Oily Residue

By any measuring stick, the BP Gulf oil spill is an environmental disaster of the first degree. For better than two months now, TV viewers and Internet surfers have been bombarded by images of browning coastal wetlands, dead sea birds covered in pitch-black crude, and undersea pictures of oil gushing out of the ruined feeder pipe embedded in the sea floor. For anyone involved in any of the industries impacted by this crisis, these pictures represent a depressing sight.

Although it hasn’t happened yet, the Gulf oil spill could directly impact the agricultural community in the coming months. According to John Cripe, director of Mid-Co Commodities, Inc., 55% to 65% of the Midwest’s grains are annually exported through the Gulf of Mexico. It’s possible these ships could eventually require routine cleaning due to oil build-up on their hulls, which would add to the upkeep costs and cause the price of shipping these grains to rise as a result.

But besides this direct by-product of the oil spill, agriculture could find itself under an increasingly watchful regulatory eye when its comes to anything that might impact the environment. I know many of the people I’ve spoken with during the past year have said that the level of environmental scrutiny in Washington, DC, and various state capitals has racheted up significantly since the beginning of 2009. Most observers have used a 10-point scale to describe the increased watchdog mentality at work, saying that we’ve gone from a 7 to around a 9.5.

Let me be the first to say it: If our industry was experiencing a 9.5 over the past year on the regulatory front, the Gulf oil spill has probably pushed this number up significantly. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say we are now at a 25.

As always, one of the chief weapons in agricultural’s war chest is education. Many ag retailers have practiced safe environmental stewardship for several decades, and spreading the word about these companies should be one of our main missions.

Throughout this issue, we are highlighting many of the industry’s exceptional environmentalists as winners in the annual Environmental Respect Awards program. Now in its 20th year, this program, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection, honors dozens of retailers across the country that have demonstrated outstanding environmental and community stewardship practices. Although they may have different ways of doing this, most of these winners share a respect for their surroundings and a desire to do what’s right, environmentally.

“It is our duty to ensure that our industry protects America’s groundwater, sub-surface water, and soil for generations to come,” says state winner Darrell Fellows of Ag Valley Coop. “If everyone in this industry does not do their part, we as an industry will be regulated out of business.”

I couldn’t agree more — especially now that the stakes have been raised as high as the rising tide of oil slowly spreading across the Gulf of Mexico.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Turns Back Bayer Again
June 14, 2016
Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for more than $60 billion has hit an impasse that could pose a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionNext Generation Of Nitrogen Efficiency Technology Conve…
June 13, 2016
Commodity price projections indicate farmers will continue to face tight margins again this year. Delivering higher yields and more bushels Read More
Industry NewsLa Crosse Seed Acquires Cover Crop Solutions Brand
June 10, 2016
La Crosse Seed announces that it is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Read More
ManagementTravel Plans and EU Rejection of Glyphosate, Biotech Cr…
June 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trips and the latest in the European Union’s moves against glyphosate Read More
Aspire with Boron
Crop InputsStudy: Aspire with Boron Ups Alfalfa Yields
June 8, 2016
Alfalfa growers are successfully improving yields through the cutting season by applying an important micronutrient. In a recent study, The Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Announces Tragic Death of Longtime Employee
June 8, 2016
It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and customer advocate-in-chief Kevin W. Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Industry NewsBASF Inks Northern Seed for Clearfield Wheat R&D Li…
June 6, 2016
BASF has licensed Northern Seed LLC to perform research and development of BASF’s proprietary and patented Clearfield technology in wheat. Read More
ManagementBayer/Monsanto, EU/Glyphosate, Corn/Soybeans
June 2, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest regarding industry mergers, the glyphosate debate in Europe, and an update Read More
Growers looking at soybeans
Industry NewsKoch Licenses 2 Marrone Products For North American Dis…
June 2, 2016
Koch Agronomic Services (Koch), with support from its affiliate, Koch Biological Solutions, has secured exclusive rights to sell REGALIA Rx Read More
Gypsum
Industry NewsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches GYPSOIL BLENDABLE
June 2, 2016
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) has introduced GYPSOIL BLENDABLE, a new high-quality pelleted gypsum fertilizer that supplies 17% sulfate sulfur and Read More
StewardshipAgrible Joins Field To Market To Pursue Sustainable Sou…
June 1, 2016
Agrible, Inc. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as an associate member. As a leading multi-stakeholder Read More