As someone who worked in the Colorado cannabis industry in the early days of medical-only legalization, Brian Keenan has heard his fair share of product pitches.
“I’ve been around it long enough to know everybody has the ‘latest and greatest product. This is going to be a game-changer,’ so after a while you become a little jaded,” says Keenan, who is now director of cultivation for Sheets Medical Marijuana, LLC in Tonkawa, Okla. When he examined the formulas, he noticed many “new” products actually carried similar ingredients and included chemicals he was not comfortable using to treat cannabis that would later be consumed.
So when he saw the active ingredients, derived from nature, in Grower’s Ally Fungicide and Grower’s Ally Spider Mite Control, he was optimistic. The company, founded in 2018, prioritizes transparency, offering access to independent lab testing, and includes a certificate of analysis right on the website, with all state registrations, to help cultivators make the best choices to protect their operations.
Keenan was also in a dire situation, as Oklahoma brought the most stubborn powdery mildew and thrips outbreaks he’s ever experienced in both the indoor and outdoor grows.
Sheets Medical Marijuana resides on land that for generations operated as a cattle ranch. Owner Tom Sheets transitioned the business to cannabis when he saw the potential of the industry. Although he had dealt with pest and disease issues in the past, reactive solutions that had once worked were no longer effective and not an option for medical cannabis.
“I needed to clean everything up, and I wanted to use a clean product,” Keenan says. “The bugs out here in Oklahoma, you know, I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve lived in Western New York, Ohio, Georgia, and this is a whole new level of bugs I couldn’t even fathom.”
Once Keenan started treating plants with Grower’s Ally, which he now considers the “backbone” of Sheets’ IPM program, the pest problems were immediately mitigated. Now the company uses Grower’s Ally Fungicide and Spider Mite Control preventively, starting in the vegetative stage and through the early weeks of flower, rotating treatments to keep both pests and diseases at bay. The highly concentrated solutions are both effective and affordable, in addition to being Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) 25(b) exempt and OMRI Listed. As a result, the company has doubled its yields by using products that are as strong as they are safe.
“Especially when you’re growing a medical product, the image of the marijuana industry has to stay in a positive light, and you want to do positive things with the plant using the right inputs,” Keenan says. “I understand the quality of what Grower’s Ally is putting into their products. High, clean levels,” he says, that pass state testing standards.
“Once you get rid of the bugs and you create a healthy environment and get things under control, then you’re setting your plant up for a situation where it’s going to thrive,” he says. And healthy plants have resulted in healthy profits for the company.
Keenan also commends the Grower’s Ally team for their “old-school, personal” customer service style, although the website also has a plethora of educational resources for growers.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, people want to know the company really cares about them. It still does mean something.”