2015 North America Winner

Green Valley Agricultural - Wayland, MI

Driving up to the Green Valley Agricultural Inc. facility just outside of Wayland, MI, a visitor will quickly notice how it connects with the area’s agricultural base. Bordering a nearby crop field, Green Valley’s main office building has the look of a grower’s barn, complete with a red wooden facade and white trim. According to company President John Christian, this helps even casual visitors realize just how close the company and its grower-customers are.

“We hope our visibility and professionalism help portray a positive overall image about agriculture,” says Christian. “Green Valley is proud to serve a segment of the community that many urban citizens see as the face of agriculture.”

In part because of these efforts to spread a positive message about agriculture, Green Valley has been named one of the regional winners of the 2015 Environmental Respect Awards. “I think we are really happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish here,” says Christian. “It feels really good to receive this award.”

Considering the marketplace Green Valley has to cater to, he adds, makes this stewardship recognition even more gratifying. As in many parts of Western Michigan, agriculture in Allegan County is incredibly diverse. Among the numerous row crop growers are also dozens of fruit orchards, horticultural-centered greenhouses and dairy farms.

To all of these that are Green Valley customers, the company preaches a message of responsible stewardship. “Sustainability is a mentality that has stewardship, quality of life and profitability at its core,” says Christian. “Green Valley works hard to help our clients understand that the proper use of agricultural inputs accomplishes all of those core attributes.”

Naturally, given this approach to its customers, Green Valley spent considerable time looking at all the environmental aspects when its Wayland facility was constructed in 2014. In particular, says Jeff Gilder, environmental services manager, the company paid close attention to water flow.

“The flow of water is diverted from both the dry and liquid fertilizer buildings,” says Gilder. “All rainwater flows into retaining areas with grass and then is funneled to the local county drain system.” Also, he adds, when Green Valley personnel rinse tending equipment or sprayers, the run-off goes directly into rinse water tanks to be used in field applications.

Environmental precautions are also present in the company’s dry fertilizer building. Besides being under roof, the building features a floor-heating system using a closed-loop boiler. “Oftentimes, weather conditions will cause concrete to sweat and condensate, which can cause fertilizer to deteriorate quickly,” says Gilder. “Heating the floor keeps this from happening, allowing us to quickly and easily clean floors.”

Other environmental aspects of the Green Valley Wayland facility include having its tanks for diesel and gasoline double-steel lined, self-contained and more than 50 feet from any building and having a separate shop building for its maintenance and repair requirements. In addition, the company has a concrete pad between and outside its railroad unloading area to facilitate clean-up after deliveries.

According to Christian, these and the other stewardship-oriented features at the Wayland facility are all part of a bigger community-focused mindset at the company. “Green Valley expects that the way we live, the things we do in our company culture and the places we spend our money all reflect our heart and mind about loving our neighbor as ourselves,” he says.