2016 Spirit Winner

Crop Production Services - Clay, KY

Since last achieving Environmental Respect Award honors back in 2009 as a Regional Winner, Crop Production Services (CPS) – Clay (Clay, KY) has fixated its environmental improvement efforts over the past half-decade or so on reducing exposure hazards at the Webster County facility.

“The most significant improvement we have made since 2009 is most definitely the contained load pads and the addition of more bulk tanks,” says manager Philip Osborn. “This has greatly reduced exposure hazards to employees as well as customers.”

In early 2016 CPS-Clay implemented a new corporate safety program dubbed ‘Commitment to Zero,’ whereas the company incentivizes a zero-tolerance policy for safety and environmental incidents.

“We are always concerned with three basic principles that the program sets forth: Do it safely or not at all, there is always time to do it safely, and care for each other’s health, safety, and security,” Osborn explains.

Safety is also an ongoing focus for CPS-Clay with its grower-customers, and not just when they are on site filling up tenders or tanker trucks.
“Every year we host the University of Kentucky-Extension (Webster County) office’s ‘Rinse and Return’ program — we prepare the site and provide volunteers for the day,” he explains. “Then we have a bin in our chemical facility that holds a large amount of empty chemical containers. They are collected and recycled.”

Managing Nitrates
Yet another area where CPS-Clay recognized a leadership void and stepped up to the plate was in helping growers with nutrient management recommendations. Webster County is just due east of the Shawnee National Forest and falls within the Ohio River Watershed — an area of growing concern after last summer’s historic algal bloom on the river made mainstream headlines.

“We are constantly approached by customers to address high nitrates within their soil, in particular nitrates that are in close proximity to waterways,” remarks Osborn.

To help resolve the issue — or at the very least lessen its blow locally, Osborn says his outfit is using precision agriculture along with nitrogen stabilizers to prevent run-off.

“We use variable rate spreading for fertilizer, and we are working towards advising variable rate nitrogen applications. Then we use two products, Instinct and N-Serve, to stabilize the nitrogen to prevent leaching into the community’s water supply.”

Community Commitment
Charitable endeavors are another pillar of CPS-Clay and how they interact with its Bluegrass State neighbors.

“We close the store for the day during Webster County Youth Ag Days and all of our employees are volunteers in presenting ag safety to the counties’ fourth graders,” says Osborn. “And we provide the seed, fertilizer, and chemical service to the Webster County High School Athletic Department; by us taking the lead on servicing those athletic fields we assure the community that their children are safe from exposure to hazardous field conditions.”