In recent years, agriculture has had its share of critics. Special interest groups have questioned the industry’s ability to protect the general public, lawmakers have imposed ever-stricter regulations on some sectors and researchers have blamed various environmental evils on common agriculture practices such as applying fertilizer to fields.
However, last week in Washington, DC, the ag retail industry had a chance to shine above all its naysayers. Approximately 90 individuals representing the ag retail industries, both domestic and international, gathered for one week to celebrate environmental stewardship stories at their best.
“We need to have more good news stories to share with everyone on the planet,” said K. Elliott Nowels of Meister Media Worldwide, who helped found the Environmental Respect Awards program 21 years ago with sponsorship from DuPont Crop Protection. “It’s thanks to your efforts in doing what’s right environmental that we are able to spread our important message of stewardship with a broad audience.”
On Thursday evening, July 14, the five regional finalists competed for the top National prize. This was awarded to United Cooperative of South Beaver Dam, WI. “This is a team effort,” said David Cramer, president/CEO of United Cooperative, accepting the trophy. “I would like to thank our employees for making this possible. Also, since our company is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, winning this award is the frosting on the cake for us.”
But spreading the good word about environmental stewardship is only part of the equation. One DuPont representative, Francis Beling, told attendees how his regional winner, Tyree Ag, helps the surrounding community as well. “Owner Tim Tyree has two planes he uses for custom application work,” said Beling. “But when wildfires become a problem, Tim will load up both of his planes with water and help the local firefighters battle them.”
Again, congratulations to all the winners of the 2011 Environmental Respect Awards. Keep up the good works!