Over a hundred area farmers and customers of Renville Elevator Co. gathered with elevator manager Carl Zeltinger and his staff recently to celebrate receiving the 2010 Environmental Respect Award for the state of North Dakota.
Doug Goehring, Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, made the official presentation. “You’re a shining example of the best of the best we have up here,” he told Zeltinger. “This shows how agriculture has continued to utilize resources responsibly and make a greater contribution to the production of food, fiber, feed and fuel.”
Goehring noted his opportunity to tour the facility with Zeltinger and Jim Gray, ND Department of Agriculture Fertilizer and Pesticide Division Director. “After viewing this, I wish I farmed about ten miles down the road here!” Goehring said.
“We’re proud of the Renville Elevator crew and of the things we’re trying to do to protect the environment,” said Hank Thilmony of Mayco Export, Inc., Minneapolis. “We want to farm this land well and preserve it for our children and grandchildren, and that’s the focus of this award.”
Bob Weigault with DuPont Crop Protection in Minot encouraged Zeltinger and the staff of Renville Elevator to apply for the award, citing the state-of-the-art facility and services offered with an eye toward environmental awareness and protection. “This agricultural business is in the middle of a concentration of wildlife refuges,” he told the crowd, “and we can still raise wonderful wheat, wonderful durum and wonderful canola.”
He also noted how the judges were impressed with Renville Elevator’s community involvement. “That’s a big part of this award,” he said, “and most of the ambulance crew and fire department is Renville Elevator Co.”
The Environmental Respect Awards, sponsored by CropLife magazine and DuPont Crop Protection, are considered among the agricultural industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. Agricultural retailers, those who serve farmers and ranchers with the nutrients, pest control and agronomic information and services critical to effective crop production.
– 2011 U.S. Entry Deadline: April 30 >> Learn more
Each year, a panel of industry experts gathers to recognize achievement in environmental stewardship, professional excellence and community involvement.
Renville Elevator Co. won the award based on excellence in site design, in-plant storage and handling procedures, proper application and leadership in safety and stewardship among customers and employees. The company has taken several steps to ensure the environmental impact of their business is minimal, with a state-of-the-art facility that employs modern, “green,” technology, venting to minimize condensation and dust, and computerization to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
“We understand the absolute necessity of respecting, preserving and co-existing with our environment,” said Zeltinger. “I feel honored to win this award. The work we are doing here is environmentally safe and we’re doing it correctly.”
The application for the Environmental Respect award was extensive, with Zeltinger and the staff responding to questions about every aspect of the elevator, including materials transfer and transport, storage, the processing/mixing area, water/rinsing, shops and fuels, safety and security, right-to-know regarding chemicals, contingency planning and regulatory compliance, services, professionalism, and community outreach.
Zeltinger explained Renville Elevator Co.’s emphasis on having each staff member licensed in chemical application, the design of the buildings and other facilities to contain any possible spills, and the company’s new sales of Environmentally Safe Nitrogen (ESN) with benefits to farmers as well as the ecosystem.
He praised his customers for their participation in training meetings and careful use of chemicals. “All the growers in this area know the risk of spraying chemicals,” he said. “I think they do a good job by not spraying the rivers and creeks. There have been no cases of water contamination here.”
Renville Elevator Co.’s award application mentioned how they operate the largest fertilizer plant in western North Dakota, their use of rural water with plans to install their own well system, several customer appreciation activities held annually, and the staff’s participation on the local ambulance service and volunteer fire department with grain grading manager Shawn Roering currently serving as fire chief.
The application particularly referenced the business’s operation in the center of the North American Central Flyway, with the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge located directly east of the Elevator and the Des Lacs NWR located west. Both refuges offer world class birding, and hundreds of thousands of migratory waterfowl move through the area during the spring and fall migrations.
“Renville Elevator customers’ fields are inundated every spring with numerous prairie potholes, comprising the nation’s Duck Factory,” Zeltinger wrote. “During a wet spring, a local area known as the Tolley Flats produces thousands of waterfowl during the hatch period. Our company and our farmer customers are proof positive that a thriving and growing agricultural industry can co-exist with and among a thriving and growing wildlife community.”
Zeltinger shook his head over the idea that Renville Elevator did anything special to receive the award. “In reality, this is everyday stuff,” he said. “We’re out here doing our job, and we must be doing it right.”
Weigault agreed. “The whole theme of what [Renville Elevator Co.] does here just embodies environmental respect,” he said. “This is one of those times when we in agriculture need to tell our story. We can feed the world and care for the environment. We can’t emphasize that enough.”
Zeltinger is happy that Renville Elevator Co. shares in that story. “Our company and little town is pro-agriculture, pro-wildlife and pro-environment,” he said. “We are proud to carry this message to any and all who will listen.”
(Source: KenmareND.com, By Caroline Downs)