“Farmer Troy” brings honor to Ormoc with national DOST award
ORMOC CITY – “Farmer Troy,” as he is called fondly by his co-Rotarians, has brought honor to his family and Ormoc City, after he was named “Best DOST SETUP Adaptor 2016, in an awarding ceremony held on July 26 at the Executive Lounge, DOST in Bicutan, this week.
The Department of Science and Technology’s Best SETUP Award recognizes small enterprise entrepreneurs who are innovative in running their businesses, adapting a combination of technology, financial and management strategies to improve their lot, and at the same time, not only benefitting themselves but also the community.
“Farmer Troy” Bumagat, proprietor of Trophy Farms, admits that when his name was called to receive the top award, he was surprised. His other co-finalists were already running businesses, some of them into exporting, and that were employing more than 300 people and his was the “smallest.”
A contract grower for Bounty Agri-Ventures, Troy was recognized for his farming innovations to include inventing a UV light filtration system that reduces his poultry’s mortality rate, and innovating on his heating systems during brooding time leading to LPG savings by as much as 60 percent.
He would later learn from DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, who handed him the award, that he stood out among the other finalists as the only entry who was into food production. They were also impressed with his innovations and inventions, that they were urging him to apply for intellectual property rights (IPR) for his two inventions.
The other finalists, he was told, were mostly into processing already. Agri-sector particularly direct food production, he was told, was one area that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to put the spotlight on.
“Farmer Troy” qualified for a nomination to the award as a DOST SetUp or Small Enterprise Tech Upgrade beneficiary, after he availed of the agency’s services to lend him capital to revive his poultry business which was badly battered by Yolanda.
A victim of super-typhoon Yolanda, “Farmer Troy” is also the epitome of finding hope in the midst of a post-calamity economic landscape; of generosity begetting generosity.
He would get introduced into DOST’s SetUp program when he helped Leyte provincial DOST director John Glenn Ocana, who was a stranger to him them, bring his sick father to Cebu after Yolanda. Unfortunately, Ocaña’s father did not survive his sickness and he also helped the man bring back his father’s body home. That is when they became friends, and he learned of SetUp.
Troy, who was the president of the Rotary Club of Ormoc then, had to put aside his personal difficulties arising from Yolanda, and led his club in various emergency relief programs.
He would avail of SetUp’s loan facility later and amazed the agency when he was able to pay off his loan in only 11 months. Troy said he needed the additional capitalization for poultry equipment, after restoring his first building by mid-March of 2014.
It was after availing of SetUp’s loan and trainings that he began introducing his innovations and improved productivity and efficiency. He would then catch the attention of the agriculture sector.
In 2015, he was named “Most Outstanding Agri-Enterpreneur 2015” during the regional “Ugmad Awards” of the Visayas State University (VSU), a local university known for its agricultural programs. He was also named “ The Outstanding Farmer of the Year 2015” by JCI-Philippines and Harbest International.
Now, he is one of the three finalists to the Department of Agriculture’s “Gawad Saka” award, national level.
Not always a farmer
“Farmer Troy” was not always a farmer. He is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and served the Philippine Navy for 21 years, until his retirement in 2013. Before his retirement as Navy Captain at the age of 38, he was aide-de-camp to former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro.
A native of Los Baños, Laguna, his exposure to agriculture was limited to UP Los Baños, where he spent one year enrolled in agricultural engineering. Finding it was not his cup of tea (then), he enrolled with the PMA.
However, agriculture would beckon him, bringing him to where he is now. As he mulled at the possibility either retiring at an early age or continuing the long distance arrangement with his wife, Anna Abanes-Bumagat, and three daughters who are based here in Ormoc City, he turned into reading on what ventures he should go for, in case he took the retirement route.
He said that from his business readings, only poultry and livestock were showing increments, followed by sugar and tuna exports.
That is why, when he decided to retire, he read voraciously on agriculture and decided to “start small” but “dream big.”
“Maybe that is why I named the farm “Trophy Farms. Maybe, it reflected my pursuit for excellence,” he said. Trophy Farms, before it ventured into poultry, produced organic fertilizers through vermi-composting.
Just as he is now shining in the poultry industry, “Farmer Troy” also caught the eye of organic fertilizer producers and was elected president of a 50-strong Leyte Organic Fertilizer Producers’ organization, organized by the Department of Agriculture.
“Farmer Troy” was also awarded another personal “trophy” after his youthful retirement. His “coming home” gave him his son Tristan, now 2, who is a welcome addition to his daughters Amanda and Angela (twins) and the younger Athena.
The farmer-soldier is an inventor, too
The two technologies that would put “Farmer Troy” a class above the rest among this year’s finalists is his UV water filtration system and his innovation of his brooding systems, cutting the cost of LPG by as much as 60 percent.
Troy said that on a chance meeting with a co-poultry grower, he was told that water may be a primary factor in broiler raising. He then though of a simple system for his poultry’s water supply by employing UV filtration system. He researched on various ways and bought a cheaper version and put a UV lamp on the end, before the water finds its way to the birds.
To check how effective it was, he found out he had reduced his usual mortality rate from 5% to only 1 to 2%. His “invention” is now being used by co-farmers here in the city.
He also modified his heating system, using biomass to complement his LPG. From using 8 LPG tanks every grow cycle, he said, he now only uses 3, giving him savings of around P 182,000.00 a year.
He also improved on his management style, to improve his workers’ efficiency.
“Farmer Troy” is also proud to note that his poultry farm is “zero waste.” “This is important because poultry is high intensity farming. The impact on the environment is high and affects the community. We had to ensure it was culturally acceptable to the people, and to maintain sanitation, it should be zero waste,” he said.
To achieve zero waste, “Farmer Troy” said he has adopted the “tunnel vent” technology of growing poultry so that there would be less or no flies at all; and still produces organic fertilizers using the chicken dung they get from it.
With his “zero waste” farm, he is happy and the surrounding community, as well.
“Farmer Troy” has indeed come a long, long way. From bearing arms to defend the country, he is now growing chickens to feed the country.