Fresh Heir

McGregor building

In the history of the sports world, there have occasionally been those teams that thoroughly dominated their games by consistently winning championship after championship, usually for several years in a row. Examples of this include the 1950s New York Yankees in baseball, the 1960s Boston Celtics in basketball, and the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers in football. When this kind of domination occurs, observers usually refer to such teams as “dynasties.”

In the world of environmental stewardship, there is one retailer that appears to be making a case for dynasty status — The McGregor Co. Since the DuPont Crop Protection-sponsored Environmental Respect Awards program began back in 1991, this single retailer has had dozens of state winners and several regional winners. The past two years, the winners of the coveted National Environmental Re­spect Award have both sported the McGregor name. In 2005, the McGregor facility in Dayton, WA, earned the top honor. During the 2006 awards ceremony, the McGregor outlet in Garfield, WA, was the grand prize recipient.

“Every day, we are actively committed to safeguarding our natural resources,” said Ted Deerkop, area manager for the Garfield facility, when accepting the award. “It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts in protecting the environment. Our commitment to environmental stewardship is long term. It’s not just about what we do today, but what we can do to preserve, even improve, the environment for future generations.”

Company Owner Alex McGregor was equally pleased with the Environmen­tal Respect Award acknowledgement. “Ted and his team have gone to great lengths to make certain their facility is a good steward in the community by working hard and thinking outside the box with some of their solutions to environmental challenges.”

Starting At The Top

Given the role McGregor himself has played in his company’s environmental programs, this praise should come as no surprise. When he was first approached in the early 1990s by Pat McConnell, the then-manager of the McGregor Waitsburg, WA, outlet, about launching a companywide program to actively develop environmental stewardship initiatives at all outlets, McGregor jumped at the chance. Today, the program, using the title “Every Drop Counts,” is the guiding principle of doing business at each and every McGre­gor outlet.

“Following the ‘Every Drop Counts’ program has been a challenge at times, but it’s definitely the right thing to do,” says Deerkop. “We have to make certain we respect and take care of the land we have been given.”

Of course, for McGregor Garfield, this has presented its share of challenges, particularly since the outlet itself was originally constructed in the late 1950s — long before environmental stewardship was a key company tenet. In many cases, this has meant that in order to comply with modern environmental practices, McGregor Garfield has had to make some radical changes to the facility itself as well as the way it conducts business.

According to Deerkop, McGregor Garfield began down its road to environmental stewardship with container recycling. Originally, he says, the company used to stack thousands of 5-gallon tins on its facility grounds, crushing them flat once per season for collection. “To safeguard the groundwater and surrounding area while this pile was on-site, we installed a containment liner underneath everything to keep any incidentally spilled liquid from going where it wasn’t supposed to.”

Today, McGregor Garfield still collects discarded crop protection product jugs, but these are now primarily plastic and shredded as part of an annual recycling program coordinated with area grower-customers. “But the liner is still there, doing its job without fail,” says Deerkop.

In terms of a more “outside the box” solution to an environmental concern, take McGregor Garfield’s bulk tank containment and piping system. Not unlike other retail outlets, the facility’s bulk tank area has a concrete basin designed to capture up to 125% of the contents of its largest tank. But to seal this concrete, McGregor Garfield applied Semstone, a coating that was more expensive than traditional sealants, but possessed added durability. “Since the Semstone was applied in the 1990s, we had no problems with it whatsoever,” says Deerkop.

McGregor Garfield’s solution to the transport piping used in the bulk tank area was more of a radical departure from traditional retail outlet practices. Like other facilities, the outlet originally used PVC piping to move liquids from its bulk tanks to delivery vehicles. But according to Deerkop, these had a bad habit of cracking, leaving the containment area littered with numerous product puddles. When the outlet finally decided to replace the PVC piping rather than initiate another round of repairs, Deerkop looked to a different type of plastic to do the job — high-density polyethylene (HDPE). “Traditionally, HDPE shows up in many consumer products such as milk cartons and motor oil containers, but it hasn’t been traditionally used for retail transfer pipe,” he says.

But Deerkop realized that HDPE-made milk cartons and motor oil containers are able to maintain their flexibility under extreme heat and cold conditions without cracking, so using this plastic for piping “made tremendous sense.” As an added bonus, HDPE piping isn’t fitted together when assembled, but heat-welded. “This means that when you are finished with installation, you have one continuous piece of HDPE piping in place, not dozens of pipe sections with connecting joints,” says Deerkop.

Thus far, the gamble on HDPE piping has paid off for McGregor Garfield. “Since we first installed the pipe, we’ve never had a leak,” he says. “Plus, it’s flexible enough that you can bump into it and it won’t break or crack.”

Metal Tanks Of Honor

Another example of McGregor Gar­field’s eye toward environmental stewardship is the way the outlet handles its bulk crop protection products. While most retailers across the country utilize plastic shuttles, McGregor Garfield ships most of its chemicals in stainless steel tanks. “We’ve found the stainless steel tanks are much more durable than plastic, can be cleaned and reused easier, and are less likely to develop leaks,” says Deerkop.

Despite all its technical and product-oriented efforts, says Deerkop, McGregor Garfield wouldn’t have been able to build up and maintain its environmental stewardship programs without the help and support of the outlet’s employees. “For this to really work, you need to have 100% involvement from your workers,” he says. “In many cases, they are the ones dealing with grower-customer and our outlet issues at the ground level, so they are the ones that can make us aware of a problem and help us come up with a solution that will work. Without this kind of support, you will have no chance of maintaining an effective environmental program.”

Overall, he adds, the quest for complete environmental stewardship is a never-ending battle. “You have to keep the vision clear and continually update it,” says Deerkop. “You’ve got to keep going forward, as a manager, an outlet, and a company. You can’t ever assume you’ve done enough to be a good environment steward and just stop. You’ve got to keep going. That’s how McGregor has been able to keep producing new Environmental Respect winners year after year.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s ‘Unchartered Waters’ Quiz Via NatGeo
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Nebraska landscape Photo courtesy of Richard Hurd
ManagementNebraska Water: Another Opportunity To Sell Value
March 8, 2017
Keith Byerly has been an Advanced Cropping Systems (ACS) Manager with York, NE-headquartered, No. 13-ranked CropLife 100 retailer Central Valley Read More
Surface renewal station University of California, Davis
ManagementTechnology Vital In California Water Management
March 7, 2017
In this arid state, producers are exploring new ways to use water more efficiently. Drip irrigation, in particular, continues to Read More
Trending Articles
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Latest News
AGCO Ratliff featured
EquipmentAGCO Mourns Passing of Company Founder, Industry Vision…
April 25, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, mourns the passing of founder and former President, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsINNVICTIS CROP CARE Introduces VANDAL MOC Soybean Herbi…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has announced the U.S. EPA registration for VANDAL MOC, a combination of sulfentrazone plus metolachlor. VANDAL Read More
Kochia
HerbicidesINNVICTIS CROP CARE Launches STAVE Post-Emerge Broadlea…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has introduced STAVE as the newest addition to­ its expanding portfolio. STAVE will be a great Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Se…
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
BPIA logo
Seed/BiotechBPIA Files Comments with USDA
April 24, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) has filed comments with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Read More
Eric SfiligojHope for Application Equipment Sales
April 24, 2017
The old saying goes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” If this is indeed the case, then things may Read More
Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Crop InputsWhat do Roundup and Mickey Mouse Have in Common? Califo…
April 13, 2017
(SOURCE: East Valley Times) Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and many other weed killers, is being added Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSource: ChemChina to Divest Assets to Adama Following S…
April 11, 2017
China National Chemical Corp. plans to redistribute agrochemical assets to its Adama unit after the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta Read More
Farming drone air
Eric SfiligojThe Interest in UAVs for Agriculture Grows
April 10, 2017
At times, it seems as if experts have been predicting “big things” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for several years Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
Drone
EquipmentFarming Drones: The Future Of Agriculture?
April 7, 2017
Chances are, you already know drones are amazing. After all, this is something DroneLife readers just understand. But if you’re Read More