Crop Production Services — Clarence, MO
The small village of Clarence in north central Missouri is the home of the 2015 DuPont Central U.S. North America Environmental Respect winner. In mid-summer Clarence is surrounded by corn, beans and cattle. The Clarence Crop Production Services (CPS) farm center is the hub for growers within a 50-mile radius.
“You have to be a good partner to your customer,” explains Donald Simpson, farm center manager. “It’s not just what we sell them that builds a relationship. We work hard to add technical advice through our crop consultants’ vast agronomic knowledge in seed, fertilizer and crop protection,” he says.
The CPS Clarence farm center is located at the end of the town’s main street. The bright, well kept facility and flower-lined front entrance says “We want to be a good neighbor” with unmistakable clarity. “Even though we are in the middle of town, we’ve never had a complaint about our facility,” says Simpson. “If you do things the right way, you earn community respect.”
That word “respect” is apparent in the close-knit, highly trained CPS employees working under Simpson. Mark Sickal is a 30-year veteran at the Clarence location. “We can load out 300 gallons a minute to a fleet of four 3,200-gallon tender trucks serving three sprayers,” explains Sickal. “Every container is triple-rinsed. The building is diked and can easily hold a leak or spill from the largest tank.”
The heavy soils of central Missouri are ideal for applying and holding anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, and much of that anhydrous usually goes out after harvest in the fall. The 2014 fall season was wet and the rains pushed fertilizer application into the following spring.
“This spring could only be characterized as controlled chaos,” says Simpson. “We recently moved our anhydrous storage outside of town, and the new four-bay state-of-the-art loadout facility really kept things moving this spring. The many hours of safety training our employees undergo really pay off when the pressure is on and we are handling anhydrous for 12 hours a day.”
The CPS location custom applies much of the anhydrous and keeps cautious control of the many tanks leaving the facility to ensure safe handling by customers as well.
Back to downtown Clarence and the CPS farm center, where participation in community events and donations to local causes is commonplace. In fact, Chuck Wood, city administrator, sums up these activities well. “One thing the CPS folks do that is somewhat unique is they plant a large sweet corn patch. Once the employees harvest some for their families, it is opened up for the community to share the bounty.”
Many groups including FFA and 4H benefit from donations and participation by CPS employees. Simpson sees the annual seed plots donated by the outlet serving a two-fold objective. “The kids participate in the plots and learn about much more than farming. They observe agribusiness in action and things like sales and technology give the students models for other possible career fields in the local community,” he says.
Simpson sums up the commitment at Clarence when he says, “to the staff of CPS Clarence, sustainable agriculture and responsible environmental stewardship are not just buzz words but are part of the DNA of how we strive to conduct ourselves each and every day.”