Niche chemical marketer expanding into U.S.

A Guelph company specializing in sales and marketing for niche-market crop protection products in Canada plans to expand its reach into the U.S. starting next month.

Engage Agro on Thursday announced it has incorporated Engage Agro USA LLC in Delaware,  aiming to “build on the successful business model developed in Canada with the sole purpose of providing development, regulatory, marketing and sales functions for unique, high-value crop protection and nutrient products” south of the border.

“We hope and expect to be able to replicate our business strategy in (the U.S.) and to create efficiencies for our supplier partners to the benefit of growers across both countries,” Engage Agro owner Ray Chyc said in a release Thursday.

Billed as a strong advocate and supporter of Canada’s minor use registration system, Engage Agro works with grower associations, researchers and extension specialists to register active ingredients that provide “new and useful pest control for high-value fruit, vegetable and specialty crops.”

The company formed in early 1995, at which time, it said, “it was becoming increasingly clear that the major manufacturers in the crop protection industry were focusing on products in their portfolio which represented the highest business potential. Most often, this resulted in the registration of active ingredients for large field crops only.”

To start work on the U.S. operation, Engage Agro said it has hired Trevor Thorley, who until Tuesday was executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Amvac Chemical Co. , a subsidiary of California ag inputs firm American Vanguard Corp.

Thorley, who had been with Amvac since January last year, has also previously worked as an executive at chemical firns Sumitomo, Valent and Bayer, “resigned in order to pursue other business interests,” Amvac said Tuesday.

“Our vision is to introduce innovation and differentiation of products which meet unique customer needs. We won’t be simply another chemical company,” Thorley said in Engage Agro’s release. “Customer needs will be our primary concern and motivation.”

Thorley will at first operate out of Prescott, Ariz. (about 150 km southwest of Flagstaff) and will establish Engage Agro’s U.S. office “shortly,” the company said.

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