"Respect" for Fertilizer Retailers

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March 29, 2012

I have just arrived home from a quick trip to Cleveland, Ohio to judge entries in the 2012 Environmental Respect Awards (ERA). It was a whirlwind trip - one  of those two day, four city deals that leave you thinking of an airport as close to a second home - on second thought, a home minus electrical outlets for charging key items like computers and phones.

Discounting the travel, I had a great time and learned quite a bit yesterday reviewing a huge stack of ERA entries from fertilizer and agrichemical retailers. For those who don't know about the program, the awards honor retailers, distributors and land management professionals who are preserving and protecting the environment by operating their businesses in an environmentaly sound manner to the benefit of their customers, their employees and the communities in which they operate. The awards are sponsored by CropLife Magazine; Farm Chemicals International and Dupont.

The quality and depth of the entries that we reviewed was impressive. The average fertilizer retailer juggles several balls at the same time. He or she is responsible for serving their farmer customers with fertilizers and agrichemicals all the while running a safe and environmentally conscious business that is viewed as an asset in the community in which it is located.  Virtually all the award applications that we reviewed yesterday were outstanding in every one of these areas.

All of the entries really showed agricultural retailers' commitment to sustainability at their facilities and in their farmer customers' fields. Photos submitted with the entries showed just how much the owners and operators of these retail facilities care about safeguarding products through measures such as spill containment and security systems and plans. Just as important though, are the efforts these people are taking to be a part of the community, not just a business that operates in it. From helping rebuild homes after natural disasters such as tornados, to lending products and expertise to ensure that green spaces in towns and cities are beautiful, each entry showed that U.S. retailers are making valuable contributions to society, beyond helping farmers produce crops to feed a growing world.

Winners of the state ERA awards will be announced next week, with regional winners and one state winner being announced this July in Washington, D.C. Find out who will be getting state awards by checking my blog or by visiting the ERA website at http://www.environmentalrespect.com/.