Mid-April has arrived! In many parts of the country, spring has finally shown up and the agricultural community is busy getting ready for the upcoming 2011 planting season.
For some ag retailers, mid-April is also the time they think about entering their operations in the annual Environmental Respect Awards program. Sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and CropLife magazine, the Environmental Respect Awards gives dealerships with a positive approach to protecting the environment the chance to tell their stories and, in many cases, an opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments.
Now in its 21st year, the Environmental Respect Awards have grown in importance, says DuPont Crop Protection President Rik Miller, as the globe’s need for food, fuel, feed and fiber has. “As the needs of the world’s population increase, it becomes more important to meet those needs in an efficient and sustainable way, protecting every aspect of nature and making the most of each plot of land,” says Miller. “As the program enters its third decade of honoring distributors around the globe for their environmental initiatives, the evidence of success speaks for itself.”
Through the years, more than 5,000 U.S. businesses have participated in the program. This year, there are 40 entries to date, with more undoubtedly on the way.
For my part in the program, I am one of the lucky judges for this year’s event. I love the chance to read all the entries, feeling the excitement and pride that goes into each one of them. In particular, I love the photos. I remember vividly an image from a retailer in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike many of the dealerships I’ve visited over the year, which tend to be isolated from their communities by geographic boundaries, this one was next to a schoolyard. The image – showing children playing on monkey bars just across the street from a busy outlet distributing fertilizer and crop protection products – has remained with me all these years later, a perfect example of community stewardship.
If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to think about entering your operation in the Environmental Respect Awards competition. You can do so online by visiting www.environmentalrespect.com and clicking on the U.S. Retailers button, sub-section Enter. This year’s deadline for submissions is April 30.
And let me end this week’s column by saying good luck to all this year’s entries! I can hardly wait to see what great stories you have to tell in 2011!