North Carolina: Going Old School
There's an academic atmosphere at the Crop Protection Service (CPS) Albertson, NC, outlet, a 2009 Regional Environmental Respect Award Winner. About a year ago, the business moved from nearby Pink Hill to a renovated elementary school building. "We’ve brought new life to a 50-year-old landmark," explains Dexter Howard, branch manager.
"The old classrooms, lunch room, and gymnasium are now used for product storage," says Howard. The schoolyard, once filled with schoolchildren, now contains a state-of-the-art dry and liquid materials storage, blending, and load-out facility. "We’ve just recently installed seed treatment to our bulk seed handling system," he says.
The new CPS branch services corn, soybeans, tobacco, peanut, and vegetable growers. "Our largest client farms about 13,000 acres," says Howard. "I hang my hat on customer service," he adds. Howard, a certified crop consultant (CCA), has just recently hired North Carolina University graduate Kirk Bell to pick up most of the CCA duties while he focus on management and ensuring top-notch service. Some customer fields are nearly 70 miles out from the Albertson branch.
A Remade Outlet
The large service yard is lighted and completely fenced with an after-hours keypad entry system. Inside the fence, there is a modern 1,500-ton dry fertilizer storage and blending facility. Translucent ceiling panels allow sunlight to keep the floor drier than the normal darker fertilizer storage area. This feature adds a safer environment for employees and customers walking across the floor.
"We designed our liquid load-out pad for the future," says Howard. "The containment area is made to hold four 30,000-gallon tanks right now and we just have 12,000-gallon tanks." The contained load area holds 1,000 gallons, the size of the largest tank filled on the pad. "We pump rain water trapped on the pad and spray it on customer fields."
The branch has recently upgraded application equipment to include swath control, a feature that Dexter says is saving his customers and the environment. "We mix our crop protection products in the field, triple-rinse, and recycle all containers," he says.
The Albertson branch employees plan, finance, and conduct fundraising events for members of the community in need. "We have helped several families in the past several years by holding special dinners," says Howard.
"I’m an avid hunter and fisherman with two young sons of my own and I want to ensure them and many more generations a clean wholesome environment to enjoy," he says.