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

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
StewardshipCTIC Granted Nearly $500,000 To Examine Benefits Of Cover Crops
October 17, 2013
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) has received a $482,000 Conservation Innovation Grant to study the benefits of cover crops. Read More

Trending Articles

EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More
CropLife 10013 Key Acquisitions Pinnacle Has Made In The First Half Of 2014
May 29, 2014
The only thing that has reached a more frenzied pace than #plant14 might be the multiple acquisitions that Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has made in the first half of the year. Read More

Latest News

EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More
FertilizerHow To Minimize Phosphorus Losses In Runoff
July 15, 2014
Phosphorus losses from agricultural fields can be divided into three categories: flash losses of soluble phosphorus, slow leak losses and erosion events. Here's how to minimize losses in each instance. Read More
ManagementCalifornia Drought Threatens To Dry Up Farm Wells
July 15, 2014
Farmers hit hardest by California's drought could begin to see wells run dry next year, according to a new study by The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Read More
Precision AgPoll: Do you plan to attend this year’s InfoAg Co…
July 14, 2014
This year’s InfoAg Conference is just two weeks away. The premier event in precision agriculture takes place July 29-31 at Read More
LegislationFarm Bill Implementation Continues
July 14, 2014
The bill provides $28 billion over the next five years for conservation on private lands while streamlining several old programs and creating new ones like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Continues Expansion Of Atmore Facility
July 14, 2014
The company has improved its molten sulphur unloading system to help meet increased sulphur demand at Tiger-Sul’s Atmore, AL, facility. Read More