven to improve yields when added to crop soil.

The global fertilizer market amounted to more than $193 billion in 2021, an increase of about 12 percent over the previous year, according to Statista. The fertilizer market is projected to surpass $240 billion by 2030. “I see a very bright future as we continue to see how it works and how we can best implement it across different animal species and crop production,” says Phillips.

Needs: As the company continues to focus on research and understanding why its product is effective, it needs for the agricultural market to accept nontraditional products and technologies, but farmers are notoriously skeptical of new offerings. “We’re always looking for ways that our product can help solve our customers’ particular problems and help them achieve their goals,” Phillips says.