2017 North America Winner

Crop Production Services - Athena, OR

Operating out of the former headquarters of the North American distributors of the now-shuttered Japanese off-road motorcycle brand Hodaka, Crop Production Services (CPS) in Athena, OR, took a pre-WWII office building that somewhat resembles old military barracks and over the years transformed it into a crop protection product stewardship destination for winter wheat growers on Oregon’s Eastern Prairie.

“The philosophy we live by with our customers is that everything we do has got to be a fit, both agronomically as well as economically, for the grower, as well as for us as a business,” says Dean Parker, Branch Manager.

Probably most notable among many facilities upgrades is the company’s recent $35,000 overhaul of its 30,000-gallon anhydrous ammonia storage tank. The facility reportedly served as CPS’ “guinea pig” for other outlets that will eventually have to follow suit.

CPS Athena OR

Athena, OR, on Oregon’s vast Eastern Prairie just past the Columbia River Gorge Valley, is a region of intense wheat production where growers routinely hit triple-digit-bushel yields.

“This being such a small community, I’ve been calling on a grower one morning then coaching his son in youth basketball that same evening,” Chad Wunsch says. “We’re a part of the local community, so we’ve got to act accordingly.”

Athena also took a leadership role in adding custom-designed jug-washing stations on each of its nurse trucks, so discarded crop protection product jugs are rinsed and all rinsate is left in the field. For 2017, the branch plans to install a new load pad outside of its bulk chemical storage facility, which it should be added features a 4-inch berm to serve as containment.

Agronomics also tie in nicely with stewardship in Athena, where CPS is the local leader in direct seeding services for growers (they launched the no-till program 20 years ago), a conservation practice that results in less runoff, soil erosion, and more organic matter in the soil when compared with traditional tillage.

“CPS is really proactive with safety, and I think a big part of that is our safety program starts at the top,” Parker says.