Nampa family ag business expands to Texas

Courtesy of Angela Miller
Marvin Miller inspects a farmer's field in the Nyssa, Ore., area while on the job. He is looking for root development and insect pests called thrips in onions.

Courtesy of Angela Miller
Aaron Miller inspects a farmer's field of peas near Nyssa, Ore., while out on the job.

NAMPA — Back in 1987, Nampa resident Marvin Miller won a “rookie of the year” award for his work with BioPlus Manufacturing — a biological manufacturing company in Hawkins, Texas, that produces biological products for farmers.

About 30 years later, Marvin and his wife, Angela, are the now the owners of BioPlus Manufacturing, which they will oversee in addition to their current business in Nampa — Integrated Biological Systems Inc.

Integrated Biological Systems has provided biological organic and soil-improvement products to farmers for over 30 years. Today, Marvin, Angela and their son, Aaron, have grown the company to serve farmers in multiple states, including Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado. Now they’ve expanded their presence to Texas through the acquisition of BioPlus.

“That was a decision we had to think about pretty seriously, because at 65 years of age, do you go out and buy another company?” Marvin said. “But, we felt it was the right thing to do to secure the future.”

Agricultural biologicals are crop products based in natural materials or live organisms that help improve soil health and crop production. The agricultural biologicals industry is growing substantially in the U.S., as many farmers are realizing how important it is to preserve their soil and make their land more sustainable, Aaron Miller said.

“If you keep growing your crops from a pharmaceutical standpoint — because it’s all chemical dependent — then your chemicals have effects on the life of soils,” he said. “It gets to the point where farmers have ground that won’t even produce anything because it’s farmed to death.”

Marvin said their business isn’t just intended to sell products to farmers, but also to consult farmers on how to solve problems, such as the many changes facing the farming community due to development.

“There’s less and less farmland every year,” he said. “You see what’s developing here locally and developing is just swallowing up a lot of acres.”

Because of these rapid changes in farming, the Millers said they enjoy being able to consult and help farmers solve many of the problems they encounter on a year to year basis.

This pioneering business of agricultural biologicals is also catching the attention of many larger companies, such as Monsanto, Marvin said. This is part of the reason why the Millers made the decision to buy BioPlus, so as to keep the business from being bought by someone else.

“I’m very optimistic about our future, more so now after the acquisition of the manufacturing company, because if that had gotten into the hands of other people, we might’ve been cut off not having a product line,” Marvin said. “We’re now sustainable so we can help our farmers become sustainable.”

Buying BioPlus was made possible by MoFi — a business based in Missoula, Mont., that provides financing for small-business owners and entrepreneurs in the Northern Rockies.

“They know exactly how to run their business already and between the three of them, they have the ability to manage multiple businesses,” said Dave Glacer, president of MoFi. “I think it’s a really smart move, which is why we invested in it.”

With this acquisition, the Millers have plans to continue expanding their services to farmers. According to Marvin, they plan to develop more products, continue researching new solutions and help farmers increase their crop production. While they’ve been in this business for over 30 years, Marvin and Angela said they are enjoying themselves now more than ever and have no plans to retire any time soon.

“One of my farmers asked me the other day ‘what’s your retirement plan?’ and I told him ‘Death.’ We’re not looking to retire,” Marvin said.