2014 Regional Winner

Crop Production Services — Clarkson, KY

Back in 2011, Manager Daron Bell of the Crop Production Services (CPS) retail location in Clarkson, KY, first entered the annual Environmental Respect Awards competition on something of a lark. "We are a smaller facility, applying between 10,000 and 12,000 acres per year, and our outlet was built almost 50 years old," says Bell. "I really just wanted to see how we would perform compared some of the larger, newer facilities I've seen in our part of the country."

When all the forms were judged that year, CPS Clarkson was named a state winner. Two years later in 2013, the outlet re-entered the Environmental Respect Award competition and won itself another state trophy. "We were so close, I just knew I had to try one more time for something bigger," says Bell.

And his persistence has paid off. In 2014, CPS Clarkson has been named one of the five regional winners of an Environmental Respect Award, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection with support from CropLife magazine. "I'm honored and thrilled that I can say our facility is a regional Environmental Respect winner," says Bell. "It is proof that our whole team, from our parent company to our employees here, are doing all they can to protect the environment we live and work in."

Multiple Upgrades

This is evident when one looks around the facility itself. Although it was originally built back in 1966, the CPS Clarkson outlet shows plenty of signs of new construction and environmental-friendly upgrades. This includes the addition of a load pad in the 1980s, the installation of a RZP valve in its plumbing system to supply water to the chemical load out area and a brand new dedicated seed warehouse, which was completed in 2003.

"We also have equipment and products in an enclosed pallet box that can be loaded in a pick-up truck or on a trailer to respond to any emergency product spills that might occur," says Bell.

In addition to these physical examples of environmental stewardship, CPS Clarkson personnel spend a lot of their time trying to educate both their grower-customers and members of the community on the tenets of respecting nature.

"That's one of the areas where we really shine," says Bell. "Since at least the early 2000s, our goal has been to be the place to provide the agricultural knowledge our growers need. We educate them on doing the right thing from an environmental standpoint, as well as provide sound agronomic data to help them increase their yields and profits."

The service area for CPS Clarkson is between Rough River Lake and Nolin River Lake – both reservoirs that were built in early 1960s for flood control. These two bodies of water also supply the area with drinking water.

"Because of this, we have been changing the way we grow grain to eliminate nitrates entering our water supply by utilizing our Environmental Smart Nitrogen (ESN) product," says Bell. "We introduced this product to our growers in 2008, and the success has been great. ESN releases nitrates to the plant as it needs it, which eliminates nitrates being released in the soil solution that can leach or denitrify and enter our water supply. This product is 20 % more efficient than other forms of nitrogen sources we use in production of grain."

And in the community itself, Bell has spent several years speaking at the local schools to promote the environmental aspects of agriculture.

"I promote the facts, such as certain groups of chemicals, while sounding very potent with a rate of two-thirds of an ounce per acre, have less toxicity than an aspirin in a railroad tank car of water," he says. "I tell about our facility plan for different scenarios, even a storm water plant to prevent run-off."