Battlefield Farms, Inc., in Rapidan, Va., has been awarded the MPS-A qualification after becoming a participant for MPS-ABC in 2010. The company received the qualification, after four years of showing effort and improvement.
“Over the past four years, we have really focused on finding ways to strengthen our weaknesses,” says Julie Zeijlmaker, human resource director. “We have come up with more efficient strategies and accountability. It was challenging and it took time for our organization to make the changes, but I’m proud of how far we have come, and our ‘A.’”
Battlefield Farms, Inc. is a state-of-the-art, automated facility located in central Virginia that produces a diverse plant product line year-round.
“Whether you are looking for hanging baskets, bedding plants, decorative planters or holiday plants, Battlefield Farms, Inc. can supply all of these,” says Allan Waller, head of sales. “We are participating in the MPS program because we feel a social responsibility to provide our customers with the most environmentally friendly product that can be produced by a commercial greenhouse. We began participating in MPS before chemical usage became such a hot button issue, as we recognized it was the right thing to do for our customers.”
“There are other companies in the U.S. that measure sustainability, but MPS made more sense. MPS is international, and we buy our parental material (seeds, bulbs, cuttings) from international sources. We are accountable for where our products come from,” says Marc Verdel, head grower at Battlefield Farms.
Battlefield Farms includes 45 acres of covered production area and approximately 20 acres of outdoor production area. Utilization of an environmental computer to constantly monitor and adjust the greenhouse environment, individualized soil mixing on-site and the ability to choose from drip line irrigation, ebb and flood flooring or boom watering systems, all give Battlefield Farms, Inc. enough flexibility to ensure that the optimum environment is provided for each variety of plant that is being grown.
“The cooperation with Battlefield Farms on the certification process for MPS-ABC shows how our system is a great tool to measure and show where a grower excels and the areas that need improvement,” says Arthij van der Veer, general international coordinator Latin America of MPS. “The ultimate goal has been reached: There is a culture shift in how and what chemicals can be used in growing quality products.”