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
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
FungicidesArysta Launches New Corn And Soybean Fungicide
November 17, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America has recently launched ZOLERA FX Fungicide. The highly systemic, powerful fungicide delivers broad-spectrum disease control with Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance: Microbials Targeted For 250-500 million…
November 17, 2015
Monsanto and Novozymes have announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Still Being Eyed For China Takeover
November 16, 2015
China National Chemical Corp. approached sovereign wealth funds including China Investment Corp. to help pay for a potential acquisition of Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojCooperative Consolidation Continues
November 16, 2015
As I put this enewsletter column together, we’ve just put the finishing touches on our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 report. Read More