Nutrien Ag Solutions - Hendersonville, NC
It’s evident at first glance why the Nutrien Ag Solutions facility in Hendersonville, NC, received a 2019 North American Regional Environmental Respect Award. The warehouse is tidy, with everything off the ground and on a shelf, floors are clean, safety signage is everywhere, and all employees are wearing neon-green vests and safety glasses.
Branch Manager Steven Williams says his philosophy aligns with that of the parent company. “We believe our responsibilities include continuously improving our business systems that extend beyond meeting regulatory requirements,” Williams says. “We’re committed to the safety and health of our employees, customers, neighbors, and the environment.”
Located at a 2,000-foot elevation in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, the facility is in the middle of a diverse mix of hundreds of small farms. While Hendersonville is known for its four-day Apple Festival and parade, and apple growers are indeed an important part of his customer base, Williams says the largest part of his business is outdoor tomatoes, followed by bell and specialty peppers. Other vegetables, plus peaches and berries, along with smaller amounts of hemp, corn, soybeans, and home landscaping comprise the rest.
Williams says the number of small farms and diverse crop mix means most products come in smaller packages and thus are easier to handle and store. The company works with growers on best practices of pesticide and fertilizer application, protecting pollinators, and using cover crops. They refer growers who need specific training to the North Carolina Research Station just a few miles away.
Security is important, as well; all man doors have sensors, and the building has an alarm system. Several employees have specific training on spill management. Spill kits are on all trucks, and drivers also have training. “It’s never happened, but we do have a portable spill kit where we can go help law enforcement at the site of a spill,” Williams says. We also sell personal protective equipment, such as Tyvek suits and respirators to farmers at our facility.
“Receiving this award reaffirms that we are on the right track moving toward our goals of providing exceptional service for our customers while operating safely to protect our people, community, and the environment,” Williams says. “We’re thankful to Nutrien Ag Solutions for the support they give us in this area, and to the Environmental Respect Awards committee for recognizing our efforts.”