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

Chesapeake Bay
StewardshipKeeping A Watch On Water Issues
February 2, 2016
During a down cycle in the market, it’s difficult to think about investing for the long term. For retail businesses, Read More
FertilizerFort Wayne 4R Farming Event Set For February 12
January 29, 2016
The Nutrient Stewardship Council will host a complimentary “4R Farming 4 Sustainability” educational workshop Feb. 12 in Fort Wayne, IN, Read More
LegislationARA, TFI: Retailers Urged to Consider PSM Compliance
January 20, 2016
In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised Interim Enforcement Policy addressing enforcement of Process Safety Read More
StewardshipIowa Water Task Force: Give Farmers Cheap Loans To Incentivize Conservation
January 15, 2016
A task force designated to find solutions to Iowa’s water quality problems says the state should offer low-interest loans or Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More