Terra Firma Fertilisers is a local Scenic Rim business that supplies fertiliser to domestic and international markets.
Owners of Terra Firma Fertilisers, Ross and Toni Earsman bravely commenced their journey into the fertiliser manufacturing world 21 years ago with Ross coming from a construction and agriculture background and Toni coming with a background in sales and marketing.
They soon learned they had a lot to learn, not just about manufacturing, but about business, product performance, soil health, crop yield, composting, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and logistics!
They also learned they were a part of a great industry. Life is sustained and enriched by plants and they get to partner and join growers on helping them achieve their goals. They soon realised that with great power comes great responsibility and a heavy expectation of performance, whether it be more flowers, more nutritious produce, greener grass of healthier plants.
At the recent Chamber Collective Business Breakfast (May 2021) Toni presented to the attendees and detailed their business strategy. If they wanted to sell someone a second bag of product, they have to make sure that the first one works really well. In the fertiliser world, consumers are spoilt for choice, so to be able to still be a viable choice for growers, they listened more than they talked and learnt everything along the way.
Prior to COVID-19 closing down the world, their export work represented up to 30% of their business. That market went to zero, however the domestic home garden market took up most of that deficit. Toni advised, ‘as an Australian manufacturer it is exciting to be able to find a market for your product in another country, such as Vietnam and Tahiti . It does comes though, with its own set of unique challenges, such as the Australian dollar fluctuating and competition from other countries’.
In 2017 Ross and Toni purchased a block in the Bromelton State Development Area. This will allow them to broaden their range of products within the agricultural and horticultural sector and ultimately increase the market share in Australia and internationally.
Ross and Toni have owned Terra Firma Fertilisers for 8 years, being in the industry for over 20. They suggest skills for business operators to strengthen include being adaptable, able to problem solve and watch market trends closely. For them, the grounding factor, is that they produce a range of products that are predominantly derived from waste or by products. These products improve soil health, are regenerative and sustainable. That means consumers can rely less on chemical or synthetic inputs to deliver great produce and plants.
Toni’s final words at the breakfast, ‘you should love the brand you represent, if you don’t love it, how can you expect others to get excited about it too. The strength of our business is in the performance of our range and our relationships. Relationships with our customers, with our staff, our bank manager! He’s an important one! With our suppliers. Our suppliers, both in raw materials and services, without them we couldn’t achieve our business goals’.