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
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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
StewardshipTFI Announces Renewed Financial Commitment To Fertilize…
April 24, 2015
Today, The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and over 100 partners will more than double existing Read More
Industry NewsMACA Names New Ambassador Coordinator
April 23, 2015
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) has named Michelle Kilper as its new Ambassador Coordinator. Michelle is a graduate of Read More
ManagementAg Retailer’s Role In Local Policy Making; Raising The …
April 23, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review their recent travels, precision ag efforts in Washington, DC, and the role of Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Precision AgIn-Cab Computing 2015: Connectivity, Compatibility Take…
April 23, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
USDA
StewardshipUSDA Outlines Building Blocks For Climate Smart Agricul…
April 23, 2015
Today, the USDA has announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Welcomes New Territory Sales Manager
April 23, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Kaitlyn Acaster to the Canadian sales team. Acaster will fill the Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Opens New Research Greenhouse
April 23, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Acquires Taxon Biosciences
April 23, 2015
DuPont has agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, Inc., a leading microbiome discovery company. This acquisition will build on DuPont’s in-house capabilities Read More
Farmer on tablet
ManagementStudy: Consumers Don’t Care If U.S. Farmers Feed …
April 23, 2015
“We’re feeding the world” is a mantra often used by those involved in farming and food to build support for Read More
Industry NewsCorporate Responsibility Magazine Names Monsanto One Of…
April 22, 2015
Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) named Monsanto Co. to its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2015. This is the Read More
FertilizerSpring Nitrogen Management: Form And Timing
April 22, 2015
Most corn producers have planned their spring nitrogen program for 2015, and many have already started to implement their program. Read More
FMC 3Rive 3D
Industry NewsFMC Corp. Completes Acquisition Of Cheminova
April 22, 2015
FMC Corp. has completed the closing of its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark Read More
SoftwareSyngenta Expands AgriEdge Excelsior Nationwide For 2015
April 22, 2015
Growers across the country can now take the guesswork out of improving their farm’s production, land value, farm stewardship and Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesU.S. Regulators May Start Testing Food For Glyphosate R…
April 21, 2015
U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, EPA told Reuters’ Carey Read More
FungicidesBRANDT Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
BRANDT has added Zonix biofungicide to its rapidly expanding line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix is a contact fungicide that Read More
ManagementMissouri Experts: Spring Planting Slow Start Won’…
April 20, 2015
In the first of the agronomy teleconferences with Extension specialists, University of Missouri Extension climatologist Pat Guinan said the slow Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
Industry NewsCooperative CHS Reports Net Income Of $471.5 Million Fo…
April 20, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has announced company net income Read More
Industry NewsCHS Insurance Names New Director Of Sales
April 17, 2015
Bryan Lewis has been named director of sales for CHS Insurance, the nation’s largest agribusiness insurance broker and full-service insurance Read More