Guatemalan cuttings producer Oro Farms was just purchased by Agribio Group, which also owns Dutch flower breeding company Fides. Up until this point, Royal Heins was president of Oro Farms, a position he has held since retiring from Michigan State University. We caught up with Heins in person on Sunday during the California Spring Trials to learn more.
For starters, Oro Farms will continue to produce the full line of genetics it has been producing but will also add the Fides varieties to its production. This means Oro will be building more greenhouses in Guatemala. Up until this point, Fides produced cuttings at its facility in Costa Rica, which has become a more expensive place for cuttings farms to operate with the rise in tourism.
“It’s our intent to maintain strong relationships with independent breeders,” Heins says. “No breeding company offers the complete spectrum our grower customers need. Where there are conflicts in licensing agreements or one series is superior to another, we will keep the superior set of genetics.”
One strong breeding partnership that will continue is with Danziger. Next year Oro and Danziger will move to Fides’ location in Santa Paula for the California Spring Trials.
As for personnel moves, Estuardo Arriaga will continue to operate the farm in Guatemala. Heins will step down as president and move into a tech support role. Partner Brian Gold, who owns Pineaea Greenhouses in Utah and is one of Oro’s founders, will stay involved through the transition but then leave the company. In the interim, Agribio Group’s Harry Kloppenburg will be Oro’s CEO during the transition.
By purchasing Oro Farms, Agribio Group is expected to gain significant market share in North America. Oro serves many of the nation’s largest growers.