Bringing sustainability benefits to farmer-owners

December 14, 2021
Sustainability often means caring for natural resources and the environment. For CHS, sustainability is a much bigger idea.

“For us, sustainability is linked to the three fundamentals of environmental stewardship, community well-being and economic viability,” says Tom Malecha, who leads enterprise sustainability for CHS and is vice president of operations for CHS Global Grain & Processing. “And within those three fundamentals are 12 focus areas that dive deeper into what that means for our organization and farmer-owners. Those fundamentals and focus areas reinforce how working to improve sustainability connects to our values of integrity, safety, inclusion and cooperative spirit. Ultimately, this helps us fulfill our purpose of creating connections to empower agriculture.”

Benefits to farmer-owners

Sustainability doesn’t just benefit communities and the environment; it also makes good economic sense. As CHS saves money with its sustainability programs, farmer-owners can see those dollars returned as dividends.

“One area from which our farmer-owners derive benefit is knowing that CHS is in the community and world purposefully creating a more sustainable environment,” says Malecha. “As they’re looking to pass their farms on from generation to generation, CHS is looking to do the same thing within our company by making sure the cooperative system is viable and dependable for decades to come. Growers should have great confidence that CHS is changing, adapting and becoming more sustainable in order to move forward strongly as a business.”

Driving sustainability locally and globally

CHS offers incentives for farmers to use sustainable practices on their operations and also develops partnerships that promote community health and safety. Here are a few highlights.

  • The CHS Carbon Program rewards growers for adopting climate-smart cropping practices, such as no-till or strip-till, with additional benefits for adding cover crops and using certain enhanced efficiency fertilizer products.
  • CHS is an active participant in The Fertilizer Institute and its 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship program, which encourages farmers to apply crop nutrients effectively and responsibly.
  • CHS teams in Brazil participate in programs to ensure soybeans sourced there are produced on existing agricultural acres and not on land recently cleared through unlawful deforestation of native vegetation.
  • CHS provides grants for grain bin safety and rescue equipment, helping 160 communities over a three-year period.
  • The CHS refinery in McPherson, Kan., needs water every day for heating and cooling processes. To reduce demand on the local aquifer, CHS worked with McPherson city engineers to meet some of the refinery’s water needs by using city wastewater.
  • CHS is switching from conventional to LED lightbulbs in facilities around the world, which provides significant energy use savings, reduced emissions and avoids the need for employees to scale heights to service light fixtures.

Find more on CHS sustainability initiatives in the 2021 CHS Sustainability Report.