2009 ERA National Winner: Ingrained In The Environment

The Wabash Valley Service Co.’s Browns, IL, outlet is the 2009 National DuPont Environmental Respect Award Winner. A panel of expert judges selected the Wabash Valley winner from among entries received in this, the 19th year of competition.

The Browns facility is spread over 10 acres and includes the latest in physical plant design and technology to ensure an environmentally friendly operation. This full-service farm supply business has 34 employees who continually receive safety updates and training. Training includes an annual company-wide Safety Fair where participants cover everything from hazardous communication to dealing with community methamphetamine issues.

“We spend a lot of time training on safety and environmental stewardship,” says Mike Wilson, Webster Valley Service Center area marketing coordinator. “Every applicator who leaves this plant with a piece of equipment knows that they are the last word. If they get to the field and something is not right, they are trained to return and not continue the application.”

Each year local volunteer fire departments are invited to train on the Wabash Valley site. Browns employee Eric Shaw is a volunteer fireman for a local fire department and coordinates on-site training about the proper fire-emergency procedures for the products stored on the site.

“We also provide third-party training for all professional applicators in the company,” says Wilson. “The training is held in the spring and fall and includes calibration, weed identification, nozzle selection, spray and mix logs, and information about insurance claims.” The Wabash Valley application rigs are equipped with autosteer and multiple section boom shut-off controlled by computer mapping. “Our rigs have as-applied software that is great backup should there be any claims concerning our application accuracy,” he says.

“Technology has just made us more educated when it comes to making fertilizer and crop protection recommendations,” explains Wilson, a certified crop advisor (CCA). The Browns location employs six CCAs and depends on field scouting and integrated pest management to make product recommendations. “We do a lot of work overlaying yield maps with fertility maps,” he says. “If you use a yield map that says you took 200-bushel corn off an area, then experience tells you to replace the phosphate based upon that yield level. But when we overlay a soil test map over the yield map we often discover there is still plenty of available phosphate. We think we save the customer money and help protect the environment from overapplication.”

A New Facility

The award-winning facility was built from the ground up beginning in 2003. “We built this location one section at a time,” says Wilson. “We looked at maintaining environmental responsibility at every single step. Even the feed and seed warehouse is curbed and contained just in case we want to use it for another purpose down the road,” he says.

The liquid load-out building is equipped with a firewall in the ceiling and contains many fail-safe features for fire protection. “We’ve installed video monitoring with nine cameras and recording capabilities. The cameras may be accessed by any computer with a password on the Internet,” says Wilson.

The Wabash Valley load-out building maintains two large water tanks connected to the local water system. The tanks are fed by a 2-inch line, and a unique system of photo sensors protects against any chance of back siphoning. The building contains 12 4,300-gallon tanks and a computerized mixing system. The load-out area is designed for fast and safe turnaround of sprayers and nurse trucks. The modern dry fertilizer blending system eliminates fertilizer dust in the atmosphere. “We can blend 750 ton per day,” says Wilson. “We go through about 15,000 tons each fiscal year. The anhydrous load-out area includes two 18,000-gallon storage tanks.

“We are doing the right thing with our containment system,” says Wilson. “But every dealership has got to be doing the right thing or they aren’t going to be in business very long. Every business needs to do the right thing with equipment too, or they won’t be in business very long.

“What separates the good companies from the really good companies is what we are doing with people,” says Wilson. “It really boils down to people — employees, customers, and the community. If we do the right things with people, we are going to be successful.”

Wabash Valley is committed to helping people understand the effort it takes to feed and clothe the nation.

“Many of the employees at Browns are involved in the community, mostly through Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom program. They also serve on the local fair board, school board, as 4-H leaders, mentors in school programs, and in their local churches. As a company we donate money to support these programs and individuals,” he adds.

Wabash Valley employees are involved in civic organizations such as the Rotary. They are encouraged to speak about the industry and educate adult audiences on the methamphetamine problems that plague agriculture and public health.

“The message we carry is one of environmental stewardship; if we are to continue to feed ourselves and the world, we must protect our most vital resource, the land,” says Wilson.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
StewardshipBayer Lands Honor For Bee Care Center, Other Initiatives
June 3, 2014
Bayer Corp. has been named a 2014 Responsible Care Company of the Year by the American Chemistry Council, thanks in large part to its Drive Toward Zero initiative and North American Bayer Bee Care Center. Read More
StewardshipStrip-Tillage: A Sustainable Effort
March 3, 2014
As sustainable agriculture grows in popularity, interest in custom strip-tillage is growing. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
ManagementMissouri Experts: Spring Planting Slow Start Won’…
April 20, 2015
In the first of the agronomy teleconferences with Extension specialists, University of Missouri Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said the slow Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
Industry NewsCooperative CHS Reports Net Income Of $471.5 Million Fo…
April 20, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has announced company net income Read More
Industry NewsCHS Insurance Names New Director Of Sales
April 17, 2015
Bryan Lewis has been named director of sales for CHS Insurance, the nation’s largest agribusiness insurance broker and full-service insurance Read More
Mature Waterhemp in Corn
HerbicidesGenetic Literacy Project: There’s No Such Thing A…
April 17, 2015
Read the latest “analysis” on GMOs from Consumer Reports and you’ll “learn” that glyphosate, the chemical developed by Monsanto (its Read More
HerbicidesNew Resistance To 2,4-D Discovered In Australia
April 17, 2015
In a world-first case of herbicide resistance, researchers have confirmed that sowthistle weed in the south east of South Australia Read More
ManagementNews From RTP Company Visits and Growers Buying Older S…
April 16, 2015
Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss recent trips to the Research Triangle Park area and market seed sales trends. Read More
soybean field
StewardshipNew ASABE Standard Establishes Framework For Sustainabl…
April 16, 2015
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has initiated a project to develop a new standard to establish Read More
MicronutrientsSouthern States: An Inside Look At Our Tissue Sampling …
April 15, 2015
Remember learning about the food pyramid in school? The nutritional diagram recommends the proper amount of nutrients you need on Read More
Industry NewsArysta Adds New U.S. Fungicides Marketing Manager
April 15, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently hired Deneen Sebastian as its Marketing Manager for U.S. Row Crops, Fungicides. Most recently, Sebastian Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Launches Phosphite-Based Cereal Fungicide
April 14, 2015
A new, phosphite-based fungicide designed for improved suppression of deoxynivalenol (DON) in wheat and barley infected by Fusarium head blight Read More
Mature Waterhemp in Corn
HerbicidesSURVEY: Close To 90% Of Growers Battle Weed Resistance
April 14, 2015
Herbicide resistance management continues to be a priority for corn and soybean growers, and they’re working together more effectively to Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
StewardshipFMC Corp. Joins Sustainable Agriculture Alliance
April 14, 2015
FMC Corp. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to define, measure and Read More
Industry NewsArysta Adds Two To Goëmar Sales Team
April 14, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced two new additions to the Goëmar sales team: Steve Kelly, Technical Service Manager – Read More
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgVariable Rate Irrigation Gains Followers
April 14, 2015
Irrigation systems have had the ability to apply different amounts of water throughout a field for decades, using timers that Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Gr…
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsThree Ag Co-ops Poised For Possible Merger
April 13, 2015
Following months of study and preparations, the Board of Directors for United Farmers Coop (UFC), Farmers Elevator Cooperative (FEC) and Read More
Eric SfiligojAgriculture Braces For More Belt-Tightening
April 13, 2015
Spring is in full bloom across the U.S. and ag retailers and their grower-customers are busily getting into high gear. Read More