Persistence Pays Off

Simplot Garry Rasmussen, DuPont Jason Gibson

In one sense, Simplot Grower Solutions in Berea, NE, winning an Environmental Re­spect Award is interesting, especially when you consider the company’s approach to stewardship. “When it comes to environmental stewardship, you don’t get second chances,” says Garry Rasmussen, supervisor for the outlet. “Everything you do has got to be done right the first time.”

However, when it comes to trying to win an Environmental Respect Award, Simplot Berea has taken second chances. After receiving a state honor back in 1999, the outlet has narrowly missed winning for several years since. In 2007, this persistence finally paid off with a regional honor.

“We are all very excited to win this award,” says Rasmussen. “Our outlet has put all its environmental practices into place because it was the right thing to do, but being recognized for our efforts is very gratifying nonetheless.”

According to Rasmussen, environmental stewardship has been a big part of Simplot Berea’s way of doing business since the facility first opened back in the early 1990s. Although it is located about 9 miles north of the town of Alliance, NE, the outlet has still taken extraordinary precautions when its comes to handling crop inputs.

Containing Containment

For instance, the company’s product tanks are inspected annually for any defects. All containment areas are power washed and resealed every fall. Perhaps most impressively, all liquid product offloading — which takes place at a railroad stop approximately one mile away from the facility — is transported via an underground piping system to the outlet’s holding tanks.

“These pipes are heavily reinforced to prevent leaks and have a double wall containment system in place, which is more of a safety precaution than state regulations call for,” says Rasmussen. “Also, the transport pipe’s off­loading end is located in a locked steel security cage to protect it against tampering.”

Other security measures at the outlet include the locking of all tank valves and warehouse doors, putting all Restricted Use crop protection products in a securely locked area of the chemical warehouse, and locking all entry gates onto the facility grounds during off hours.

Education Is Key

Besides these physical measures to protect the environment, Rasmussen believes that Simplot Berea has succeeded in its stewardship efforts in large part through education. “We have training every year for chemical storage and handling,” he says. “We also have two employees certified as HAZWOPPERS (Hazardous Work Operations and Emer­gency Responses).”

However, this education regiment extends far beyond the outlet’s own grounds. “We are always trying to instruct grower-customers on new products and procedures,” says Rasmussen. “We have many chemical meetings with our growers every year to try to help them with their crop needs and with the new water restrictions. We are having meetings to try to stress the importance of these new measures and the problems we will come up against in the future.”

Some of these issues have already come into play during the current growing season, he adds. With many more growers moving to a continuous corn model to take advantage of higher prices spurred by ethanol growth, Sim­plot Berea’s customers are running up against water restrictions brought on by a few years of lower than expected rainfall. “This means many growers have adopted no-till farming practices to conserve water,” says Rasmussen. “But this has put added pressure on our custom applicators to be careful in how we apply crop protection products and fertilizer, trying to keep inputs where they belong and not ending up on neighboring properties.”

Being Good Neighbors

This “protecting neighbors” approach extends into the community involvement Simplot Berea initiates each year. As part of its regular services, the outlet has a plastic compactor on-site, where all cleaned plastic containers can be crushed and readied for recycling. The company also sponsors students at the local high school in a work program, so they can get an idea of what it’s like to work at an ag retailer.

Most recently, Simplot Berea has embarked on a tree planting program, putting in a row of baby pine trees along the western edge of the facility’s grounds. “When these trees get bigger, they will not only provide our outlet with a wind block, but will look green and environmentally friendly for anyone visiting our area,” says Rasmussen.

Overall, he adds, this kind of long-range thinking will keep Simplot Ber­ea leading the environmental stewardship charge for years to come. “Here at Berea, we stress our company motto — nothing hits the ground unless it is properly applied,” says Rasmussen. “I feel it is very important to the future of ag and our business that we are instructing our customers and our employees in the proper way to use and apply chemicals to keep from having environmental issues.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

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
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

ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. 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
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More
ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More