Next up, The Farming Fish out of the Rogue River area.
Aquaponics farming spurs organic food production.
Organic farms are 35 percent more profitable than average farms and 94 percent of organic farms plan to expand staff.
“Our model provides for diversification to follow trends or disasters such as drought,” says Michael Hasey, who co-founded the company with Olivia Hittner.
The company was founded in May 2011 and began commercial production in June 2012. This month it will begin sending exporting products out of the Rogue Valley. It hopes to have 10 greenhouses by 2018. The company expects to have net earnings of $1.5 million on sales of $3.8 millin by 2018 as well.
The cost of the aquaponics Basil retailsfor $4 per pound, but believe price will be driven up by market forces. Fish cosgts $5 per pound, $6 dressed and $14 filleted. The growing season is year-round.
The company can produce 16 times more basil and 18 times more lettuce than traditional farmers, Hittner says.
The fifth finalist is Watch Technologies, which manufactures irrigation gates, sluice gates, valves, gate actuators and control systems for aggricultural waste water.
Jack Goldwasser expects sales of $2 million this year.
Water management is driven by regulations, where water is saved it can be sold, Goldwasser says.
“We can compete in the international market place,” he says. “Where water is scarce, it’s gold. We can run an irrigation system from a cell phone.”
The company’s primary competitor is Rubicon in Australia. Solar power is the primary source of power for its components.
Watch Technologies has provided systems for the Rogue Valley Irrigation District.
The company has a 3,600-square-foot shop in Grants Pass and plans to build a machine shop so it can do everything in house, Goldwasser says.
“We just need to add production lines,” Goldwasser says. “Our gross profit is plus or minus 50 percent.”
The company’s quick turnaround time has been an advantage. Itsaverage sale is $5,000-$10,000, but has done million dollar projects.