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Archive for August, 2015

Conservation and Environmental Protection on Minnesota’s Farms

August 27th, 2015

On August 12, I joined farm conservation professionals from across the country for a tour of farms in southeast Minnesota, organized by the (1).dsc_6573Conservation Technology Information Center. Any chance to get out in the field is great, and this tour in particular helped showcase what farmers, of all different types, are doing to help protect water quality, improve soil health, and ensure the continued economic integrity of their operations.

Our first stop was a vegetable farming cooperative in Hastings, MN that is run by the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA). Specialty crops depend on pollinators for good yields. If a pollinator doesn’t get to that squash blossom, you aren’t getting any squash. HAFA is partnering with Dr. Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab to establish beehives onsite that can help pollinate the diverse vegetable crops HAFA is growing. The bees get access to food, and the farmers see healthier yields. A win-win. Plus, honey!

Our tour continued on to a VERY different operation. Where the HAFA farm was small and the crops diverse, Bruce Peterson’s farm was what you’d think of when you think of the contemporary corn farmer. From a small farm started in 1930, the Peterson operation has grown to 6,000 acres, 5,000 hogs a year, and 20 steers. This farm is about efficiency on a grand scale, using tools that farmers could only dream of just a decade ago. Working with precision farming experts from DuPont Pioneer, the Petersons are putting down fertilizer in the right place, at the right time, in the right amount to maximize crop yields while minimizing any lost nitrogen. Every pound of nitrogen that doesn’t get taken up by the plant has to go somewhere – into the ditch, the groundwater, or the air. That’s a financial loss too, since fertilizer costs money. So by using precision tools across the farm, the Petersons are saving money while protecting the environment. Another win-win. (more…)

Greg Bohrer

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Agriculture and Environment Program

Member of the Month: Antea Group

August 1st, 2015

As an environmental consulting firm, helping our clients solve complex environmental problems is what we do, day in and day out. But it’s not what we do that makes us successful, it’s how we do it. We believe in the power of partnerships — an unwavering philosophy that we share with Environmental Initiative and that has carried our membership for more than 20 years. The following are two examples of how we’ve taken this “better together” approach to help advance sustainable solutions not just for a single company, but for an entire industry.

Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtableteamwork
Since 2006, we have provided leadership and facilitation to the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), a technical coalition of 23 beverage companies representing beer, bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, juice, tea, coffee, spirits and wine categories. BIER’s remit to drive continuous improvement of the environmental aspects most relevant to the beverage industry — including water, energy, recycling, agriculture and eco-system services — is achieved through benchmarking, best practice sharing, methodology development and stakeholder engagement. This past May saw the release of a monumental joint commitment statement by BIER members to address climate change not only in their own operations but across their supply chains. To read more about this joint commitment statement, click here.

Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council
Since 2011, we have provided strategic planning and technical support to the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), a consortium of 11 companies across medical device, recycling and waste management industries seeking to enable plastics recycling solutions in healthcare. With an agenda focused on increasing the amount of healthcare plastics recycled in the US, HPRC has collaborated on multiple initiatives, including the publication of product and packaging design guidelines for improved recyclability, the development of a toolbox to help hospitals implement plastics recycling programs within their facilities and the evaluation of recycled plastic materials to better understand optimal resin blends for maximum market value and reuse applications. Most recently, the council presented key findings from a national survey on the current plastic recycling activity and barriers across US hospitals. To read more about this survey, click here.

As these examples illustrate, the concepts of collaboration and collective action are at the heart of innovation and solution development. In both groups, fierce competitors come to the table for the “greater good”, understanding that it’s hard to be a change agent when you’re working alone. It’s in this same vein that Antea Group is committed to the mission of Environmental Initiative. Through our participation as an active Board Member, Chair of the Fundraising Committee, and Sponsor of the Annual Awards Program, we are proud to be a catalyst of powerful partnerships and look forward to many more years of enabling effective solutions for environmental stewardship.

About Antea Group
Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in full service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning, and water. With more than 3,500 employees in over 100 offices around the world, we serve clients ranging from global energy companies and manufacturers to national governments and local municipalities.

Paul Durkee

POSTED BY:

Senior Consultant, USA Antea Group
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