When John and Rob DeMarco started Agrochem a decade ago, the business aiming to make better sanitizing products for dairy operations occupied a small trailer parked outside of a warehouse at the W.J. Grande Industrial Park.
The father-and-son duo saw a need for chemical innovation in a state that has an agricultural market heavily focused on dairy production. With John DeMarco’s background in chemistry, they set to work producing cleaners, sanitizers and animal health drugs for the dairy industry.
Soon the business was large enough to move into the warehouse. Now, Agrochem has taken over the entire 30,000-square-foot space once occupied by three tenants.
And they’re expecting to need more. Agrochem, now recording between $10 million and $20 million in annual sales, is proposing a 5,000-square-foot expansion.
Though the actual footprint of the building won’t expand too dramatically, Rob DeMarco said the project now before the Saratoga Springs Planning Board will rework the interior to allow for growth in the near future. In specific, he said the project will help utilize more space inside so that the company can produce more product and move its annual sales into the range of $20 million to $25 million.
“It’s taking a big chunk [of the building] and making it into usable manufacturing space and more functional,” he said Wednesday.
Milk is New York’s leading agricultural product and accounts for one-half of total agricultural receipts. Production in 2012 was 13.2 billion pounds with a preliminary value of $2.56 billion, making New York the nation’s fourth-leading dairy producer, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.
That means big business for companies like Agrochem. The company produces products such as HealMax, an ecologically friendly replacement for chemicals farmers use to prevent the spread of hoof-related diseases; and a teat-dip used to prevent bacterial infections during the milking process, but lacking undesirable chemical detergents that can become concentrated in powdered milk.
The company is now planning a new division to produce peracetic acid, an organic compound that is now being used to replace chlorine. With expansion on the horizon, the DeMarcos also foresee expanding their workforce of 25 to add additional production personnel and staff for an administrative office.
The elder DeMarco once owned and operated ArtCo Chemical Inc. in Albany, while his son worked in finance in New York City. Though neither had a background in agriculture, they figured they’d use applied sciences to help bring better products online for New York’s booming dairy industry.
“It’s a market where there are dairy farms tucked throughout the state,” Rob DeMarco said.
Agrochem now ships around the world and hold patents in three countries. The DeMarcos hope the proposed expansion will help them stay in Saratoga Springs and continue growing their business.
“If we can make this building work for us, that’s what makes sense for us,” he said.