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.


Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

Dan Schaefer and Jason Solberg IFCA
StewardshipIllinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association: Tackling Water Quality Issues Through Partnerships
October 2, 2015
You’ve got to be doing something right if lots of people keep coming to you for advice. That’s what’s happening Read More
Crop InputsU.S. Court Finds EPA Erred In Approving Dow Insecticide
September 11, 2015
Yahoo News and Reuters are reporting that a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday that federal EPA regulators erred in Read More
StewardshipMaking A Difference In Ag Retail: 10 ‘Big Picture’ Things To Do In Less Than 15 Minutes
September 10, 2015
The summer of 2015 is in the books and kids are back in the classroom hitting the books. Summer flew Read More
California drought
StewardshipCalifornia Water Users Seeking Solutions
September 8, 2015
Volumes have been written, over just the last few years even, about the plight of California’s water supplies. The dialogue Read More
Top 100 Articles
Southern States Co-op Storefront
CropLife 100Southern States: Always Ag Authentic
October 1, 2015
If people were to judge a book by its cover when visiting Southern States Cooperative’s (SSC) Richmond, VA, corporate headquarters, Read More
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Latest News
EquipmentPrecision Tank & Equipment: 50 Years Of Growing
October 4, 2015
Looking out onto the production floor of the fiberglass/stainless steel tank manufacturing facility in Ligonier, IN, David Hemming, president/CEO for Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsScience & Strategy Spur Syngenta’s Crop Protection …
October 3, 2015
Developing a crop protection portfolio is a lot of science and a little serendipity. “There are a number of things Read More
Dan Schaefer and Jason Solberg IFCA
StewardshipIllinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association: Tacklin…
October 2, 2015
You’ve got to be doing something right if lots of people keep coming to you for advice. That’s what’s happening Read More
LegislationFall Fertilizer Transportation Could Be At Risk With Po…
October 1, 2015
Failure by Congress to extend the deadline for the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on the railroads could gridlock Read More
Weed ResistancePPO Resistant Pigweed Hits The Mid-South
October 1, 2015
If you’re a soybean grower already entangled in troublesome weed resistance in the state of Arkansas, Mississippi or Tennessee, you Read More
Weed ResistanceManagement Strategies That Worked In 2015
October 1, 2015
For better or worse, throughout many regions of the country 2015 provided the optimal growing season conditions for both crops, Read More
ManagementAn Update On CropLife America’s Meeting & The Outlo…
October 1, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review last week’s CropLife America Annual Meeting and how crop protection companies believe next Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
Weed ResistanceManaging Herbicide-Resistant Weeds: The Importance Of ‘…
October 1, 2015
As the problem of herbicide-resistant weeds has spread, crop protection product suppliers have charged their top researchers with coming up Read More
Adjuvants loading
Weed ResistanceAdjuvants Trending Up For Fighting Weed Resistance
October 1, 2015
Gone with the wind are the days when adding an adjuvant to the spray tank was looked at with major Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
Weed Resistance8 Best Management Practices For Spray Drift Control
October 1, 2015
Dr. Robert Wolf, Wolf Consulting & Research, LLC, Mahomet, IL, is one of the leading experts in drift management strategies. Read More
EquipmentUSC Releases New U-BATCH Treater
October 1, 2015
U-BATCH is one of the most versatile batch treaters on the market today, according to USC. Capable of treating most Read More
Southern States Co-op Storefront
CropLife 100Southern States: Always Ag Authentic
October 1, 2015
If people were to judge a book by its cover when visiting Southern States Cooperative’s (SSC) Richmond, VA, corporate headquarters, Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Names New Vice Presidents For P…
September 30, 2015
As farmers seek advanced, innovative ways to keep their operations profitable and efficient, companies must rise to the challenge to Read More
Tim Glenn, Dupont Crop Protection
Crop InputsDuPont Crop Protection Appoints New President
September 30, 2015
DuPont has named Timothy P. Glenn as president of its Crop Protection business effective October 1, succeeding Rik Miller who Read More
Industry NewsYargus Expands Sales Force With Two Hires
September 30, 2015
Renee Sauvageau and Mike Etter have joined the Yargus Manufacturing, Inc. Sales Team, as Territory Sales Managers. Renee joined Yargus Read More
BlendersYargus Introduces New Layco Rotary Drum Blenders
September 28, 2015
Yargus has introduced the new 13- and 16-ton capacity Rotary Drum Blenders that have one of the highest capacities in Read More
Eric SfiligojMACA Young Leaders Speak
September 28, 2015
For the past several years, one of the highlights of the annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting is hearing Read More
Screen capture of this week's Retail Week video featuring CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj and Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf as they examine the Ohio Farm Science Review and the CropLife 100.
ManagementOhio FSR Report And The Allure Of The iPad
September 24, 2015
Ohio Farm Science Review learnings and a CropLife 100 challenge from Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj in this edition Read More