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
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More