No Gambling Here

Silverado Tanks FacilityLindsay Dixon, field consultant, looks at the activity around the loading pad, puts her hands in her jacket pockets and smiles. “It’s unusual to see so many of these guys here,” she says, “but since it’s so wet they aren’t out spraying today.”

Here in Yerington, NV, home to Silverado Ranch Supply, surprise moisture is indeed a rare occurance. Average rainfall for the area runs about 4 inches per year. This day, though, marks another day in a pattern that has delivered 2 inches of rain — half a typical year’s supply — within the 10 days just past.

“Growers are holding their water,” says Bill Chounet, Silverado owner-operator. “They’ve already paid for their irrigation water.”

It’s just another day of managing crop production variables for Chounet. He started this business in western Nevada two decades ago after moving over the Sierra Nevada mountains from California. Concerned with the difficulty vegetable growers had in getting quality inputs and service here in Lyon County, Chounet began to warehouse fertilizer and sell crop protection products to growers along with recommendations. The business has grown into three companies: Silverado Ranch Supply, Advanced Applications, and PROfessional Agronomic Consulting.

A Diverse Market

There are thousands of acres of lettuce and onions under Silverado’s care. There are also dozens of fields of other crops including garlic, baby leaf spinach, and alfalfa.

“We help raise the stuff that goes into the bagged salad you see at the grocery store,” explains Chounet.

The company has now been certified with a “NutriClean” status for adherence to strict protocols for inspection, sampling, and testing of product purity.

“Lindsay (Dixon) will do all the food safety (tissue) sampling and she will organize it to help growers gain certification for organic produce if desired,” Chounet explains. To him it’s another part of being proactive, staying on top of the regulations and exceeding customer expectations.

“It’s like, no one told us to build containment or put up a fence — we’ve done these things voluntarily,” says Chounet. “And I think we have a great relationship with the state agencies and local officials because we’ve been proactive.”

Dry fertilizer is under roof, and liquid fertilizer and chemicals are diked and contained. The entire yard is fenced and containment is planned for the runoff of the whole site, just to make sure. After learning there was no program to recycle containers in Nevada, Chounet engineered a proposal and located a grant to get started. Containers are now recycled.

Chounet’s ingenuity is on display when he gets that little something extra out of his customer-appreciation dinner. Chounet includes everyone in supporting the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club. The Club does the food, Chounet pays the bill, plus 30% on top for the service and he encourages his suppliers to contribute, too. And in the midst of it, all his customers get a great meal and are made part of the community spirit. “I suppose the Boys and Girls Club ends up netting $5,000 or $6,000 for the deal,” he says.

Chounet says any success he has is really about his people. “I’ve got loyal people and that’s something I look for,” he says. “I have a few tough requirements.” Like: all field staff need to get an applicator license. And most field staff get a HAZMAT license so they can haul any of these products Silverado handles. And, he says, ” we do a lot of meetings” on the different crops — alfalfa, garlic, onions, and so on.

“I don’t want attendees here,” says Chounet. ” I want participants. I want my people to have a passion for service and a passion for crop production. We attempt to gain as professional of people as we can get — we really stress on any job we do being aware of the environment and also the grower. We GPS-map all the growers’ fields so we don’t make any mistakes in application. This business is not any one specific thing. I think it’s more important to have an attitude for it. An attitude that carries into anything you do.”

Spend a day with Chounet and his passion is easy to see. He’s the guy at the town lunch spot that everyone knows has a joke. It seems that everyone has his cell phone number. Questions about application. Scouting. A plane trip to California to check a field or countless other tasks. All taken in stride, all part of the program.

“There’s no way I really want to stop,” he says. “I love what we are doing out here.”

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 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More