Spirit Award Winner: A Brand New AgVentures

AgVentures

Seven years ago, Jamie Wetzel realized a goal when he accepted the crystal trophy in Washington, DC, signifying his employer, AgVentures LLC, had won the 2004 National Environmental Respect Award. “We entered the competition just to see how we measured up to our peers,” says Wetzel, manager of the Shawano, WI, AgVentures retail facility. “I guess we measured up quite well.”

Wetzel accepted a second crystal trophy recently, this time for being selected the Environmental Respect Spirit Award winner for 2011. The Spirit Award, initiated last year during the Environmental Respect Award’s 20th anniversary celebration, is given to one past regional or national winner that exemplifies continued improvement in their environmental philosophy and operations.

Continuing Good Ideas

Wetzel agreed to give CropLife® magazine a guided tour to update readers on the improvements made to the award-winning business during the last seven years. “Perhaps there are some ideas that others can borrow from our experiences,” he says.

The first visible improvement to the plant is a new entryway fence that features an electronic pass code system. Other improvements to the security of the facility include new strategically placed video surveillance cameras.

Major traffic areas around the plant were mostly graveled seven years ago when AgVentures won the national award. Since then, nearly every outdoor surface area in the multi-acre facility has been blacktopped or cemented. The new surfaces led to another major facility improvement. “We contracted with Environmental Partners, a consulting firm, to conduct a stormwater run-off assessment of these paved areas,” says Wetzel.

From that assessment, AgVentures initiated a series of grass ditches and drainpipes that channel the rainwater run into a settling area at the lowest point of the grounds. “All the water is gathered and comes on to the settling area at two outlets,” explains Wetzel. “Run-off water slows down and flows into an area where grass absorbs any nutrients we might not have collected from spills or drips on the blacktop.” This grass is cut and then spread on a field or fed to dairy cattle. “What’s interesting is the project looks so simple, but we hired an engineer to calculate water flow capacities and the correct angles and pitches. It almost looks like the water is running up hill — that’s how precise it needed to be,” he says.

The facility also constructed a new 80- by 100-foot building that is used as an indoor parking area for application rigs during the busy spring season. “This area has given us added security for our equipment, but it also prevents rain from washing product residue off the equipment,” says Wetzel. “We have also added a maintenance and wash bay with a separate containment for washing equipment.”

Two good ideas for a retail outlet include a new automated fuel system that keeps track of vehicle maintenance items while employees pump gas. The system tracks mileage and sends a message to maintenance when it’s time for an oil change or other regularly scheduled maintenance.

The second tip for any location unloading railcars is to lay rubber mats along and between the tracks where there can be small product spills. “Clean-up around rail tracks is always difficult,” say Wetzel. “The mats have made it easy and that encourages employees to keep the area clean.”

AgVentures continues to look to the future, increasing its dedication to environmental respect. A recent innovation for the company has been to brand their crop consulting business under the name Enviro-Pros. “Our Enviro-Pros team will work as a liaison between our growers and the government agencies,” says Mike Mleziva, general manager.

Wetzel summarizes his participation in environmental respect this way, “It’s all about taking the time to do things right. We get in a hurry and skip over critical details. It’s also about being a good neighbor and communicating with the people around you. Finally it’s about doing things in a profitable way so we can advance our facilities and people while staying on the cutting edge.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program Infographic
StewardshipNew Agriculture Practices Being Standardized One Year After Toledo Water Crisis
August 5, 2015
It’s been one year since a harmful algal bloom in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) was brought to national Read More
StewardshipOhio Grower: Why Water Quality Matters To Me
August 3, 2015
Fresh off the first anniversary of last summer’s unfortunate Toledo Water Crisis — which was largely attributed in mainstream media Read More
StewardshipExcellence Through Stewardship Reaches 30 Members
August 3, 2015
Excellence Through Stewardship, a non-profit that promotes the adoption of best practices and stewardship in agricultural technology, reached the milestone Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosphorus Is Leaving Fields
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
Top 100 Articles
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsNFU: Monsanto Decision To Withdraw Syngenta Bid ‘…
August 26, 2015
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization was very pleased by the news that Monsanto has withdrawn Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Withdraws Bid For Syngenta
August 26, 2015
Monsanto Co. abandoned its latest effort to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s top maker of pesticides, after a sweetened bid Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Comments On Monsanto Announcement
August 26, 2015
The Board of Syngenta confirms that it received a verbal proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company at a price Read More
Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer
EquipmentHigh-powered Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer Pushes Throug…
August 26, 2015
Engineered with more muscle, the new 660-gallon-capacity Patriot 2250 sprayer features best-in-class horsepower, along with the fuel efficiency that comes Read More
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Eric SfiligojPrecision Ag Could Shine In Increased Spotlight On Agri…
August 24, 2015
By any measure, 2015 is turning into one of the most challenging years agriculture has ever experienced. All throughout good Read More
ManagementCrop Conditions In Minnesota and Traveling Time
August 21, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiilgoj discuss the crop outlook from a field trip to Minnesota and upcoming travel plans. Read More
HerbicidesREUTERS: Anti-GMO ‘Scientist’ Calls For New…
August 20, 2015
EDITORS NOTE: We feel that it is important to note that there are those that believe one of the lead Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Announces Seedcare Application And Resource Ce…
August 19, 2015
Syngenta recently announced the Seedcare Application and Resource Center, a collaborative new website designed exclusively for Syngenta Seedcare customers to Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Announces Two New Regional Sales Man…
August 19, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced Steve Vining and Phil Reding have each accepted new positions as Regional Sales Managers. Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names Vice President, Crop Prot…
August 18, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC have appointed Warren Hragyil to VP Crop Protection. Hragyil comes to Aligned Ag Distributors LLC with Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires Manager For Crop Performance Division
August 18, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced Donald Sutton has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division as a part of the U.S. sales Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Field Days Promote Agricultural Evolution
August 18, 2015
Brent Bible practiced no-till farming and the use of cover crops on his farm in Lafayette, Indiana, but until recently, Read More
Cover Crop on corn
Industry NewsMore Farmers Find Healthy Soil Works For Crops, Bottom …
August 17, 2015
Doug Toussaint’s field was in critical condition — and he was the one killing it, reports Dan Gunderson on MPRNews. Read More
Deere tillage
Crop InputsTillage Practices Have A Direct Correlation To Soil Hea…
August 17, 2015
Many areas, including Michigan, have experienced a heightened sense of awareness of the importance of soil quality, according to Michigan Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Interesting Water Issue On The West Coast
August 17, 2015
A few weeks ago at the 2015 Environmental Respect Awards event in Wilmington, DE, one of the speakers talked about Read More
CF Industries' Donaldsonville, LA, nitrogen complex expansion site.
Industry NewsBleak Outlook Sparks Frenzied Dealmaking In Nitrogen Fe…
August 17, 2015
Sinking crop prices and frenzied output growth by producers have sparked a flurry of dealmaking worth nearly $10 billion in Read More