In an effort to keep essential agriculture employees and customers safe and healthy during this pandemic, GROWMARK/FS is teaming up with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program to help distribute free hand sanitizer to ag retailers.
Lindsay Mitchell, director of communication and marketing for IL Corn, says the organization knew ethanol plants were struggling due to the steep drop in fuel usage recently, and wanted to help out.
“They’re out of storage and looking for other ways to use the ethanol. When they transitioned to making hand sanitizer, we proposed making a large purchase to supply ag retailers,” says Mitchell. “It was a pretty big effort within a couple weeks to get it all going.”
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association sponsored the hand sanitizer which is made from ethanol by Marquis Energy located in Hennepin, Illinois. Knowing that ag retailers are the foundation of keeping the essential food supply operating, the associations wanted all of the sponsored hand sanitizer to go to retailers across Illinois.
“We knew that if farmers don’t have access to their inputs, parts, and expertise during spring planting due to sickness, we would all be in a world of hurt,” adds Mitchell.
GROWMARK and Evergreen FS stepped in to help with the distribution of the hand sanitizer. Evergreen FS warehoused the product, while GROWMARK Energy and Logistics team members along with Environmental Safety and Insurance Services members distributed the product.
Zach Baugher, GROWMARK propane marketing and technical services manager, says he was more than happy to play a part in delivering the sanitizer to several FS locations across Illinois.
“With our System’s mission to feed and fuel the world, it is imperative that the employees at the FS Member Cooperatives and Retail Divisions stay safe and healthy during these challenging times,” says Baugher.
"I think the collaboration in support of Illinois corn growers is terrific to see and so critical in this period of uncertainty,” adds Carol Kitchen, GROWMARK’s vice president of energy and logistics.
So far, the Illinois associations have purchased 1,100 cases at four gallons per case for a total of 4,400 gallons of hand sanitizer. Mitchell says they’ve worked with about 900 ag retail locations in Illinois, and as the program goes public are hearing about other good opportunities to help including in dairy processing and beef processing locations to get sanitizer to them.
“The ag industry is ultimately really small and connected,” adds Mitchell. “It’s easy to make some phone calls during rough times like these, and when it’s for a good cause, the ag industry is always more than happy to step up and help out.”