Voted Arcata’s 2017 Business of the Year

“Their service and expertise continue to exceed expectation. Joanna and Sarah are an invaluable asset to those they serve, and a pleasure to work with. If you are in need of real, valuable, professional insight into your soil’s needs, DBS is the clear choice.”
~ Michael Beck, Sales Manager – Royal Gold

Sarah Schuette: Soil Scientist and Co-Owner

Meet Sarah, Soil Scientist and Co-Owner of DBS. Sarah hails from Saint Paul, MN – she is one of thirteen. Sarah graduated from Humboldt State with a degree in Soil Science (minoring in Botany & GIS). This mathematician and chemist is dedicated to helping farmers grow healthy, sustainable crops and uses her skills in her own garden. When she’s not working in the lab or gardening, Sarah may be found making clean cannabis medicine, twirling in aerial silks, or hula hooping. She has a hidden talent of wiggling her ears (shh, don’t tell). “Soil and water are the foundation of life on this planet, without which none of us would be here.”

Joanna Berg: Soil Scientist and Co-Owner

Meet Joanna, Soil Scientist and Co-Owner of DBS. Joanna is from Minneapolis, MN and graduated from Humboldt State with a degree in Soil Science (minor in Watershed Management). Her passion to improve access to scientific and professional agriculture in the cannabis industry comes from years of working in the business. When she’s not hanging with her little boy, or walking her dog, Joanna may be jamming some West African percussion. Few know she plays some mean spoons (no joke). “Soil is life – know soil, know life. No soil, no life.”


Lauren Quackenbush: Soil Consultant

Meet Lauren, our Soil Consultant is a Humboldt State graduate with a degree in Soil Science, Lauren started studying literature at Whittier College, but hiking and soils had a stronger calling and won out. She grew up in Altadena CA and spent every fall hunting in Nebraska/Wyoming, ending up in Carson City, NV.  When not in the lab, Lauren is tending to her garden where she “grows everything.” She and her wife live with 2 dogs, 2 cats, a rabbit, a goose, 2 ducks, and 3 chickens…no partridge in a pear tree yet, but the two have a little girl due this year. “Soils are a personal passion, and a rich source of social metaphors.”

Jamie Schnably: Soil Consultant

Meet Jamie, our Soil Consultant is a West Virginia native with BS in Environmental Protection and MS in Soil Science. After graduating from West Virginia University Jamie worked in the field, ran an organic farm in Petrolia and taught Soil Science at Humboldt State. When she’s not in the lab, Jamie is outside running, hiking, beaching and playing with her wonderful son and dog. Hidden talents may be parallel parking (we have to see it to believe it). “Soil is everything. It gives life to everything either indirectly or directly.”


Steve Chowdhury: Lab Technician

Meet Steve, our Lab Technician is a Fairbanks Alaska native, Steve moved to warmer climates to get his degree in Chemistry from UCSB. He’s fascinated by science –  drug synthesis and biochemistry are his jam. When he’s not jamming in the lab, Steve can be seen & heard killing it on the guitar. He also sings, plays the bass, the violin and is passionate about classical guitar. “Nothing makes me happier than the fact that I can pursue chemistry and play music at the same time.”  

Lauren Smith: Lab Technician

Meet Lauren, our Lab Technician who got her BS in Biology from the University of Missouri, a.k.a Mizzou, and moved out to California to get her Masters in Biology from Humboldt State with an emphasis on eDNA and Herpetology.  She was born in Riverside, CA but lived in Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey before settling in Missouri. When not in the lab, Lauren can be found outside surfing, rock climbing, and gardening. She is getting married in September and has a dog, 2 cats and 1 snake. “Soil reminds me of two things I love: science and my garden.”

Zoe Merrill: Front Desk Administrator

Meet Zoe, our Front Desk Administrator is a Sun Valley, Idaho native, who grew up dreaming of working in the science industry,  and took to skiing at the age of 3.  If you call or stop by DBS to drop off samples, you will likely be greeted by Zoe. She graduated from Humboldt State with a degree in Soil Science, and has a Masters in Business Administration. Though she misses the snow “like a crazy person,” Zoe loves the many micro-climates in the Humboldt area. “Soil to me is life.”

Our Mission

Dirty Business Soil Consulting & Analysis (DBS) is a laboratory dedicated to providing premium agricultural testing and consulting services to the Northern California region. Our goal is to provide knowledge to help build a healthy self-reliant community. Our mission is to help people and businesses care for their local soil and water resources by providing an array of scientific services for customers at all knowledge and experience levels. We make science accessible to everyone.