Hattiesburg INC 500 company continues to recover after tornado

Hattiesburg INC 500 company continues to recover after tornado
Photo credit WDAM.
Photo credit WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A major Hattiesburg agricultural manufacturing company damaged in the Jan. 21 tornado continues its recovery as it meets demand for its product.

Bio Soil Enhancers, Inc. (BSEI) on James Street took a direct hit from the twister.

It sustained significant roof damage and had water damage to its labs.

Dozens of 250 and 300 gallon plastic product containers were also lost.

The company makes SumaGrow, a proprietary blend of microbes that increases crop yields and decreases dependence on chemical fertilizers.

It exports its products to about 40 different countries.

Company personnel said work was interrupted because of the storm, putting production behind about 2-3 weeks.

"We had to replace the ceilings in the lab and re-sterilize them, so we could take our stock cultures and begin the process of growing them back out again," said Sean McKeehan, general manager of Bio Soil Enhancers, Inc. "And we lost bacteria when the power was out. All the bacteria we had in shakers or in flasks, which is temperature sensitive, also requires steady motion, all of that was lost."

But, the company is recovering, according to Aimee Murry, manager of public relations, marketing and communications for Bio Soil Enhancers, Inc.

"We are fully operational," she said.

"As long as we can continue to scale up production like we need to scale up production for our busy upcoming season and for the future contracts that we have coming our way, then we're good," said Murry.

Murry expects the company to grow by 50 percent this year.

Inc. Magazine has listed it among the fastest growing manufacturing companies in the country.