STL Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Agriculture & Plant Sciences
John Larry Sanders, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC
Dr. John Larry Sanders first had the vision for his company while he was growing up on a farm in East Texas. He wanted to someday help farmers, like his father, better utilize the very expensive but necessary fertilizer they applied to their crops and pastureland.
It took six years before Sanders issued his first patented polymer product that now serves as the backbone for the company’s flagship products. In 1998 he made the spiritual, personal, professional and financial leap to get Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC started. The company manufactures and develops patented lines of polymer fertilizer additives to help increase fertilizer efficiency for agricultural and turf/ornamental markets.
Starting SFP wasn’t an easy task as Sanders, who is president and CEO, struggled to find funding. Thankfully with his passion for the solution and desire to make the company succeed, he was able to secure angel funding to do initial research to develop a scientific database on the polymer chemistry.
The company had a slow start, but that all changed in 2004 when the first polymer product, AVAIL, was launched, closely followed by NutriSphere-N in 2007 and More Than Manure in 2012.
As the success of SFP is driven by the creativity and ambition to remain on the cutting edge of the agricultural frontier via patented technologies, the company’s management fosters an environment conducive to forward thing. The backbone of the company’s success centers on the scientifically savvy, SFP also has addressed all facets of a successful business by developing full-scale operations surrounding marketing and sales.
Sanders is no stranger to overcoming adversity and defying odds, and today SFP is enjoying rapid growth. Over the past two years the company’s sales have almost doubled. Although the company is 15 years old, Sanders says it’s only in its infancy, and it will continue to grow as SFP increases the quantity of its patented products.
How to reach: Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC, www.sfp.com