Driving up to the Wilbur-Ellis Co. in Edmore, MI, it’s easy to see how this ag retail outlet fits into its local community. The facility is situated across the street from the city’s little league baseball diamonds and bordered by a large potato field (the major crop in the area). There are also numerous flowers just outside the main office building, as well as some by the seed storage building.
“We’ve done what we can to make this not only a great place to do business if you are in farming, but a pleasant place for non-ag folks to visit and see what’s good about agriculture as well,” says Brian Collins, plant manager.
And it’s clear this message is getting through. This year, Wilbur-Ellis Edmore is one of five regional winners of the annual Environmental Respect Awards, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection in partnership with CropLife magazine.
Of course, says Collins, winning an environmental award only make sense for this facility. “This outlet was built only 12 years ago, when Wilbur-Ellis decided to consolidate its fertilizer plant with a chemical warehouse in town it had acquired,” he says. “So the plant was designed with an eye towards stewardship, from having containment dikes that can hold 110% of the product we store, a runoff pond and a heated floor in our fertilizer building to prevent product caking.”
Therefore, Wilbur-Ellis Edmore places an emphasis on safety and security training. “Annually, the Edmore Village police are given a tour of the facility to familiarize and update them to any changes in our security structure,” says Collins. “We also have a designated safety committee that meets monthly with the rest of the Edmore team to address any potential hazards that may arise during the season.”
The outlet also conducts numerous community outreach efforts. “Wilbur-Ellis Edmore hosts an annual customer appreciation day that is open to all customers and their families with the sole purpose of extending a ‘thank you’ for choosing to do business with us,” says Collins. In addition, the outlet sponsors the local youth summer baseball/softball programs, the Food Resource Bank and the Future Farmers of America.