Better Yields Through Science

At ORCAL Inc, It’s All About Working Hard and Taking Care of Customers

by Larry Aylward – Meister Media

It is almost like a horror film, what with the eerie music and hideous-looking creatures. We’re talking about the “Slug Movie,” an entertaining 1950’s B-movie-like video that ORCAL Inc created to depict the destruction slugs can do to farmers’ crops.

The “Slug Movie” will seize your attention, make you yell “eww” and even make you laugh, what with its sometimes humorous but totally educating script. And if you’re a farmer, the “Slug Movie” might make you RUN out and buy some slug bait manufactured by ORCAL Inc.

That’s ORCAL for you. While the company puts a premium on researching and developing products for agricultural crop protection to serve farmers’ needs, it likes to have fun while doing so. “The Slug Movie” and other product promotional videos attest to that, as does the company’s reputation for being an enjoyable place to work.

“It is a great place to work. We work hard and have fun,” says Tim Wasko, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ORCAL, which sells lime sulfur products, solar protectants, chilling products and rodenticides, in addition to slug and snail baits.

An Aspiring Company Culture

ORCAL’s culture reflects its leaders – George Baker and Steve Horn – who have co-owned the company for more than 20 years. Baker and Horn bring different talents to the table, but they are highly complementary.

“We have totally different strengths, but it’s a situation where one plus one equals five,” Horn says.

Horn has brought vast marketing and sales experience in agriculture to ORCAL Inc and has solid relationships with top-tier distributors. He’s a people person, whether he’s dealing with a customer or an employee.

“Steve is fantastic in building relationships,” Wasko says. “This is a relationship business, and we are a relationship company.”

Baker, who founded ORCAL in 1997 and is the company’s president and original owner, has brought continued expertise in research and development. Wasko says Baker wakes up every morning wondering how he can make the company’s products better.

“He’s a genius,” Horn agrees, citing Baker’s tenacious approach. “When you put him in a lab or a manufacturing facility, he won’t rest until the product he’s developing is perfect.”

Horn and Baker may have different personalities, but they share a genuine appreciation for each other’s talents.

“We both understand each other’s arena, and we swim in our own lanes,” says Horn, ORCAL’s vice president, noting he stays out of the R&D lab.

Baker’s daughter, Brooke Baker, brings a similar passion to the R&D effort, which is why she oversees R&D in addition to regulations and quality control. “She’s a tremendous asset to our company,” Horn says.

Horn, meanwhile, is known for his “down-to-Earth” approach with employees and customers. He describes himself as a straight shooter. “You never have to wonder what I’m thinking,” he says.

The energetic Wasko, who joined ORCAL in early 2021 after working several years for Simplot, fits in well at the company. Horn says Wasko has embraced ORCAL’s culture. As part of that, Wasko has tapped into what he considers one of his best management strengths – team building. He encourages effective communication throughout the organization so everyone is focused on achieving the same goals.

“I’ve always been a team guy,” says Wasko, who has held leadership positions for more than 20 years. “If you set standards and expectations, you have clear communication from the onset.”

He’s also a self-described “big rah-rah guy.” If a co-worker needs a cheerleader, Wasko says he’ll embrace the role. He aims to inspire and help employees overcome challenges and see the opportunities in front of them.

It’s All About the Farmer

The constructive culture has everything to do with the company’s laser-focused goal of serving the customer. “That’s what drives us,” Horn says. “We want to have the best products in every category we compete in.”

Wasko says the company believes its products are better than its competitors’ products, but the company will not make a sale if it knows its products aren’t the right fit for its customers.

“If we’re not the right tool, we’ll be the first to admit it, and we’ll help customers find the right tool,” Wasko says. “Because we want our customers to be successful and helping them be successful might not be with our products. It’s all about relationships and understanding the customer.”

ORCAL’s products are not inexpensive but they are economical because of the company’s commitment to value and quality. Consider LIME SULFUR ULTRA, a reduced-rate, non-systemic fungicide, insecticide and miticide for use on conventional and organic crops. Growers can take care of three problems with one product.

“We offer products that work at the price points farmers need – products that are affordable and sustainable,” Wasko says.

ORCAL Inc sells exclusively to distributors, and Horn says distributors make more money on ORCAL’s products than they do on competitors’ products. “That’s why we have such customer loyalty,” he adds.

Horn cites an old marketing adage: You can have a quality product, the best price and great service, but you can’t have all 3.

“But we strongly believe that we have all 3,” he adds, noting the best price doesn’t mean the cheapest price. “But you have to be willing to do all 3, and it takes hard work to do all 3.”

It does take hard work. But that’s ingrained in the culture at ORCAL Inc.