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Newsletter
Volume 101
April 2, 2012
Congratulations Galore!
Ohio AgriBusiness Association President and CEO Chris Henney and his wife Beth recently received a visit from the stork and announced the birth of their second son! Patrick Henney was born on March 22nd at 2:10 a.m., weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
March 31st marks the date that Randy Lawrence entered the world of retirement. Randy served as Vice President of the Asmark Institute for nearly 20 years and has plans to spend more time with family and in the pursuit of his hobbies. We appreciate Randy's years of service and congratulate him on his retirement. The Board, management and staff of the Asmark Institute wish Randy a healthy and happy retirement!
The Board of Directors of the Asmark Institute recently elected Denis Doonan, Manager, Operating Compliance & Construction with Crop Production Services, as Chairman of the Board. Denis was recognized for his contributions towards the success of the Institute, especially with his generous time and talent over the past 23 years. Denis will also serve on the newly elected Executive Committee consisting of Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association and Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.
We are proud to announce Donna Powell will assume the responsibility for our affiliate program and client relations. Donna created a new position when she began our customer service department a few years ago. As Manager of Corporate Relations, Donna will work with our affiliated State and National Associations and oversee our customer service effort. You will be seeing more of Donna in the coming months as she represents us at affiliate functions and meetings across the country.
LifeCycle Bats - A Big Hit!
LifeCycle Bats
LifeCycle is the new program designed to help retailers manage the life expectancy of their tanks, especially poly tanks. This feature allows the facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures. LifeCycle tracks the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and prompts notification in the form of a reminder when a tank should be inspected or removed from service. LifeCycle was developed by Nick Clements and is a service that is free to Lighthouse clients. Since the good ole American baseball bat is the tool of choice for testing the integrity of poly tanks, we offered a Special Edition imprinted bat to each location that registered to use LifeCycle and entered their tanks to be tracked. Noah Mason is shown sitting on a cart of the bats made by his Grandfather Michael Mason at Tom Blue Furniture in Owensboro, Kentucky. Their company has a reputation for high quality furniture for more than 74 years. Noah is the son of Brian and Holly Mason. Brian is the Manager of Accounting & Finance at the Asmark Institute. The offer to receive one of the Special Edition LifeCycle Bats is good while supply lasts.
Senator Inhofe Weighs In on the SARA Tier II Retail Fertilizer Exemption
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on EPA's 2013 budget, where EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was the sole witness. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the Ranking Member of the EPW Committee highlighted an issue with EPA's enforcement against fertilizer retailers who claim the "retail fertilizer exemption" for reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Even though EPCRA exempts, "fertilizer held for sale to the ultimate consumer" from hazardous materials reporting requirements, EPA began in 2010 citing facilities for not reporting fertilizer in quantities of more than 10,000 pounds. EPA has even cited facilities for holding fertilizers that do not qualify as "hazardous substances."
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) are working together to get EPA enforcement and headquarters to acknowledge the exemption. We applaud the work of ARA, TFI and Senator Inhofe on this issue.
Senator James Inhofe is on record as saying in the hearing, "Rural America has been hit especially hard by EPA's regulatory overreach. Fourteen years ago, EPA tried to regulate propane dealers under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) even though they didn't meet the definition of the program. In response, I introduced legislation which was signed into law to stop it. Now, under the same program, you are trying to force the Ag Retailers to comply with the reporting requirement under Section 312 of EPCRA, even though the law currently exempts them. EPA is proposing that the simple mixing of fertilizers to meet customer's specifications for their soil negates the current exemption that they have under EPCRA. Does EPA expect to require farmers to now go to Walmart or Target for their fertilizer needs? Maybe EPA doesn't understand rural America, but I do. If EPA continues down this road, they will be imposing additional costs on hundreds of small businesses and farmers in rural America. I would ask that you rethink your approach. If you won't apply this exemption to the Ag Retailers, I will not hesitate to work with Chairman Lucas from Oklahoma to make sure the exemption is applied." Click Here to view the complete hearing webcast and opening statements.
Final Rule on Fertilizer Material Use, Distribution and Record Keeping
The Office of the Indiana State Chemist issued its final rule in February on Fertilizer Material Use, Distribution and Record Keeping. The rule (355 IAC 8) applies to any person who uses or distributes in any calendar year an amount of fertilizer material equal to or exceeding 10 cubic yards or 4,000 gallons. For purposes of the rule, the term "fertilizer material" is broadly defined to mean "any substance containing nitrogen, phosphate, potash, or any recognized plant nutrient that: (1) is used for the plant nutrient content; and (2) has nutrient value in promoting plant growth," including unmanipulated animal and vegetable manures. The rule places restrictions on the application of fertilizer materials to surface waters, saturated ground, public roads and any locations from which fertilizer materials might migrate into surface or ground waters. Any person covered by the rule is required to develop and apply fertilizer materials only in accordance with a fertilizer application plan. The rule also places other restrictions on the manner, method and location of application and storage of fertilizer materials and requires that specific records be kept relating to the distribution and use of fertilizer materials by persons who are required to be certified under the requirements of 355 IAC 7.
Ag Groups Applaud Senate Approval of the Agricultural Hours of Service Exemption
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of the American Trucking Associations, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) applauded the Senate's passage of the Surface Transportation Bill. The bill includes a clarification of transportation regulations critical to the agriculture industry's ability to distribute farm supplies in a timely manner, especially during busy times of the year.
This important clarification to the Surface Transportation Bill was presented in the form of an amendment, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and co-sponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). The amendment resolved questions regarding the applicability of the agricultural hours of service (HOS) exemption and received approval by voice vote on the Senate floor yesterday. The HOS exemption came into question in 2009 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an interpretation of the regulations that resulted in transportation restrictions for certain farm supplies. The legislation amends aspects of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, which served as the basis for FMCSA's 2009 interpretation, to clarify the applicability of exemptions for agricultural products.
"We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Senators Klobuchar and Roberts through their introduction of this important amendment to the Surface Transportation Bill," said Daren Coppock, ARA President and CEO. "The Senate's passage of this legislation helps ensure that agricultural retailers are able to supply farmers with the products they need in an efficient manner during critical times of the year."
Specifically, the legislation clarifies that the agricultural hours of service exemption is applicable to:
  • Drivers transporting agricultural commodities within a 100 air-mile radius;
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale or retail business to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 100 air-mile radius from the distribution point; or
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies from a wholesale location to a retail location so long as the transportation is within a 100 air-mile radius.
"TFI is very pleased with the passage of this important legislation and we are grateful for the efforts of Senators Klobuchar, Roberts and others who offered their support of the agricultural hours of service exemption," said TFI President Ford B. West. "We hope the House will work quickly to pass similar legislation."
False Documentation: Forged Signatures on Training Certificates
The headline read in the Idaho Statesman "Boise man pleads guilty to submitting false document." Jason Jones, 31, of Boise, recently pleaded guilty in a federal court to the charge of submitting a false document to a U.S. department or agency. According to the plea agreement, in June 2011, Jones, the safety officer and trainer for Western Construction Inc., provided to a mine safety and health inspector documents purporting that six miners working at a sand and gravel mine in Grandview had received annual safety training. Jones had forged each of the six miners' names on the documents. None of the miners had received the training. Jones later admitted forging the miners' signatures on the documents and providing them to the inspector, knowing that none of the miners had received the training, according to U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to five years probation, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a maximum term of three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for May 21st before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
Fertilizer Industry Honors 4R Advocates
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently named five American farm operations as 4R Advocates for 2012. The national winners represent farmers and fertilizer retailers across the nation dedicated to the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship - utilizing the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place. The 2012 4R Grower Advocates, along with the retailers that nominated them, are:
  • Bruce Favinger, Minden, Neb., 1,800-acre corn and soybean producer nominated by Cooperative Producers, Inc., Nebraska. Ranking both stewardship and productivity as priority goals, Favinger takes advantage of enhanced fertilizers and correlates precision agriculture data to develop site-specific fertilizer prescriptions.
  • Paul Loyer, Loyer Farms, Marion, Ohio, 3,000-acre corn, soybean and wheat producer nominated by Morral Companies, Morral, Ohio. Specific placement of nutrients at rates determined by GPS-linked information helps the Loyer family boost fertilizer efficiency while protecting the environment.
  • Temple Rhodes, Chestnut Manor Farm, Centreville, Md., 2,200-acre corn, soybean and beef producer nominated by Willard Agri-Service, Maryland. On the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the Rhodes family takes a proactive approach to nutrient management. A strip-till system applies all fertilizer beneath the soil surface, tissue sampling assesses crop need and rates reflect site-specific data.
  • Barry and Dan Turner, Turner Brothers Farm, Mer Rouge, La., 5,600-acre corn, soybean, rice and grain sorghum producers nominated by Crop Production Services, Louisiana. The Turner brothers utilize grid sampling and soil management zones to enhance fertilizer efficiency and three split applications for corn production to ensure they're meeting the crop's nutritional needs and optimum yield potential.
  • Todd Welch, Lafayette, Ind., 2,300-acre corn, soybean, wheat and pork producer nominated by Crop Production Services, Indiana. Manure from Welch's swine finishing facility is balanced with commercial fertilizer through the use of soil management zones, tissue sampling, enhanced fertilizers and split applications.
The winners and the retailers who nominated them were awarded an expense-paid trip to the 2012 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee, where they were honored at an awards banquet hosted by TFI. The 4R Grower Advocates will also be part of TFI's outreach efforts to promote nutrient management practices that benefit farmers and their communities as well as the environment. The 4R Advocate program is just one facet of a high-priority campaign to raise awareness and adoption of 4R nutrient stewardship practices. Learn more about the 4Rs at www.nutrientstewardship.com.
OSHA Emphasis - Down on the Farm
OSHA has established a local emphasis program to protect workers on Wisconsin dairy farms from common hazards such as those related to manure storage, lack of vehicle roll-over protection, machine guarding, confined spaces and animal handling. Since 2006, OSHA has conducted five fatality inspections at dairy farms in Wisconsin. Hazards cited have been related to animal handling, tractor rollover protection and manure pits. Under the new program, OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety and health inspections at dairy farms with more than 10 non-immediate family member employees and those that have had an active temporary labor camp within the last 12 months. Each inspection will include detailed questions to gather facts about common hazards related to horizontal bunker silos, control of hazardous energy, skid-steer and tractor operations, and hazard communication.
New Fall Protection Standards Receive ANSI's Stamp of Approval
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced that it has approved two American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) standards addressing fall protection - the new ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012, Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems, and the revised ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2012, Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components. The standards are part of the Z359 Fall Protection Code.
According to ANSI, the new Z359.14 standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, qualification testing, markings and instructions, inspections, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices, including self-retracting lanyards, self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability, and self-retracting lanyards with leading-edge capability (SRL-LE's). It also establishes requirements for self-retracting devices intended for use in personal fall arrest or rescue systems for authorized persons within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds (59 to 141 kg).
The revised Z359.4 standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, use, maintenance, and removal from service of connectors, harnesses, lanyards, anchorage connectors, winches/hoists, descent control devices, rope tackle blocks, and self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability comprising rescue systems utilized in pre-planned self-rescue and assisted-rescue applications for one to two persons. For more information, visit www.asse.org.
Facility Busted for Failing to Protect Workers Loading Rail Cars from Falls
The citation follows an investigation in September, prompted by a complaint, which determined employees were working on top of rail cars without fall protection while preparing the cars for loading of corn and soybeans. OSHA cited a Wisconsin grain cooperative with one willful safety violation for failing to protect workers from falls while they were loading grain products into rail cars at its facility. Proposed fines total $70,000. "Failing to protect employees from falls while loading rail cars is a clear violation of OSHA's fall protection standards and demonstrates a disregard for worker safety," said Kim Stille, the agency's area director in Madison. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers have proper safety protection, and work environments are healthful and safe."
In 2010, OSHA developed a local emphasis program which targets grain handling facilities after repeated safety violations were cited in the industry. The program covers hazards associated with grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout of dangerous equipment to prevent accidental energization start-up, electricity, falls, employee training and combustible dust hazards.
The company operates multiple divisions at 20 facilities in south central Wisconsin and prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA a total of three times since 2006.
Hazard Communication Standard to be Updated by GHS
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis joined by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, hosted a press teleconference to announce a final rule that would update OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard. Solis described the revised standard will align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals to better protect workers from hazardous chemicals and help American businesses compete in a global economy. "Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today," she said. "Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace."
Assistant Secretary Michaels explained that OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which will be fully implemented in 2016, benefits workers by reducing confusion in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understandings of hazards, especially for low-wage and limited-literacy workers. The harmonized standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States or imported from abroad.
OSHA's harmonized standard will ensure that workers have access not only to labels and safety data sheets, but also to information that is easier to find and understand through the use of standardized formats and label elements: signal words, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements. As one participant expressed during OSHA's rulemaking process, this update will give workers the right to understand, as well as the right to know.
What is the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)? GHS provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets. These criteria and elements will help chemical manufacturers to determine if a chemical product produced and/or supplied is hazardous and explains how to prepare an appropriate label and/or safety data sheet. The GHS is not a regulation or a standard, but a set of recommendations that a competent authority such as OSHA can adopt.
What Employers Need to Do and When (Effective Dates): Employers must train workers on the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013. Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must comply with all modified provisions of the final rule by June 1, 2015. However, distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system until December 1, 2015. By June 1, 2016, employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary, and provide additional worker training for new identified physical and health hazards. During this transition period, all chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200, or the current standard, or both.
Revolution Launched by 4 Commercial Retailers 50 Years Ago
Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Kohl's opened their first stores in 1962, in Arkansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively. As these retailers celebrate their 50th anniversary, they find themselves operating in a dramatically altered landscape. Population growth is slowing, family units are evolving and the minority is becoming the majority. Consumers are shifting from suburban to urban centers, and they are shopping across a dizzying array of platforms. (Amazon and eBay launched in 1995, and Wal-Mart and Target moved online in 1996 and 1999, respectively.) Media has become fragmented, with digital, social and mobile shaping the industry. A revolution is happening, and retailers and discounters in particular, must adapt to changing consumer preferences or risk becoming insignificant. (Note: There is a lesson within this story that applies to agricultural retailers.)
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.
Congratulations Galore!
Ohio AgriBusiness Association President and CEO Chris Henney and his wife Beth recently received a visit from the stork and announced the birth of their second son! Patrick Henney was born on March 22nd at 2:10 a.m., weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
March 31st marks the date that Randy Lawrence entered the world of retirement. Randy served as Vice President of the Asmark Institute for nearly 20 years and has plans to spend more time with family and in the pursuit of his hobbies. We appreciate Randy's years of service and congratulate him on his retirement. The Board, management and staff of the Asmark Institute wish Randy a healthy and happy retirement!
The Board of Directors of the Asmark Institute recently elected Denis Doonan, Manager, Operating Compliance & Construction with Crop Production Services, as Chairman of the Board. Denis was recognized for his contributions towards the success of the Institute, especially with his generous time and talent over the past 23 years. Denis will also serve on the newly elected Executive Committee consisting of Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association and Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.
We are proud to announce Donna Powell will assume the responsibility for our affiliate program and client relations. Donna created a new position when she began our customer service department a few years ago. As Manager of Corporate Relations, Donna will work with our affiliated State and National Associations and oversee our customer service effort. You will be seeing more of Donna in the coming months as she represents us at affiliate functions and meetings across the country.
LifeCycle Bats - A Big Hit!
LifeCycle Bats
LifeCycle is the new program designed to help retailers manage the life expectancy of their tanks, especially poly tanks. This feature allows the facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures. LifeCycle tracks the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and prompts notification in the form of a reminder when a tank should be inspected or removed from service. LifeCycle was developed by Nick Clements and is a service that is free to Lighthouse clients. Since the good ole American baseball bat is the tool of choice for testing the integrity of poly tanks, we offered a Special Edition imprinted bat to each location that registered to use LifeCycle and entered their tanks to be tracked. Noah Mason is shown sitting on a cart of the bats made by his Grandfather Michael Mason at Tom Blue Furniture in Owensboro, Kentucky. Their company has a reputation for high quality furniture for more than 74 years. Noah is the son of Brian and Holly Mason. Brian is the Manager of Accounting & Finance at the Asmark Institute. The offer to receive one of the Special Edition LifeCycle Bats is good while supply lasts.
Senator Inhofe Weighs In on the SARA Tier II Retail Fertilizer Exemption
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on EPA's 2013 budget, where EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was the sole witness. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the Ranking Member of the EPW Committee highlighted an issue with EPA's enforcement against fertilizer retailers who claim the "retail fertilizer exemption" for reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Even though EPCRA exempts, "fertilizer held for sale to the ultimate consumer" from hazardous materials reporting requirements, EPA began in 2010 citing facilities for not reporting fertilizer in quantities of more than 10,000 pounds. EPA has even cited facilities for holding fertilizers that do not qualify as "hazardous substances."
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) are working together to get EPA enforcement and headquarters to acknowledge the exemption. We applaud the work of ARA, TFI and Senator Inhofe on this issue.
Senator James Inhofe is on record as saying in the hearing, "Rural America has been hit especially hard by EPA's regulatory overreach. Fourteen years ago, EPA tried to regulate propane dealers under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) even though they didn't meet the definition of the program. In response, I introduced legislation which was signed into law to stop it. Now, under the same program, you are trying to force the Ag Retailers to comply with the reporting requirement under Section 312 of EPCRA, even though the law currently exempts them. EPA is proposing that the simple mixing of fertilizers to meet customer's specifications for their soil negates the current exemption that they have under EPCRA. Does EPA expect to require farmers to now go to Walmart or Target for their fertilizer needs? Maybe EPA doesn't understand rural America, but I do. If EPA continues down this road, they will be imposing additional costs on hundreds of small businesses and farmers in rural America. I would ask that you rethink your approach. If you won't apply this exemption to the Ag Retailers, I will not hesitate to work with Chairman Lucas from Oklahoma to make sure the exemption is applied." Click Here to view the complete hearing webcast and opening statements.
Final Rule on Fertilizer Material Use, Distribution and Record Keeping
The Office of the Indiana State Chemist issued its final rule in February on Fertilizer Material Use, Distribution and Record Keeping. The rule (355 IAC 8) applies to any person who uses or distributes in any calendar year an amount of fertilizer material equal to or exceeding 10 cubic yards or 4,000 gallons. For purposes of the rule, the term "fertilizer material" is broadly defined to mean "any substance containing nitrogen, phosphate, potash, or any recognized plant nutrient that: (1) is used for the plant nutrient content; and (2) has nutrient value in promoting plant growth," including unmanipulated animal and vegetable manures. The rule places restrictions on the application of fertilizer materials to surface waters, saturated ground, public roads and any locations from which fertilizer materials might migrate into surface or ground waters. Any person covered by the rule is required to develop and apply fertilizer materials only in accordance with a fertilizer application plan. The rule also places other restrictions on the manner, method and location of application and storage of fertilizer materials and requires that specific records be kept relating to the distribution and use of fertilizer materials by persons who are required to be certified under the requirements of 355 IAC 7.
Ag Groups Applaud Senate Approval of the Agricultural Hours of Service Exemption
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of the American Trucking Associations, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) applauded the Senate's passage of the Surface Transportation Bill. The bill includes a clarification of transportation regulations critical to the agriculture industry's ability to distribute farm supplies in a timely manner, especially during busy times of the year.
This important clarification to the Surface Transportation Bill was presented in the form of an amendment, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) and co-sponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). The amendment resolved questions regarding the applicability of the agricultural hours of service (HOS) exemption and received approval by voice vote on the Senate floor yesterday. The HOS exemption came into question in 2009 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an interpretation of the regulations that resulted in transportation restrictions for certain farm supplies. The legislation amends aspects of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, which served as the basis for FMCSA's 2009 interpretation, to clarify the applicability of exemptions for agricultural products.
"We appreciate the leadership demonstrated by Senators Klobuchar and Roberts through their introduction of this important amendment to the Surface Transportation Bill," said Daren Coppock, ARA President and CEO. "The Senate's passage of this legislation helps ensure that agricultural retailers are able to supply farmers with the products they need in an efficient manner during critical times of the year."
Specifically, the legislation clarifies that the agricultural hours of service exemption is applicable to:
  • Drivers transporting agricultural commodities within a 100 air-mile radius;
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale or retail business to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 100 air-mile radius from the distribution point; or
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies from a wholesale location to a retail location so long as the transportation is within a 100 air-mile radius.
"TFI is very pleased with the passage of this important legislation and we are grateful for the efforts of Senators Klobuchar, Roberts and others who offered their support of the agricultural hours of service exemption," said TFI President Ford B. West. "We hope the House will work quickly to pass similar legislation."
False Documentation: Forged Signatures on Training Certificates
The headline read in the Idaho Statesman "Boise man pleads guilty to submitting false document." Jason Jones, 31, of Boise, recently pleaded guilty in a federal court to the charge of submitting a false document to a U.S. department or agency. According to the plea agreement, in June 2011, Jones, the safety officer and trainer for Western Construction Inc., provided to a mine safety and health inspector documents purporting that six miners working at a sand and gravel mine in Grandview had received annual safety training. Jones had forged each of the six miners' names on the documents. None of the miners had received the training. Jones later admitted forging the miners' signatures on the documents and providing them to the inspector, knowing that none of the miners had received the training, according to U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to five years probation, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a maximum term of three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for May 21st before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.
Fertilizer Industry Honors 4R Advocates
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently named five American farm operations as 4R Advocates for 2012. The national winners represent farmers and fertilizer retailers across the nation dedicated to the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship - utilizing the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place. The 2012 4R Grower Advocates, along with the retailers that nominated them, are:
  • Bruce Favinger, Minden, Neb., 1,800-acre corn and soybean producer nominated by Cooperative Producers, Inc., Nebraska. Ranking both stewardship and productivity as priority goals, Favinger takes advantage of enhanced fertilizers and correlates precision agriculture data to develop site-specific fertilizer prescriptions.
  • Paul Loyer, Loyer Farms, Marion, Ohio, 3,000-acre corn, soybean and wheat producer nominated by Morral Companies, Morral, Ohio. Specific placement of nutrients at rates determined by GPS-linked information helps the Loyer family boost fertilizer efficiency while protecting the environment.
  • Temple Rhodes, Chestnut Manor Farm, Centreville, Md., 2,200-acre corn, soybean and beef producer nominated by Willard Agri-Service, Maryland. On the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, the Rhodes family takes a proactive approach to nutrient management. A strip-till system applies all fertilizer beneath the soil surface, tissue sampling assesses crop need and rates reflect site-specific data.
  • Barry and Dan Turner, Turner Brothers Farm, Mer Rouge, La., 5,600-acre corn, soybean, rice and grain sorghum producers nominated by Crop Production Services, Louisiana. The Turner brothers utilize grid sampling and soil management zones to enhance fertilizer efficiency and three split applications for corn production to ensure they're meeting the crop's nutritional needs and optimum yield potential.
  • Todd Welch, Lafayette, Ind., 2,300-acre corn, soybean, wheat and pork producer nominated by Crop Production Services, Indiana. Manure from Welch's swine finishing facility is balanced with commercial fertilizer through the use of soil management zones, tissue sampling, enhanced fertilizers and split applications.
The winners and the retailers who nominated them were awarded an expense-paid trip to the 2012 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tennessee, where they were honored at an awards banquet hosted by TFI. The 4R Grower Advocates will also be part of TFI's outreach efforts to promote nutrient management practices that benefit farmers and their communities as well as the environment. The 4R Advocate program is just one facet of a high-priority campaign to raise awareness and adoption of 4R nutrient stewardship practices. Learn more about the 4Rs at www.nutrientstewardship.com.
OSHA Emphasis - Down on the Farm
OSHA has established a local emphasis program to protect workers on Wisconsin dairy farms from common hazards such as those related to manure storage, lack of vehicle roll-over protection, machine guarding, confined spaces and animal handling. Since 2006, OSHA has conducted five fatality inspections at dairy farms in Wisconsin. Hazards cited have been related to animal handling, tractor rollover protection and manure pits. Under the new program, OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety and health inspections at dairy farms with more than 10 non-immediate family member employees and those that have had an active temporary labor camp within the last 12 months. Each inspection will include detailed questions to gather facts about common hazards related to horizontal bunker silos, control of hazardous energy, skid-steer and tractor operations, and hazard communication.
New Fall Protection Standards Receive ANSI's Stamp of Approval
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced that it has approved two American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) standards addressing fall protection - the new ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012, Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems, and the revised ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2012, Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components. The standards are part of the Z359 Fall Protection Code.
According to ANSI, the new Z359.14 standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, qualification testing, markings and instructions, inspections, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices, including self-retracting lanyards, self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability, and self-retracting lanyards with leading-edge capability (SRL-LE's). It also establishes requirements for self-retracting devices intended for use in personal fall arrest or rescue systems for authorized persons within the capacity range of 130 to 310 pounds (59 to 141 kg).
The revised Z359.4 standard establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, use, maintenance, and removal from service of connectors, harnesses, lanyards, anchorage connectors, winches/hoists, descent control devices, rope tackle blocks, and self-retracting lanyards with integral rescue capability comprising rescue systems utilized in pre-planned self-rescue and assisted-rescue applications for one to two persons. For more information, visit www.asse.org.
Facility Busted for Failing to Protect Workers Loading Rail Cars from Falls
The citation follows an investigation in September, prompted by a complaint, which determined employees were working on top of rail cars without fall protection while preparing the cars for loading of corn and soybeans. OSHA cited a Wisconsin grain cooperative with one willful safety violation for failing to protect workers from falls while they were loading grain products into rail cars at its facility. Proposed fines total $70,000. "Failing to protect employees from falls while loading rail cars is a clear violation of OSHA's fall protection standards and demonstrates a disregard for worker safety," said Kim Stille, the agency's area director in Madison. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers have proper safety protection, and work environments are healthful and safe."
In 2010, OSHA developed a local emphasis program which targets grain handling facilities after repeated safety violations were cited in the industry. The program covers hazards associated with grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout of dangerous equipment to prevent accidental energization start-up, electricity, falls, employee training and combustible dust hazards.
The company operates multiple divisions at 20 facilities in south central Wisconsin and prior to this investigation, the company had been inspected by OSHA a total of three times since 2006.
Hazard Communication Standard to be Updated by GHS
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis joined by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels, hosted a press teleconference to announce a final rule that would update OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard. Solis described the revised standard will align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals to better protect workers from hazardous chemicals and help American businesses compete in a global economy. "Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today," she said. "Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace."
Assistant Secretary Michaels explained that OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), which will be fully implemented in 2016, benefits workers by reducing confusion in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understandings of hazards, especially for low-wage and limited-literacy workers. The harmonized standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States or imported from abroad.
OSHA's harmonized standard will ensure that workers have access not only to labels and safety data sheets, but also to information that is easier to find and understand through the use of standardized formats and label elements: signal words, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements. As one participant expressed during OSHA's rulemaking process, this update will give workers the right to understand, as well as the right to know.
What is the Globally Harmonized System (GHS)? GHS provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health and physical hazards and specifies hazard communication elements for labeling and safety data sheets. These criteria and elements will help chemical manufacturers to determine if a chemical product produced and/or supplied is hazardous and explains how to prepare an appropriate label and/or safety data sheet. The GHS is not a regulation or a standard, but a set of recommendations that a competent authority such as OSHA can adopt.
What Employers Need to Do and When (Effective Dates): Employers must train workers on the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013. Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must comply with all modified provisions of the final rule by June 1, 2015. However, distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system until December 1, 2015. By June 1, 2016, employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary, and provide additional worker training for new identified physical and health hazards. During this transition period, all chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers may comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200, or the current standard, or both.
Revolution Launched by 4 Commercial Retailers 50 Years Ago
Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Kohl's opened their first stores in 1962, in Arkansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively. As these retailers celebrate their 50th anniversary, they find themselves operating in a dramatically altered landscape. Population growth is slowing, family units are evolving and the minority is becoming the majority. Consumers are shifting from suburban to urban centers, and they are shopping across a dizzying array of platforms. (Amazon and eBay launched in 1995, and Wal-Mart and Target moved online in 1996 and 1999, respectively.) Media has become fragmented, with digital, social and mobile shaping the industry. A revolution is happening, and retailers and discounters in particular, must adapt to changing consumer preferences or risk becoming insignificant. (Note: There is a lesson within this story that applies to agricultural retailers.)
2012 Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.