For Michelle Schimke, agronomy manager for South Dakota Wheat Growers in Wolsey, SD, the old proverb “we do not inherit the land from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children” is how every business should approach environmental stewardship. “This proverb says it all,” says Schimke. “If we do not respect the environment and our commitment to the future of our children and our children’s children, we are shrieking a nearly sacred trust. Only through the proper care and respect of our environment today can we ensure our ability to produce the crops needed to feed a hungry world now and into the future.”
At its facility, South Dakota Wheat Growers makes certain to include all its employees on this process, particularly when it comes to safety. Not only are employees instructed how to properly use personal protection equipment, but they are kept updated on all safety-related training, along with training for local emergency response teams.
In terms of community involvement, South Dakota Wheat Growers provides information to patrons through a series of grower meetings, open houses and appreciation dinners. The company also sponsors the local youth girls in sporting activities.
Then there’s the company’s internship program. “We have developed one of the most active college internship programs in the state for wheat growers,” says Schimke. “This program provides students with the opportunity to learn and apply that knowledge in the real world so they can help growers make cropping decisions and adhere to the latest environmental safety and stewardship practices. College campuses look forward to our recruiting visits with their students about the long-term opportunities with agriculture.”
Note: South Dakota Wheat Growers was a 2011 state Environmental Respect Award winner. For more information on this program, which is sponsored by DuPont, click here.