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Stewardship strategies work for Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis. Not only can such strategies yield environmental benefits, they also demonstrate to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dow AgroSciences' farmer customers that the company takes a solutions-oriented approach to today's focus on the environment.

"Dow AgroSciences has a sincere appreciation ... for the environment in which we live. This concern is the basis for our product stewardship philosophy by which we assess the safety, health and environmental information on our products," says Jake Secor, leader, government and public affairs, Midwest and South, Dow AgroSciences. "The success of this product stewardship program rests with each and every individual involved with Dow AgroSciences' products, from initial concept and research…to disposal and recycle of each product."


Dow AgroSciences is one of the only ag companies to win the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. The award is so named to recognize technologies that incorporate principles of green chemistry (chemistry used in pollution prevention) into design, manufacture and use of chemicals.

Since the EPA recognition program began in 1996, three Dow AgroSciences products have been honored in the Designing Safer Chemicals category. In 1998, Rohm and Haas insecticide Confirm (now a Dow AgroSciences product) was presented with the award. Spinosad, a natural insect control system, won in 1999. Sentricon, Dow AgroSciences' Termite Colony Elimination System, was honored in 2000.

In addition, Dow Agrosciences' N-Serve nitrogen stabilizer was nominated last year because of its ability to reduce conversion of anhydrous ammonia to nitrate, which cuts down nitrogen leaching from fields into waterways. The stabilized nitrogen is more available to crops, which enhances performance, profitability and environmental stewardship.

"N-Serve is not new or technically eligible for the award because it has been available for more than 25 years," says Secor. "But N-Serve was nominated for its environmental contributions and received letters of support from two governors. EPA recognized that N-Serve addresses current problems with hypoxia (the 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico) and that is why the nomination was encouraged."


Dow AgroSciences uses its green chemistry accolades as a marketing tool for selling the environmental stewardship message to growers. "Promoting the Green Chemistry Award shows that we incorporate sound environmental stewardship into our products," says Secor. "It also shows farmers that they can use products which help cut down or eliminate hazardous substances and possible environmental effects."

For example, spinosad is labeled for use in some 100 crops, and provides safety to not only those crops and the environment, but also applicators and non-target insects.

"One of the things we key in on in our marketing messages is the environment. With spinosad, we can promote a broad safety message for the environment, people and crops. We also reference the Green Chemistry Award in some of our literature," says Mark Woodruff, marketing specialist, Midwest/Atlantic States business unit for Dow AgroSciences.

"Bottom line, when growers look at two products with the same control spectrum, the product with the strongest environmental message is most likely going to win," he says. "Our goal is to provide those products to growers." AM

Barb Baylor Anderson is a freelance writer from Edwardsville, Ill., who covers a wide variety of ag issues.

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