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Producing Excellence

Tamera Campbell

Klamath, OR

Klamath Algae Products

Products: Blue Green Algae

Size of Operation: $5 – 10 million in sales annually

In Business Since: 1995

Farm Credit Partner: Northwest Farm Credit Services

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2007

Tamera Campbell became interested in algae in 1978, the year she met a scientist researching super foods for astronauts. The scientist had recently discovered a rare type of blue-green algae growing in southern Oregon’s Klamath Lake, near Campbell’s childhood home. What he found in the lake was no ordinary pond scum but a nutrient-rich superfood. Renowned in the nutraceutical industry for its beneficial properties, the blue-green algae is an anti-oxidant and a detoxification agent.

What happened next is what locals refer to as Klamath Lake’s “green rush.” Entrepreneurs flocked to the area looking to get rich quick. Most of them underestimated the challenges of harvesting algae. For 20 years, Tamera watched them come and go. But she and her husband, Michael, persevered, leveraging personal savings and credit cards to grow their algae harvesting, processing and distribution business.

In time, though, they reached the point at which further expansion would require a lender who understood their business—and the business owners. Tamera didn’t know if she was cut out to be a farmer, but Northwest Farm Credit Services decided that she was up to the challenge.

“We needed a lender to stand behind us, and Northwest Farm Credit listened,” Campbell recalls. “They looked deeper into our operation and asked lots of questions. To me, transparency is huge. We recognize the value of this relationship and we’re very grateful for it.”

Today, Tamera’s company, Klamath Algae Products, harvests, processes and markets premium, organic AFA algae products to 137 countries under the E3Live brand. The company employs more than 80 people, including a general manager experienced in lean manufacturing and keeping costs down. FedEx has even added a dedicated daily flight to transport their products abroad. In a place known for meat and potatoes, Tamera and Michael are bringing innovative ideas to agriculture.

Download a PDF version of this story here.