2015 North America Winner

Crop Production Services — High River, Alberta

Although it's located only 30 miles south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the small town of High River has been able to maintain a separate identity. Of course, part of this revolves around agriculture, with the surrounding area featuring numerous growers for such staples as barley, field peas, wheat and canola.

For many of these growers, maintaining this agricultural lifestyle has meant forging a relationship with the Crop Production Services (CPS) facility located in High River. According to Location Manager Alan Gaja, this usually centers around two key principles: Environmentalism and sustainability.

“Environmental stewardship is a partnership between growers and product suppliers such as us,” says Gaja. “In order to be successful and productive, growers must have a clear understanding of what crops work best on their land, and they must have a strategy in place to identify what fertilizer or crop protection products will be most effective. We must be knowledgeable and confident in our products in order to be able to advise the grower of what product to apply, what time to apply the product and how much to apply.”

Of course, adds Gaja, part of CPS High River’s efforts in stewardship comes from the corporate policies of its parent company CPS. “Our facility was built in 2009, and the site was built to CPS construction standards,” he says. Among the policies CPS High River follows are making sure main valves are locked when the site is unattended and having concrete pads at all transfer points for dry fertilizer to prevent any from spilling onto the exposed ground.

In addition, CPS High River also safeguards its facility through the use of an alarm system on its crop protection products warehouse (as required by Canadian law), the use of video cameras and surrounding the outlet with a chain-link fence.

“We strive to keep our yard free of fertilizer, debris and other potential contaminants to ensure storm water doesn’t pick up contaminants of other debris,” says Gaja. “Our agrichemical warehouse has curbing to prevent spills from leaching into the ground. The grounds around the warehouse have been landscaped to capture effluent water should fire suppression be necessary.”

The outlet also places an emphasis on employee safety. CPS High River has an agreement in place with The Asmark Institute to provide safety training to its entire staff. “Providing proper personnel protective equipment (PPE) for hazardous jobs is critical in order to protect workers,” says Gaja. “Anhydrous ammonia is particularly dangerous if it is not respected.”

CPS High River has spent much of its time building up its community image as well. The company participates in local parades and holds customer appreciation days. “These opportunities have allowed us to become a trusted community business and develop relationships with local people,” says Gaja.

Combined, all these efforts by CPS High River can help agriculture succeed in its mission to feed the world, he concludes. “Sustainable agriculture depends on our expertise, which in turn will prove to be a worthwhile investment into the future of CPS,” says Gaja. “It boils down to relationships, and that is why the CPS motto is ‘Come in and let’s talk farming.’”