A few weeks ago in late March, ag industry leaders gathered at our headquarters in Willoughby, OH, for a very important cause. It was time to judge the 100 or so entries in the annual Environmental Respect Awards competition, sponsored by CropLife magazine and DuPont Crop Protection. When the reading of entry forms was complete, there were numerous state winners chosen, along with five regional winners, one spirit winner (awarded to a previous winner that has continued to improve upon its stewardship efforts) and a vegetation management winner. Over the next weeks of April, winners were notified of these honors by our staff and their DuPont representatives.
Now the fun part begins. During the month of May, CropLife staff members will spread out across the country to visit the top winners, take videos and pictures of their accomplishments and document their stories in print and online. These will be told with individual touches and one-on-one interviews in the July edition of our magazine and a week-long celebration in Washington, DC, where the one national winner will be announced and honored.
I can honestly say that as impressive as some of the Environmental Respect Award entry forms are to read and judge, nothing comes close to making me appreciate how special these ag retailers are when visiting these operations in person. In 2011, for example, I thought it sounded interesting that one regional winner, Crop Production Services in Washington Court House, OH, had planted trees to “filter” the facility’s runoff water. However, seeing this grove of baby trees for myself on my trip to this outlet, sitting right next to a creek that flows through the surrounding area, made me appreciate just how important this effort was to the people of the community.
So be sure to check out our July issue and associated Websites to read the winners stories for yourself. And if you happen to be in an area where a winner is located, stop in to see what makes this breed of ag retailers good environmental stewards for our entire industry to honor.