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
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
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
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
“Things that grow in castings retain moisture longer,” he
More information about Worm Haven can be found on the farm’s