Zachariah Ritland, junior in agricultural business with minors in entrepreneurial studies and agronomy, has a business concept that could revolutionize organic farming. Growing up on the family farm in Hubbard, Iowa, Ritland was well exposed to many facets of agriculture. He chose to attend Iowa State to maintain close proximity to the farm, allowing him to return and help out as needed.
Ritland has always been entrepreneurial, starting his first business at the age of 16. Start Something College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has proved to be a great fit to keep his entrepreneurial spirit alive while at college. Ritland has been involved with the Change-Maker Academy and is currently a member of the Student Incubator program. "I got involved with the Start Something CALS Student Incubator program to build a larger network of fellow entrepreneurs," he explains.
Ritland's current business idea involves extracting nitrogen from chicken litter for application in certified organic production. "Currently, farmers are using litter and manures and are overloading the soil with phosphorus. This leads to decreased yields. I take the nitrogen out of the manure so organic farmers can apply just the nitrogen," elaborates Ritland. His most recent advancement is perfecting the nitrogen extraction process. Looking to the future, he hopes to finish developing the process before producing and marketing the nitrogen to organic farmers.
As a past sales intern for Adaptive Environmental, Ritland learned advanced sales skills such as body language, non-verbals, paraverbals, and tonality. These skills will help him as he develops his own business. After graduation, he plans to return to the family farm, growing the operation while starting more companies.
We wish him the best of luck as he continues on his entrepreneurial journey!