South Dakota Wheat Growers: Respecting The River
On its winding path through South Dakota, the Missouri River cuts a wider profile as it flows past the city of Chamberlain, the home of the regional Environmental Respect Award winning outlet operated by South Dakota Wheat Growers (SDWG).
The river dictates how ag retail locations work here — care must be taken to keep inputs properly stored, protected and applied so they do not enter the watershed. And Location Manager Jim Banken says that protecting the environment in the area has always been a key aspect of decision making and business operations at SDWG.
“Protecting the environment is not just an investment for our company’s future,” says Banken, “it is an investment in the future of agriculture as a whole. The agriculture industry needs to take the lead in protecting our environment by showing that we are true caretakers of the land.
“We can show this by having practices that are in the best interests of the producer as well as the environment through proper application of both fertilizer and chemicals, along with proper tillage practices to prevent runoff,” he continues.
Agronomically, SDWG has implemented a program called MZB, short for Management Zone Base. It allows them to divide fields into zones by soil type and properly apply fertilizer to address crop needs without over-applying to less productive ground. This “feed the winners” approach helps to minimize the risk of leaching and runoff of fertilizer and provides a benefit to both the producer and the environment, says Banken.
Doing Area Service
Service to community is also critically important. With the persistent threat of flooding in the area and the potential for all sorts of agriculture and non-agriculture related accidents always around, SDWG shares its employee’s skills and talents through its Technical Rescue Team and Emergency Response Trailer.
Employees will do tasks both large and small in service to Chamberlain residents and businesses, from filling and stacking sandbags to hold back the river to descending into a grain bin to rescue a trapped farmer.
“Our employees demonstrated the teamwork we’ve worked hard to groom, the social responsibility we take great pride in, and all while loading applicators, spreading fields, fighting road restrictions and maintaining the high level of safety we expect every day,” says Banken.