By their nature, winners of Environmental Respect Awards are driven. Not only do these individuals and the companies they represent excel at environmental stewardship in their communities, but they never stop trying to improve upon this effort.
I witnessed this drive myself during last week’s Environmental Respect Award Celebration agenda. During this week-long event July 22 to July 26, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection in partnership with CropLife magazine, participants in the program and the seven global winners serving as Ambassadors of Respect had the opportunity to tour not only the nation’s capital, but a previous state and regional Environmental Respect Award ag retailer. This retailer, Willard Agri-Service in Lynch, MD, has been inviting current winners of Environmental Respect Awards to its operations for many years now to see all of the company’s stewardship efforts in the areas of liquid and dry fertilizer storage, crop protection product warehousing and mixing/blending.
“It’s always a special honor to have DuPont bring its Environmental Respect winners to see our facility,” said Willard’s Ken Frey, welcoming the 2013 class to his outlet. “We are very proud to have been honored with a pair of Environmental Respect Awards in the past, but it’s also nice to have people see what more we are trying to do to protect our environment.”
Even current Environmental Respect honorees have this “what more can I do?” attitude. For example, on the bus ride to the Willard facility, representatives from 2013 winner Wabash Valley Service Co., Allendale, IL, were already looking ahead to competing again.
“When can our outlet enter the Spirit Award competition?” asked Wabash’s Jeff Homan, plant manager. The Spirit Award is given to a previous Regional or National Award winning ag retailer that continues to show improvement in the area of environmental stewardship. I informed him the company needed to wait at least three years before it would be eligible for a Spirit of Respect Award.
“Then that’s what we will do,” said Homan. “We will enter the Spirit Award competition in 2016 so we can come back here and show everyone that our company is continuing to do its part to support environmental respect.”
I applaud such a positive attitude. And hopefully, other ag retailers will embrace this same “can-do” approach when it comes to their own stewardship efforts.