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Compost firm to buy bait farm’s worm scat

A Toronto-area company specializing in organic fertilizers made from worm castings has bought a well-known live bait firm’s worm castings business to boost its own output.

Forterra Environmental on Monday announced a $45,000 all-stock deal to buy the WormSense business of Pagonis Live Bait, a Toronto family firm that supplies nightcrawlers, red worms, leeches, roe and crickets to the North American bait industry.

Forterra uses red wriggler worms to convert organic waste into worm castings, also known as vermicompost, which it then sells to the turf, vineyard, orchard, nursery and mushroom industries. The company says its products boost fertility and add organic matter back to soil for stronger

root growth, and drought and pest resistance.

WormSense was a “non-operating” subsidiary of Pagonis, which generates large amounts of worm castings from its live bait business, Forterra said.

As part of the WormSense deal, Pagonis has agreed to supply Forterra “the entire output of worm castings that it produces on a monthly basis,” Forterra president Richard Denyes said in a release Monday.

“This will amount to between 30 and 100 cubic
yards per month, in addition to which Pagonis will act as an agent for
Forterra to source additional worm castings from the live bait industry across
North America.”

Forterra expects to need the worm castings sourced by Pagonis to supplement its own production, in order to meet demand it said it foresees for its organic soil enrichment products, Denyes said.

Denyes added that Forterra, in the future, expects to become a supplier of worms to Pagonis for live bait. Its deal also includes a consulting agreement with Chris Pagonis, the bait company’s CEO, which would include marketing advice on the branding and sales of the company’s products; the use of Pagonis packaging capabilities at its plant; consulting on new product development; and advice on production processes and worm health.

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