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
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 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Frogeye Leaf Spot on soybean
FungicidesFungicides Promising Yield Bumps In Tough Times
February 1, 2015
Some exciting newcomers should make selling fungicides easier. Read More
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More