Ultra Yield Solutions

This interview details Ultra Yield Solutions, an indoor farming technology company based in the United States. The interview is with Andy Montgomery, President of Ultra Yield Solutions.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

What is the origin story of Ultra Yield Solutions?

Ultra Yield Solutions is a leading horticultural lighting and energy management provider, serving small to mid-sized CEA facilities. It started with Chris Brown, CEO of an extremely successful, four-generation national lighting and electrical distributor (Wiedenbach-Brown). Chris was excited by the technical advances in LED lighting and found the developments of the technology too compelling to retire. 

In the meantime, I helped launch a grow light company called Edisun Grow Lights and developed expertise with the technology, manufacturing and supply chain realities, and field sales associated with this category. A few others were part of the original team, all of whom added quite of bit of expertise and passion to our launch last year.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Ultra Yield Solutions in the future? 

Not just facing UYS, but the entire category.

One is lead time. These are expensive fixtures representing the cornerstone of indoor horticulture. Remember, traditional lights are for the convenience of people to see. If it’s not quite right, it won’t dramatically affect human productivity. In horticulture, you jeopardize your entire crop and long-term viability if the lighting is not exactly perfect in terms of crop needs, spectrum (wavelengths of light), intensity, duration, not to mention the intimate interaction with temperature changes, humidity, fertilization, ambient daylight (for greenhouses), and so much more. This complexity means lead times can be well over one year.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

Another is pricing. Remember, farmers work on thin margins and indoor-grown organic lettuce does not cost that much more than field-farmed lettuce. One LED fixture can cost more than $900, and some facilities need 1000 lights. That’s $900,000 just for lights! Add in controls, HVAC, irrigation and fertilizing (called fertigation), the structure, and the investment required to become an indoor farmer is enormous. That’s why our model is so different. We offer lighting and controls from several manufacturers, solar and energy storage solutions, funding programs, and more. We help smaller growers maximize yield and minimize expense.  

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

The third is training and manpower. To get to the small-to mid-sized farmer, we rely on direct sales and referrals. Many times, referrals come from electrical contractors or regional distributors who know lots about traditional lighting and installation, but nothing about farming. Given the critical nature of lighting to the farmer’s success, these suppliers don’t have the base knowledge or product offering to be relevant to this growing target. That’s where we come in. We help these companies become experts and leverage our product line and services to help them sell.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

What is unique about Ultra Yield Solutions compared to competitors? 

We’re very different so we do not have direct providers that can provide everything needed by the small and mid-sized indoor grower.  

Remember, smaller farmers do NOT have a team of system experts on staff. Meaning, they need to be farmer and technician at the same time, yet don’t really have time for the latter role. That’s where our offering is most helpful. We aggregate all aspects of their lighting requirements (lighting, controls, installation, solar/storage, financing, rebates) to make it easy on them. Plus, these farmers are everywhere and not getting the attention they deserve. 

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

We’re a distributor, not a manufacturer. That means we’re not just selling what we make but can recommend a variety of solutions and price points to meet the unique needs of the grower. Some are more cannabis focused. Others are strawberries and peppers. Some are fully indoor, while others are greenhouses. Each crop and facility-type has its own product form factor, spectrum, and intensity reality. One manufacturer cannot cover all the options. Plus, we help with financing, microgrid, rebates, government grants, and a whole assortment of services that manufacturers don’t cover.  

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc.? 

We measure impact by the number of indoor growers we serve.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

What have you learned that you wish you knew when you started the company? 

I wish we had known more about the complexities involved with all these aspects. We knew our business model was needed, but coordinating all these critical aspects was easier said than done.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

How can people connect with you or learn more about Ultra Yield Solutions? 


Visit us at our website or check us out on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Source: Ultra Yield Solutions

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