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Businessman says go ahead, laugh at his product

John Collins

John Collins

PooPeas. Go ahead and say it out loud: PooPeas. The creator of the product, John Collins, would want it that way, especially if it makes you giggle a bit.

“I had fun with PooPeas, why can’t everyone else?” asked Collins, who is founder of a company he launched last year called Natural Nutrient Solutions. PooPeas was put on the market early this month.

“PooDo” and “Chunkies” were a few of the 35 names kicked about for the new organic compost product. Even though others said the name “PooPeas” was crazy, Collins’ wife knew it would “stick.” No pun intended.

At a warehouse in Parma, Collins and his three partners worked hard to create a solution to a long-standing problem with Idaho farms and dairies.

Call it what you like, Collins said the way to fix the world is to “go brown.” He has figured out a way to recycle feed waste (for lack of a better term that is usable in print) and use it again to make flowers brighter, lawns greener and crops abundant.

Recently, the government has been clamping down on dairies because of the claim that their cattles’ byproduct is polluting waterways and streams, due to a lack of proper disposal. Collins knew that it was his job to not only find a solution but turn it into a lucrative business.

He said it is his goal to educate America on the need for environmental sustainability.

“I want them to step up and help the guys that are providing the meat and the dairy. It’s time to give back,” Collins said.

Giving back is exactly what he plans to do by turning waste into a product those same farmers can use on their crops and continue providing the United States with grains, corn and other food.

“We didn’t reinvent the wheel,” Collins said. “We just made it easier to handle.”

As fluffy to the touch as peat moss, and packaged in 20-pound bags, PooPeas is surprisingly odorless. The packaging features a cartoon character of Collins himself. He said it was his wife’s idea to create the unforgettable brand for the business.

“They will never forget that. They’ll say, ‘There’s the PooPeas guy!'” said Collins.

From growing up on a potato farm in Idaho and with a background in nurseries and gardening, he said it’s important to know exactly what’s in your fertilizer before you take it out of the store. With PooPeas, you know what’s in it, just by reading the name on the bag.

“It’s safe for your pets, safe for your children, great for environmental sustainability,” said Collins. He said he sees a day in the future where everyone will be demanding a product like this for every lawn and garden in America.

PooPeas manufactures 14,000 tons a year and has recently started spring deliveries. At the present time, it’s available in stores from Ontario, Ore., to Jackson, Wyo., but Collins will soon be looking for investors to take the fertilizer across the country. Despite the negative response from leaders in the agricultural and dairy businesses of Idaho, Collins said PooPeas is growing, and there’s no way to plug it up.

The secret is in how it’s done. Workers bring the compost in, separate it, granulate it, dry it – and even what they don’t package, they recycle again, turning piles of poo into new revenue.

“Remember your grandparents would say, ‘Smell the money!’ when you’d drive by the feed lots?” Collins asked, chuckling.

As for starting up a business during this hard-hit economy, Collins said it takes getting over the fear of going out and getting what you want. Also, he recognizes he couldn’t have done it by himself.

“It takes a village to make a business work. Each person that I’ve brought in, they’ve each got their specialties in what they do for sales, marketing and business-type deals,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to bring in those people that are smarter than you to get these things going.”

Collins knows PooPeas will be big, because it’s about more than just business.
“How do we get the public to stand up and say, ‘How do we help fix this problem that we helped to create?'” he asked.

PooPeas might be a good start … and after that?

“Vote the farmer for president, and the campaign slogan is, ‘Go Brown!'” said Collins.

Brianne Eggers writes for the Idaho Business Review and Business at its Best, on KTRV Fox 12.

About Brianne Eggers