Rolling On The River

Jim Swinney, Posey County Co-op

Mt. Vernon, IN is not your typical small Midwestern town. Nestled along the Ohio River about 50 miles upstream from its confluence with the Wabash at Indiana’s “toe,” the city features a sizeable port that has drawn world-class manufacturing and distribution centers.

This means that unlike most Mid­west farming communities, the local cooperative — Posey County Co-op — is not the biggest fish in the industrial pond. But it still considers its responsibility to be environmental stewards to the community to be paramount, says Jim Swinney, general manager.

Posey County Co-op’s journey toward becoming a Regional Award winner began back in 1991, when the Board of Trustees established a new mission statement: “To be the premier provider of goods and service at competitive prices to customers while considering the ever-changing needs of agriculture, our trade area, and being stewards of the environment, and also while preserving the financial welfare of the association.”

The headquarters location is a few blocks from the heart of downtown Mt. Vernon, and at one time the cooperative board looked seriously into moving out into the country. But the decision was made to stay put, buy parcels and expand on the current site. This would mean even greater attention to detail as the renovation was planned and constructed.

We made a concerted effort, not just to comply with the law but go above and beyond,” says Swinney. “We wanted employees to understand that protecting the environment is a priority, and we try to establish an atmosphere of environmental responsibility.”

The facility underwent significant improvement and expansion in all aspects of the business. A new fertilizer storage facility provides completely covered loading and unloading, and enough open bay space to store several of the location’s spreaders.

The chemical facility is completely enclosed and diked, and loading is also under cover. The fuel storage area is amply diked and loading is likewise performed under a roof. Inside the fuel storage diking, a special filter pump gathers up rain water and separates out any  fuel, then discharges the clean water outside.

Ideas That Work
Creating the culture of stewardship has led to some good ideas for Posey County Co-op. Here are some that are working for them:
  • Recovery Vehicle. This specially equipped trailer contains everything that would be needed in the event of a spill. Swinney says that they will respond to any spill call, be it one of their own, a grower, or a competitor. “We can’t have environmental problems around here,” he says. “Being so close to the river, the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is very active around here, and quick response is demanded.”
  • Safety Specialist. One member of the Posey County Co-op staff has been designated the safety specialist. He acts as liaison to the local emergency planning committee, and coordinates internal training and safety activities at the cooperative.
  • Rewarding Stewardship. Incen­tives are provided, both on an individual and divisional basis, for consecutive days without incidents.
  • Appreciation Day. Posey County Co-op hosts an annual event that everyone in the town may attend, featuring food, fun, and a sharing with the community of what the company does for the city, farmers, and agriculture in the area.
  • Community Involvement. Be­sides being highly active in 4-H and FFA, Posey County Co-op participates in educational activities at the high schools, and donates time and money to charitable causes such as the American Cancer Society Relay For Life and the Community Foundation Alliance. And Swinney has been active in professional groups, serving a stint as president of the Chamber of Commerce for Mt. Vernon and as a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
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

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More