2006 Regional Winner

Wabash Valley Service - McLeansboro, IL

For Wabash Valley Service Co., McLeansboro, IL, a GROWMARK cooperative owner, the road to environmental stewardship wasn’t paved with gold, but coal. In March 2005, the company opened its newest outlet, using a scuttled mining facility as its framework. According to Allen Rusk, marketing manager, this meant Wabash Valley not only had to follow the environmental standards of USDA and EPA when it first opened for business, but those of the Department of Mines and Minerals as well. As a former mining operation, the McLeansboro outlet was already equipped to handle liquid product spills and unexpected fires (fire hydrants still sit on the grounds).

To this, the company added its own retailer-oriented measures, such as putting all dry fertilizer mixing and blending equipment under the roof of a new 20,000-ton building and installing a system to recover rinse water. Wabash Valley also purchased a Junge Bulk Chem-Way mixing system to automatically dispense products in premeasured amounts.

“This helped with our environmental stewardship efforts, too, because it cut down on the amount of packaging and products our people had to come into direct contact with,” Rusk says.

This “protecting personnel” philosophy is key to how Rusk sees Wabash Valley maintaining its environmental stewardship edge in the future. “We have great equipment and technology to help, but our people are what makes it work so well,” he says.