According to Donald Hartzler, assistant manager for Union Mill Division of Chemgro Inc., Belleville, PA, there’s very little difference in respecting the environment at the personal and professional levels. “My feelings about environmental respect begin with common sense and personal responsibility,” says Hartzler. “I believe in picking up trash while taking a walk and properly disposing of soda bottles and candy wrappers while hunting and fishing. I also agree we need to continually make the necessary monetary investments in our business to protect the environment — not only for our company’s future, but also the future of our children and grandchildren.”
This business view on stewardship was on display as Union Mill recently undertook an upgrade of its diking and containment capabilities. In 2010, the company completely re-diked its crop protection tank farm and put a structure over all product tanks. Union Mill also revamped its mixing area to be in compliance with new EPA requirements on refillable pesticide containers.
This desire to protect the environment goes back much further than 2010, says Hartzler. “We were concerned about the environmental impact of our ag-chemical and fertilizer business long before there were regulations requiring diking and fertilizer tanks,” he says. “We implemented procedures to contain product and rinsate while mixing, loading and daily washing of our application equipment.” In fact, the company was recognized in October 1997 by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for these efforts with a plaque for its “dedication to environmental stewardship.”
Union Mill has also done its part to spread this message to the local community. “We bring the third grade students from all of the schools in the county for a one-day event,” says Hartzler. “Stations are set up to educate the annual 150 to 400 students in crop protection, pesticide safety and soil conservation. Our goal is to present a real-life view of our business, along with stressing the need to safely handle not only ag chemicals, but also household chemicals as well.”
Note: Union Mill Division of Chemgro in Belleville, PA, was a 2011 state Environmental Respect Award winner. For more information on this program, which is sponsored by DuPont, click here.