Matthew Roberts displays worms that have just been processed to sort out the creature’s castings. He and Bill Dake (right) are employed by Worm Haven LLC, which is owned by Dennis Vaught.
Matthew Roberts displays worms that have just been processed to sort out the creature’s castings. He and Bill Dake (right) are employed by Worm Haven LLC, which is owned by Dennis Vaught.

FRANKLIN, Ind. — The agriculture industry offers a wide range of opportunities for producers, and it is not limited to just those who raise livestock or grow grain crops.

Dennis Vaught is a perfect example. He owns Worm Haven LLC, which markets worm castings that are produced by the thousands of worms he raises.

In 2008, Vaught started his new venture with the renovation of a lean-to — complete with an environmentally controlled room for the worms — that was located on the family farm where he grew up, as well as the land he inherited when his father passed away.

“Worms need to be kept in an environment-controlled atmosphere of 72 degrees,” he said.

Vaught added that although some species of worms, whether cultured or hybrid, can withstand temperatures of up to 115 degrees, they do not like cold weather and will not thrive in low temperatures.

“Seventy-two degrees is the best for the worms to eat, leave castings and make young,” he said.

Although, Vaught still is in the process of repopulating his supply, he currently has about 480,000 worms and is hatching new ones weekly.

The worms are fed a special mixture of peat moss that is blended with grains and pulverized, making it easier for them to digest.

“Worms eat their weight in food everyday,” Vaught explained.

He noted that the worms, which are kept in buckets, will eat through a 10-pound bucket of feed in 10 days, and then they are processed through the harvester to sort out the castings, before being placed in a new pan of feed to begin the cycle all over again.

Vaught stressed that caring for the creatures happens seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“They have to eat, be changed and kept clean. They don’t care about holidays,” he said, adding that taking care of the worms is animal husbandry at its best.

Vaught mentioned that the use of worm castings for planting is beneficial because it offers growers the chance to be green, and it’s 100-percent organic.

“Things that grow in castings retain moisture longer,” he said.

More information about Worm Haven can be found on the farm’s Facebook page.