We have the need for seed...boxes

Published: Oct 27, 2022

Nutrien Ag Solutions has made a significant investment to switch from using bulk bags for storage and transportation of seed products to seed boxes, to enhance employee safety and customer convenience.

Large, single-use plastic bags are commonly used to store and transport seed, but the across the ag retail industry, but pose a safety risk due to their potential to tilt and fall, as well as their susceptibility to punctures from forklifts.

“It’s easy to forget how dangerous bulk bags are when you’re working with them every day,” says Audrie Himel, Senior Manager of Safety, Health and Environment for Retail in the Nutrien Ag Solutions South Region. “We tell our people that when they’re working around bulk bags to make sure they’re not alone, to follow proper handling practices, and if a puncture does happen, don’t to try to fix it – get somewhere safe.”

When employees highlighted safety concerns around the bags during a safety awards tour earlier this year, John Horne, Vice President of Safety, Health and Environment for Nutrien, saw their point, and sought funding approval to invest in sturdy seed boxes, which can be stacked more securely to minimize the risk of falling and cannot be punctured by forklifts.

“Our Culture of Care is so important because it allows our employees to challenge us and say, ‘I don’t feel safe at work. Something needs to change,’” says Jeff Tarsi, Executive Vice President and President of Global Retail. “With this feedback, we can work together to solve safety issues and make sure Nutrien is a place where people can go home safe every day.”


Teamwork makes the dream work

In addition to being safer, seed boxes are also more efficient. They can be stacked higher than bags, and are much more durable and can be reused for 15 to 20 years with proper care.

Jesse Hamonic, Senior Director of North American Commercial Seeds, says the boxes are also much more user-friendly for growers, and this investment will help solidify Nutrien as the most customer-centric agronomic solutions provider.

The transition to the boxes will start in 2023 with Dyna-Gro and Proven seed products, and is expected to take about three years. Teams estimate they’ll have to deploy around 40,000 seed boxes across North America, and until the rollout is complete, tips for safely handling bulk bags will be promoted at locations still using bulk bags.

“There was a massive amount of collaboration across different teams to pull together a plan in a very short period of time to make this change happen,” says Jesse. “It showed how when we put our mind to something as an organization, we can move mountains with teamwork and support.”