Chris DeWildt

August 27, 2019 6 min read
August 27, 2019
6 min read

An Interview with Dr. Matt Brecht of Marrone Bio Innovations

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In this interview, Growers Network talks to Dr. Matthew Brecht of Marrone Bio Innovations about the company, their products, and the future of the legal cannabis space.

Growers Network greatly appreciates our interviewees taking the time away from their busy schedules to talk to us about their place in the cannabis industry. We couldn’t do it without them!

Welcome, Dr. Brecht! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Our readers love information from industry pros such as yourself and I have no doubt the details you have about Marrone Bio Innovations will be met with the same enthusiasm.

But before we dig into specifics, I’d like to get into a little background on the company.

About Marrone Bio Innovations

Can you give our readers some information on who Marrone Bio Innovations is? When did you get started? What’s your philosophy with regard to pest control?
Sure, Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. (MBI) (NASDAQ: MBII) provides biological based solutions for agricultural crops, turf protection, seed treatment, plant health and waterway systems. We’re a leader in alternatives to conventional pesticides, and MBII has a proven go-to-market strategy. We’re on the cutting edge of developing the types of biological products in which today’s farmers are increasingly interested. We’ve been doing it since we were founded in 2006.

Can you tell our readers about some of the changes you’ve seen in the industry? How is Marrone Bio keeping up with those changes?
Our focus is around finding new and alternative ways to include biological products to help meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising future generations. BioUnite™ is Marrone Bio Innovations’ solution for both conventional and organic growers. Bring together the power of biological products with the performance of chemistry in your tank mix with BioUnite.

The Power of Biology. The Performance of Chemistry.

Is it challenging to offer a cannabis related product in a climate such as the USA with different regulations in each state?
Yes, there is no consistency between states on what products are allowed to be used on cannabis. Companies like Marrone Bio have to spend a lot of time and energy with each county to ensure compliance.

Marrone Bio has products for all kinds of crops, was it a difficult decision to begin marketing in the cannabis space?
No. Marrone Bio is focused on providing sustainability. Cannabis is part of that. Our product portfolio supports both the cannabis and hemp markets.

Using Marrone Bio Products

Our Canna Cribs team has noticed that a lot of professional cannabis growers we speak to are using your line of IPM solutions. What do you think is the key to success they’ve discovered with your products?
Our line of Cultivated Garden (CG) products helps customers around the globe control pests, improve plant health, and increase crop yields while reducing the environmental pesticide load, decreasing chemical residues and fighting the development of pest resistance. The key to our products is performance. Marrone Bio has harnessed the power of biology to perform in a number of challenging grower situations.

☝Take a peak at the Marrone Bio Innovations segment from our most recent Canna Cribs! ☝

What is the most common misunderstanding for the new grower trying to develop an IPM program?
Many new growers are challenged with how to effectively use organic solutions to control insects and diseases when growing cannabis in large production systems. Legal states often have limited choices in organic active ingredients and they are not consistent between states. Also many growers are incorporating beneficial insects into their IPM program which also can be challenging at first to learn and incorporate with their spray programs.

Beneficial insects, like the ladybug here, can be adversely impacted if you aren’t careful with your pest control products.

Your products are OMRI listed. Why is this beneficial to a grower? Is there a real advantage?
Yes, all of Marrone Bio’s current Cultivated Garden (CG) product line are OMRI listed. The OMRI Listed Seal assures the suitability of products for certified organic production, handling, and processing under the following conditions:

  • For certified organic farmers, the product must be included in the operator’s approved organic system (farm) plan.
  • Product use must be in accordance with any restrictions described in the OMRI Products List© under the product’s category.

In addition, Marrone Bio submits all CG products to quality control testing.

The Future

Do you have any new products in the works that you can share with our readers?
Yes, but we can’t share at this time.

Fair enough, I won’t press you on the “secret sauce.” What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed in the industry since you began?
Cannabis production has stepped out of the underground black market and into large commercial agriculture. Fertilizer and chemical companies are responding by bringing new products that offer growers better results at reduced costs.

As laws change, cannabis growers are finding new opportunities and products.

Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you’d like our readers to know about Marrone Bio?
Marrone Bio has invested heavily into both research and development as well as into a team of highly knowledgeable sales and technical representatives. Many have advanced degrees in chemistry, microbiology, engineering, entomology and plant pathology. For instance, as the Key Account Manager for the Cultivated Garden product line, I have a Ph.D in Plant Pathology, and I am able to help anyone who wants to find out more about Marrone Bio’s IPM solutions and our cultivated garden product line.

Growers Network would like to once again thank Dr. Brecht and Marrone Bio Innovations for taking the time to speak with us today. What did you think readers? Let us know by hopping onto the forum and starting a conversation! Not a member of our forum? Click one of the “Join Now” buttons on this page and sign up. See you there!

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About the Author

Dr. Brecht is widely renowned as a thought leader in the industry, bringing over 20 years of experience in farming systems, plant pathology, crop protection, testing, epidemiology, crop management and pest control strategies in agricultural production. Most recently, Dr. Brecht spent over 11 years as Territory Manager at Syngenta, growing one of the Company’s largest U.S. sales regions. Dr. Brecht has a Ph.D. & M.S. in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida, Gainesville and a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC.