2010 Environmental Respect Awards: The State Winners
These 17 retailers are recognized for their commitment to agricultural environmentalism.
July 13, 2010
DuPont would like to sincerely congratulate the 2010 EnvironmenÂtal Respect Award state winners as wonderful examples of an entire industry that demonstrates its stewardship every day in the course of serving farmer-customers.
Harvey Lyman Co., Walnut Grove, CA
Greg McCocker, manager for Harvey Lyman Co. in Walnut, CA, is always aware of environmental stewardship. According to him, it's part of the way of life in this part of the nation. "We live and work in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the world," says McCocker. "Our company leads the charge in caring for the heart of the Sacramento Delta." For its efforts, the retailer recently won a 2010 state honor in the Environmental Respect Awards program.
On the direct environmental front, Harvey Lyman has done all it can to protect the area's water supply. The outlet has constructed and implemented a double containment system for its bulk fertilizer and crop protection product tank farm storage and re-engineered load-out systems to ensure safer transfer and storage of all liquid products. The company also maintains a storm water retention and collection program.
Harvey Lyman also has several safety and security measures in place to deter theft and vandalism. These include fences, alarm systems, surveillance cameras, and on-site security. Annually, the company has the local fire department and law enforcement agents visit its facility for a tour.
Besides these measures, Harvey Lyman is also active in supporting local and regional non-profit organizations that specialize in environmental respect. This includes sponsorships for the North Delta Conservancy, the California Waterfowl Association, and Ducks Unlimited. The retailer also works closely with The Nature Conservancy to promote wildlife-friendly farming.
"We feel that mutual respect between ag business and our community is a vital reason for the success of our local agricultural industry," says McCocker. "Our environmental stewardship model is built on a foundation of dedicated, hard-working, conscientious employees who realize the importance and impact of our daily agronomic decisions."
Land View, Murtaugh, ID
On 5.5 acres in the small town of Murtaugh, ID, this Environmental Respect Award-winning facility was a grange hall, a private residence, and a hay storage facility before it was purchased by Land View, Inc. in 1999. According to Rod Merrigan, Magic Valley manager, the company strives to maintain and improve upon its facilities.
"At Land View, we believe actions speak louder than words," says Merrigan. "We believe having a well-maintained facility protects our employees and environment, enhances the community, and creates pride in the work environment."
According to Merrigan, after the property was purchased, it was reconstructed with two goals in mind: to protect the environment and to provide proper drainage.
All bulk products, chemicals, and liquid fertilizer are loaded and unloaded on bermed containment pads. Wash pads are bermed and sloped to allow for the collection and proper reuse of rinse water, and rainwater is contained on the property in two collection ponds. The heated crop protection storage building is recessed below ground level to create containment for the entire warehouse in case of natural disaster. The stainless steel storage tanks and loading station have separate containment and each tank has its own inbound line, outbound line, and pump. Bulk chemical is loaded into returnable, reusable containers by weight.
Outside of the physical structure, safety is enforced with employees daily. Land View's Safety and Emergency Action Plan is prominently displayed in the main office and is accessible to all employees. New employees are required to participate in a two-day safety training program and refresher classes are offered annually for all employees. The company's safety committee evaluates the working conditions, reviews accidents, and implements preventive practices.
"I believe that environmental respect is an every day choice that must be made automatically," says Merrigan. "The messages we send are about being safe every day, being prepared every day, and being involved every day. We must all make the right decisions every day, so that the next generation can take care of something they do not own."
Effingham-Clay Service Co., Sullivan, IL
This Sullivan, IL-based EnvironÂmenÂtal Respect Award state winner views environmental respect and safety as its number one focus.
"The top priority of our company is personal protection for our employees and the public, which also goes hand in hand with protecting the environment," says Terry Thomas, Effingham-Clay's North business manager. "We try to do this not only by training our employees and the community but by also practicing what we preach."
The facility strives to maintain an environment that is not affected by any of the products or supplies they handle. Personal protective equipment is supplied by the company and used by the employees to reduce exposure to materials. Employee exposure to chemicals is also limited by routing chemicals and liquid fertilizer through the piping and mixing process and loading it directly into the application equipment. Dry fertilizer is mixed with the most modern equipment and occurs in totally enclosed, roofed structures. All containers are pressure-rinsed and the water supply source is protected by a valve and an air gap at the top of the supply tank to eliminate back siphoning into the already-protected water supply line.
Positive articles on environmental safety and security are written in the company's monthly newsletters and the company offers demonstrations and displays of safety issues at farmer appreciation days and county fairs in the community.
"Environmental respect starts with the actions of every individual involved in the community," says Thomas. "If everyone knew their impact on the environment by all of the small things they do, it would make it easier for people and our community to maintain a clean and healthy environment."
Crop Production Services, Attica, IN
Stewardship is not only good business for this 2010 EnÂvironmental Respect Award state winner; it is an essential part of everything it does.
"Environmental respect is a broad concept and should not be restricted to the physical practices of our employees in the field," says Samuel Knott, location manager. "Good, sound practices that incorporate respect and general health must permeate through all our procedures."
The company accomplishes this goal by focusing on safety, security, and education. All loading and processing of dry fertilizer occurs indoors. The dry fertilizer building is equipped with heated aisles to reduce moisture in the building. A recently updated anhydrous ammonia platform allows more efficient and safe processing of ammonia wagons; and supply piping and transfer hoses have been installed for additional safety.
The location has a designated safety coordinator that addresses all regulatory, health, safety, and environmental issues. Each year, the facility's Emergency Action Plan is updated and all numbers are posted near phones for quick access in an emergency.
"Cultivating environmental stewardship is not only a corporate directive," says Knott. "It should be an individual directive for our staff, as the continued health and productivity of our surroundings has a direct relevance on our professional and individual well-being."
Crop Production Services, Henderson, KY
Grower-customers, community members, and employees — Crop Production Services in Henderson, KY, has a variety of stakeholders and audiences to serve.
"We feel that our customers and other businesses look to us for leadership and knowledge involving environmental issues," says Karl Wayne Dawson, manager. "As a leader in our agricultural community, we strive to be a business that sets the example for environmental respect."
The company does this in a variety of ways, from safety measures to community involvement. The location has updated, modern buildings for chemical and fertilizer storage. Each building has concrete floors and curbing for containment and all products, blenders, mixing, and load-outs are under roof. Pesticide jugs are triple-rinsed and punctured on the diked loading pad and chemical jugs are recycled during the county jug recycling day. To promote security, the location is well-lit and local police drive through the property each night. The location also conducts mock emergencies, such as anhydrous ammonia leaks, so all employees know how to handle a situation, should it occur.
Branch employees are actively involved with the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter and donate seed, chemical, and fertilizer to the FFA Test Plot. CPS Henderson also sponsors the Agriculturist of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award given by the local Chamber of Commerce.
"The land is an irreplaceable resource," says Dawson. "Therefore, our business operations must be continuously evaluated to ensure the sustainability of this resource. Agriculturalists will have to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population and stewardship of the land will continue to be crucial to our existence."
Crop Production Services, Thibodaux, LA
Water represents life, and this statement is no more true than in Louisiana. This southern state is home to thousands of acres of U.S. wetlands and lakes, teeming with all kinds of life.
Drew Gaudet, manager/sales for Crop Production Services (CPS) in Thibodaux is keenly aware of this fact — and has tried to keep water protection at the forefront of all of the company's activities. "The environment we live in is surrounded by water," says Gaudet. "A large number of people depend on the land and water for income, which supplies a lot of goods and food to most of the population. Because of the risk involved, continued education to the applicators and all who come in contact with these types of products is important."
Along these education lines, Gaudet has given presentations at an area high school, discussing how to read crop protection product labels and understand the safety and danger factors involved. "I speak about applying chemicals and calibrating sprayers so that the chemicals are applied properly," he says.
To ensure this level of safety at its location, CPS Thibodaux has taken several precautions with its crop protection products. These include keeping all of the outlet's bulk tanks under a roof and surrounding the warehouse with a 12-inch wall. The retailer also has secondary containment on all its bulk tanks.
For these efforts to protect the community's water resource, CPS Thibodaux was named a 2010 State Winner in the annual Environmental Respect Awards competition. "As long as everyone follows product safety, they will ensure the environment is safe and protected for future generations," says Gaudet. "We will be able to produce safe goods for a long time to come."
Crop Production Services, Mapleton, ME
Crop Production Services' Mapleton, ME, facility has three words for its community: Best management practices.
"The positive message this location wants to carry to our community is that agriculture is conducted following best management practices," says Doug Beaulieu, branch manager. "Our employees and customers are more knowledgeable about correct pesticide handling and application today than at any other time in history."
This state Environmental Respect-winning location backs this message up each day through rigorous safety and security measures. All liquid pesticide and fertilizer storage tanks are less than five years old and the containment floor and walls were covered with impervious coating during initial construction to assist in containment. All employees are trained in proper handling, storage, and shipping of hazardous materials. Technical representatives are knowledgeable in all areas of production beginning with soil fertility through harvest. A detailed, written emergency plan is in place and is displayed throughout the office and storage areas.
"I believe all decisions we make on a day-to-day basis can have a positive or negative impact," says Beaulieu. "The deciding factor is the degree of responsibility. The investment in environmental respect greatly increases the chance of long-term business viability. I want to conduct all actions within my control without causing harm to our employees, our customers, our neighbors, or the environment."
Crop Production Services, Melvin, MI
According to Ike Bisher, location manager at Crop Production Services' (CPS) Melvin, MI, branch, environmental respect at this state-winning facility comes through in the activities and approach of the staff.
"The Melvin facility has been fortunate in the fact that we have a core group of employees who have worked for and cared for the facility and community around it for a significant number of years," says Bisher. "These individuals have been the engines behind being good stewards of the environment and involved participants in the community."
The CPS Melvin staff is heavily involved in the community, participating in the Eastern Michigan Food Bank and the local Family Independence Agency, unloading trucks of food and distributing it to families at ThanksÂgiving and Christmas. EmployÂees are also active in the local 4-H, the local Melvin Boy Scout Troop, and the Agrium/CPS Corporate Outreach Program each year.
In addition to being good neighbors, employees work each day to enforce the company's safety and security procedures. Staff created a spill kit that allows responders to quickly load the equipment into the back of a truck for rapid response and CPS actively participates in the Michigan Department of Agriculture state recycling efforts. The facility uses a closed-circuit TV monitor to view the liquid fertilizer containment while staff operates the movement of material from inside the load-out building. The Melvin branch has also recently installed a new shop that can accommodate two pieces of equipment at the same time. The shop is fully contained and has hydronic radiant floor heating, which lowers utility bills and keeps the floors free of moisture.
"As a member of the community, it is important to us that we operate in a professional and appropriate manner in our relationship with our neighbors and the natural environment we work in every day," says Bisher.
Crop Production Services, Cooter, MO
Environmental stewardship has been a central focus of Crop Productions Services' Cooter, MO-based branch for 35 years. And its commitment to excellence shows.
Beginning as a family venture to fulfill local agriculture needs, this Environmental Respect Award state winning-facility evolved to become a well-recognized member of its community. Servicing cotton, soybean, wheat, corn, rice, and sorghum growers, the company works continuously to preserve and protect the environment.
"Our company has a large stake in the preservation of the environment and is dependent upon it for continued success," says Mark Brackin, warehouse manager. "Without viable, productive soil, our industry could not and would not survive."
The facility is partially fenced, with only one point of access which is patrolled by local law enforcement. Employees are trained in emergency procedures and customers are educated daily on changing seed varieties, biotech advances, and improved crop protection products. The loading area is cleaned frequently to prevent storm water contamination, and all liquid fertilizer and bulk pesticide tanks are contained to prevent contamination of the surrounding area.
"Environmental stewardship is essential for the very survival of not only the agricultural industry, but of each individual, in every walk of life," says Brackin. "Each person has an obligation to help maintain, preserve, and improve our land, waterways, and air so future generations may enjoy what we have been so fortunate to experience in our lifetime."
Ag Valley Coop, Edison, NE
A famous pop song claims that "our children are our future." Not surprisingly, this view is shared by 2010 Environmental Respect Award state winner Ag Valley Coop of Edison, NE. "Ag Valley Coop is one of the few businesses in the area that is investing in our future for generations to come — and doing it right, environmentally friendly," says Darrell Fellows, agronomy division manager for the company. "I believe we have reached the current generation of farm producers that plan to pass their operations on to the next generation."
To accomplish this, Ag Valley Coop has employed a two-pronged approach. In a direct way, the retailer is protecting the environment through its safety measures. These include providing employee training for custom applicators, operations personnel, and salespersons regarding crop protection products and having spill pans in place when unloading railcars at the facility. "Prior to the construction of this facility in 2007, I went in front of the city council and explained the environmental stewardship measures that we would put in place to ensure containment of fertilizer and agricultural chemicals throughout our facility," says Fellows. "The council has been satisfied and there have been no issues."
In addition to these direct measures, Ag Valley Coop has employed an active education program with the area's schoolchildren. Efforts here have included educating third graders on Arbor Day in conjunction with the Nebraska Extension Service and taking part in the Fumas County Safety Day, where company personnel explained crop protection safety to 200 fifth and sixth graders.
"It is our duty to ensure that our industry protects America's groundwater, sub-surface water, and soil for generations to come," says Fellows. "If everyone in this industry does not do their part, we as an industry will be regulated out of business."
Renville Elevator Co., Tolley, ND
Renville Elevator Co. in Tolley, ND, is very aware of its environment. The retailer is located in the center of North America's well-known "fly way," where millions of migratory waterfowl congregate each year. In fact, visitors to the outlet can view the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge to the east and the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge to the west.
"We understand the absolute necessity of respecting, preserving, and coexisting with our environment and with wildlife of all kinds," says Carl Zeltinger, general manager. "Our company's future depends in large part on environmental respect."
Much of this being a friend to nature attitude is reflected in Renville Elevator's operations. Although the company currently uses a rural water system, it is in the process of installing its own water conditioned well system to furnish clean spray water to Renville Elevator's custom application and grower-customers. "This new system is also capable of adding liquid nitrogen as a foliar feed," says Zeltinger. "This low burn formulation will allow our growers to more efficiently time their nitrogen needs, minimizing over-use of nitrogen on fields and residue into the environment."
The facility itself also features an environmental bent. Modern "green" technology is incorporated into the roof, says Zeltinger, using tension-span construction. This translucent Clear Span fabric roofing material requires zero artificial lighting during daylight hours, helping to minimize energy consumption.
Renville Elevator also does its part to aid continuing education. Every year, the company holds several grower training meetings in conjunction with North Dakota State University Extension personnel and invites crop protection product manufacturer representatives to its location to conduct training. For solid waste management, the retailer cooperates with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture by hosting the state's program for collection and disposal of old crop protection product containers.
"Our company and little town are pro-agriculture, pro-wildlife, and pro-environment," says Zeltinger. "We and our grower-customers are proof positive that a thriving and growing agricultural industry can coexist with and among a thriving and growing wildlife community."
Crop Production Services, Attica, OH
Inspired by his grandfather, Crop Consultant Brent Kagy remembers the lessons he learned as a young boy: how the waterways he helped install served to maintain the topsoil for future crops, and how the grassed areas served to protect the fish population.
"Most of all I learned that what I do today will affect those I care about for years to come," says Kagy. "As a young man I committed myself to the business of agriculture and I owe it to those before me to maintain its integrity."
Under his leadership, Crop ProducÂtion Services' Attica, OH, branch works to do just that. This state EnvironÂmenÂtal Respect Award-winning facility was built in 2006 with a focus on current and future environmental responsibility. All dry fertilizer and pesticide products are contained within sealed concrete. All containment areas and pits are sealed and kept free from unnecessary moisture. According to Kagy, during construction, the natural drainage of the area was changed so that rainwater was collected in a storage pond where it is tested, monitored, and applied in a way that ensures minimal environmental impact.
To secure the facility, vehicle access is restricted to one common driveway which can be easily monitored from the office and warehouse. Fertilizer tank valves and sight gauge valves are padlocked at night and product storage areas are monitored by electronic alarms sensitive to movement and fire risk. Anhydrous ammonia valves are padlocked and the company has taken an extra security measure that does not allow movement, transfer, or release of the product.
"As employees of CPS Attica, we are passionate about who we are and what we do," says Kagy. "We understand the role that agriculture plays in American life and we embrace our part in that role. We support the American farmer who feeds the world. At CPS Attica, our strength is our people, and our people tell our story."
Custer Farmers Coop, Custer City, OK
Given that its located in a small community of approximately 300 residents, an outside observer might conclude that life is relatively simple for Custer Farmers Coop, Custer City, OK, without much change. However, says Scott Lockhart, operations manager, that view would be wrong. In fact, he adds, change is always present at this small-town cooperative and its efforts to protect the environment.
"If we are ever satisfied with our accomplishments, then we are not moving forward to achieve new goals," says Lockhart. "We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on our facilities and we feel we have the best in western Oklahoma. However, even with the best facilities, we must continue to work hard with our education and training to keep up with our ever-changing world."
Of course, the one constant for Custer Farmers Coop has been its community. Agriculture is the main source of income for virtually everyone in the area, says Lockhart, and the cooperative has taken many precautions to ensure that the people and land they work on is safeguarded from harm. The company has one liquid fertilizer tank inside a concrete containment and three more that use liners or bladders as the first containment. "We are blessed to work for a very loyal customer base that always supports our efforts," he says. "With that support, we have built a business to supply our customer-owners with the products and services they need to be successful."
Custer Farmers Coop also works with Triangle Insurance Co. to handle its safety and compliance needs. "TriÂangle is in charge of training employees, filing proper paperwork with state and federal authorities, and routine site and safety evaluations," he says.
Ultimately, these efforts helped Custer Farmers Coop be named a 2010 state winner in the Environmental Respect Awards competition. According to Lockhart, this honor will only help the company strengthen its plans to keep the land and environment safe. "Our feelings on environmental respect have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and they continue to change daily," he says. "Every day, we are challenged in new ways to help save our environment from contamination, erosion, pollution, and other factors that we must help control."
Crop Protection Services, Orangeburg, SC
According to Scott Butler, branch manager for Crop ProÂtection Services (CPS) in OrangeÂburg, SC, agriculture is one of America's great industries. "America is unmatched in the world when it comes to agriculture, where so few people can feed so many," says Butler. "There is no option but to protect this industry with environmental stewardship."
To this end, CPS Orangeburg features eight bulk tanks with stainless steel lockable valves and a special fire room for flammable material storage. There are also containment walls around all tanks and load pads under the facility's loading area. "Our containment pad for off-loading can hold the whole tanker in case of a major emergency, with no possibility of contaminating the ground, water, or other areas of chemical storage," says Butler.
The retailer also works with its local fire department, bringing in firefighters at least once a year to help them become familiar with CPS Orangeburg's warehouse. For added protection, the outlet worked with the city of Orangeburg to install a fire hydrant just outside its front gate, which can be used to fight fires on its grounds or at the company's neighbors in the community as well.
The outlet has helped in other ways, too, including product tracking. "CPS has partnered with our suppliers to provide our customers with the technology to monitor the wash and cleaning waters to maintain the correct amount of disinfectant in these waters," says Butler.
For all these efforts, CPS Orangeburg was given a 2010 state honor in the Environmental Respect Awards program. "By educating and advising our customers with the right chemicals for that particular situation that will control weeds, diseases, and insects and still provide a safe product for the consumer," says Butler. "It is CPS' role to provide these products in such a way that it is environmentally safe for employees, our customers, and, in the end, for our American population."
Helena Chemical Co., Humboldt, TN
For Scott Love, location manager for Helena Chemical Co. in Humboldt, TN, being environmentally responsible is simply a matter of perseverance. "I believe environmental respect is a continual process," says Love. "Environmental respect is a process that can be taught, implemented, and carried out by everyone, from the retailer to grower. If you maintain and massage this process, it can be a well-oiled machine for years to come."
A 2010 state winner in the EnvironÂmental Respect Awards program, Helena Humboldt keeps its environmental message alive through associations with national and local organizations. These include being a charter member of the Ag Container Recycling Council and American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance through its parent company and donating money to local civic and charitable operations as an individual outlet. "These relationships help build community awareness in the area," says Love.
Helena Humboldt also takes many environment measures at its facility. These include making sure its containment for bulk product transfers can hold at least 1,000 gallons or 100% of the capacity of the largest crop protection product container being filled, as well as having a wellhead on site that is protected against back-siphoning.
"Environmental respect is an investment in my company's future because the more focused and aware of new regulations, standards, and programs we are, the sooner our company can evolve to the new environmental times," says Love. "Although we look at the current situation, taking a step back and looking at the big picture can keep us on the cutting edge."
Helena Chemical Co., Burkburnett, TX
At Helena Chemical in BurkburÂnett, TX, one of the main motivators for everything the company does is a sense of family, both corporate and community. "Helena Chemical believes in family," says James Reed, branch manager. "By following our own conscience and complying with environmental agencies, we can educate our customers and employees to be aware of their actions; therefore safeguarding the future of our families, whether involved in the farming community or otherwise."
To maintain this family image, Helena Burkburnett encourages its employees to not only provide professional assistance to neighboring growers and ranchers, but to the community as a whole.
"We strive to present a unified community by holding local grower meetings involving a variety of topics on the latest developments in farming," says Reed. "These meetings are open to all the community — homeowner or grower. By hosting the meetings and publishing articles in the local paper, we hope to reach out to anyone who is interested."
The sense of family extends into the company's operations as well. Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets are always available for employees and customers to review, adds Reed.
Helena Burkburnett also uses an independent company to conduct audits of its crop protection product storage practices and make recommendations on how these can be improved for safety. Considering all these factors, the retailer was awarded a 2010 state prize in the annual Environmental Respect Awards program.
"We believe that respecting the environment is a responsibility to be taken seriously," says Reed. "We strive to be a role model in creating a stewardship between Helena Chemical and our community."
Crop Production Services, Haynesville, VA
Bordered by the Potomac River on one side, the Rappahannock River on the other side, and the Chesapeake Bay on the end, Crop Production Services' Haynesville, VA, branch pays special attention to environmental stewardship and safety.
"Most everyone living on the Northern Neck has a farm field or water nearby," says Supervisor Mike Cockrell. "A majority of our jobs come from these resources. When you make your living off of the land or water, the environment around you is very important."
Less than two years ago, the facility updated the fertilizer containment area to include new walls and a synthetic liner. All valves for bulk pesticide tanks have stainless steel ball valves while the liquid fertilizer tanks use stainless steel locking butterfly valves. All fertilizer mixing is under roof and storm waters from the fertilizer containment area and load pad is pumped into a holding tank and used in the make-up water for liquid fertilizers.
To promote daily work safety, the branch has a designated safety coordinator responsible for all aspects of the company's safety and security programs. The company's "Handi-Plans," located near each phone, contain emergency procedures and phone numbers. They also contains a detailed map of the facility. An on-site spill kit contains Personal Protective Equipment for two responders and enough materials for cleaning up small spills, and each applicator vehicle and nurse truck has a safety equipment bag containing face shield, goggles, chemical resistant boots, gloves, suit, and dust mask.
"Our goal is to help the grower produce a crop without yield loss and without a negative environmental impact on the Chesapeake Bay region," says Cockrell.
Sfiligoj is the Editor for both CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines. He travels regularly to cover industry events and has been dedicated to the ag retail industry since he joined the staff in 2000.