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Newsletter
Volume 110
January 2, 2013
Best Wishes for a Safe, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!
One of the real joys of ringing in a New Year is the opportunity to say "Thank You" and to wish you the very best for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2013! We appreciate the opportunity to work with you in 2013!
Paul Harvey at His Best
As we stop to reflect on the past year and to plan for the upcoming year, I can't help but to refer back to Paul Harvey's haunting vision from his 1965 radio show. Considering the state of our current nation on this New Year's day, I don't believe that more fitting words are available for this newsletter. I grew up in an era that when Paul Harvey came on the radio, the room went silent. Paul Harvey, a legendary American radio broadcaster born in 1918 was followed by a listening audience estimated, at its peak, at 24 million people a week. Broadcast on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and published in over 300 newspapers, his work has been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator. I encourage you to click here, take a few moments and listen to what has become an amazingly accurate prediction as you begin your New Year. - Allen Summers
New Grain Handling Courses
New Courses Developed for Grain Handling Facilities
Watch your mail for invitations in the coming weeks to a series of new grain handling training courses. The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI) and the Asmark Institute have partnered to provide a series of high-quality, hands-on training to the personnel within the agricultural industry who handle grain. Beginning in the first quarter of 2013, two courses in the new series will be offered at the new Agricenter training complex located in Bloomington, Illinois. John Lee, Director of Safety, Health & Environmental Services for GFAI, will be the lead instructor for the new courses. Welcome to the Grain Industry will be a basic one-day course geared to the needs of employees new to the grain industry and will cover OSHA's grain handling standard along with demonstrations and scenarios designed to reinforce the message of safety. Safe Grain Handling Operations will be a two-day course that immerses the participant in an environment that is as close to real as possible. This intermediate course is designed for experienced grain handling personnel and uses a variety of demonstrations, equipment and scenarios to exercise the participant's existing capacity to reflect on the safety issues they have encountered and engages them to apply their knowledge and skills to find workable solutions. Final preparations are currently underway and more information, including registration, will be available in the days to come.
New Compliance Wizard a Huge Success!
The new Compliance Wizard was launched on Monday, October 29th to help streamline and improve data collection for the annual compliance visits. So far, the feedback we've received from the users has been overwhelmingly positive! According to Megan Hill and Eric Rasor, the staff responsible for developing the new tool, the number of locations completing their annual compliance visit before Christmas was 62% ahead of the same day last year. Each submission is taking an average of 44 minutes to complete, which is significantly more efficient than the paper system of the past. The Compliance Wizard is a web-based feature that utilizes logic to guide the user through the annual compliance visit process. It retains the familiar, yet eliminates the folders and postage to return the hard copy packets. The users are very pleased with the flexibility of this feature based on the feedback and comments we have received. Built-in checks and balances help ensure that all required reports are completed and accurate. If you have not used the Compliance Wizard to complete your 2012 reporting requirements, please do so promptly to ensure adequate time to prepare your reports for submission before the deadline.
Work Begins on New DVD Training Video Number 2
With the new DVD Number 1 exchanged in December, the Asmark Institute DVD production team is switching gears to begin the process of remaking DVD Number 2. The production team consists of Dustin Warder, Brian Mason and Nick Clements, who are busy making preparations to launch the second DVD in the set by the end of the year. Regulations are currently being researched as scripts are edited and double-checked for accuracy in preparation to record new voiceovers. "New technology has enabled us to start fresh with this series of updates," according to Warder, "finalizing production on totally new training programs, including music, voiceover, footage and studio shots." Topics updated in 2013 include Anhydrous Ammonia Safety, Hazardous Materials, Security Wise and Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The 2013 project will require literally thousands of hours as the video team travels across the country shooting footage at a variety of client's locations and editing it in-house using our new state of the art video editing suite. Feedback on the recently updated DVD Number 1 has been overwhelmingly positive. We appreciate your feedback and comments. If you have questions on the DVD production process or would like to offer your location as the background in shooting some of the new footage, contact Dustin at Ext 203 or by email at dustin@asmark.org.
Whitford Receives Award of Excellence
Whitford Receives Hovde Award of Excellence
Citing achievements during his career such as improving the recertification program for Indiana's pesticide applicators, helping thousands of farmers comply with the government regulations and authoring more than 200 publications, Dr. Fred Whitford, Coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs, received the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to Rural People of Indiana. "Fred's work is a great example of putting science into practice to help improve the lives and livelihoods of our stakeholders," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "He is a nationally recognized authority on agricultural transportation and pesticide regulatory issues, and a dynamic communicator who knows how to reach an audience." Dr. Whitford serves on the Board for the National Agronomic Environmental, Health & Safety School and is always one of the highest rated speakers at their annual meeting. "Fred is a prolific writer and one of the most engaging speakers you'll ever hear," said Peter Goldsbrough, head of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, where Purdue Pesticide Programs is housed. "He's very adept at identifying the needs of the farming community." Congratulations Dr. Whitford on your well-deserved award for your work on behalf of our industry!
Consolidation Chart Updated to Reflect 2012
Accurately tracking the ag retail marketplace's rate of consolidation has been challenging, but thanks to CropLife magazine's Top 100 list, along with hours of research, the Consolidation Chart has been updated to visually portray its heritage. Initially released in 2011, the chart includes all the mergers/acquisitions among CropLife 100 retailers that have taken place since 1984. To view a full version of this poster, please click here. For more information, contact Donna at Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.
Current Data May Help Your Score According to CSA
Did You Know ... as a motor carrier, recent Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data from your Motor Carrier Registration form, known as the MCS-150, are required and must be up to date to properly assess your level of exposure in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in FMCSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS).
If your VMT data in FMCSA's database is from 2010 or older, it will not be used in your calculations when the January SMS snapshot is posted at the beginning of February. Instead, the level of exposure will default to average PUs over the previous 18 months, which can impact your percentiles in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs. View the SMS Methodology for additional details on BASIC percentile calculations.
Update your MCS-150 now with VMT/PU information or shortly after January 1, 2013 with your 2012 data to ensure that FMCSA is using the most accurate data available to calculate your percentiles. Click here to update your MCS-150 information. Under the "Existing Registration Updates" section, choose the first option - "I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update." The SMS website is updated monthly, so your MCS-150 changes will not be reflected on that site until the next monthly update.
Indiana BMV Modifies Application for AG CDL
Beginning on December 10, 2012, Indiana drivers wanting an Ag-Restricted Commercial Driver's License for Agricultural Purposes (Ag-Restricted Class B CDL) will need to take a completed license application to their local license branch. The Application for Ag-Restricted Commercial Driver's License for Agricultural Purposes (State Form 48440) is available on the myBMV.com website. With this new process, the Indiana BMV will issue the Ag-Restricted CDL as a credential and seasonal authorization document rather than issue a paper Ag CDL. Click here for the communication from BMV on this change.
List of Lists Updated
EPA recently updated the Consolidated List of Chemicals - also known as the List of Lists. The most recent list is dated October 2012. All Asmark Institute clients will have a current copy of the updated list included in their 2013 Compliance Manual update. Click here to access an electronic copy of the revised List of Lists.
DOT Proposal Would Deter "Reincarnated" Carriers
DOT published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in a manner that would enable the agency to suspend or revoke the operating authority registration of motor carriers that have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance, permitted persons who have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance to exercise controlling influence over their operations, or operated multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations. Motor carriers that engage in such conduct may face suspension or revocation of their operating authority registration. FMCSA acknowledges that loss of operating authority registration is a significant penalty, but the Agency believes this rule is necessary and appropriate for the small number of motor carriers that engage in the most egregious instances of noncompliance.
FMCSA has determined that each year a small number of motor carriers have attempted to avoid regulatory compliance, or mask or otherwise conceal noncompliance by submitting new applications for registration, often under a different name, to continue operations after being placed out of service. Motor carriers and individuals do this for a variety of reasons that include avoiding payment of civil penalties, circumventing denial of operating authority registration based on a determination that they are not willing or able to comply with the applicable statutes or regulations, or avoiding a negative compliance history. Other motor carriers attempt to avoid compliance, or mask or otherwise conceal noncompliance, by creating or using an affiliated company under common operational control. They shift customers, vehicles, drivers, and other operational activities to one of the affiliated companies when FMCSA places one of the other commonly controlled companies out of service.
CropLife Magazine Campaign
In conjunction with launching the Compass line of services and products in 2012, we began a monthly ad campaign with CropLife magazine. The Compass line consists of the tools made available a la carte to non-retainer clients at retail prices and is designed to supplement their compliance program. Compass originated to help support our affiliation with State Associations by making it easy for their members to access services, reducing time and effort for their staff.
Our monthly ad appearing in CropLife offers a more visible presence and spotlights a featured service or product that is available a la carte specific to the season. Each ad contains a QR code that links the reader directly to our website to learn more about that month's featured service/product. CropLife magazine is an organization that we believe supports Asmark Institute's mission to imagine, solve, build, collaborate and lead on behalf of the retail agricultural industry. We will continue our monthly advertising schedule with CropLife magazine in 2013. If you have questions regarding the Compass services and products offered, please contact Donna at Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association Joins with OSHA to Address Grain Industry Hazards
OSHA recently announced they have established an alliance with the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) that will focus on addressing the grain and feed industry's six major danger areas, outlined in OSHA's Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck-by," combustible dust and electrocution hazards. Tom Bressner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association stated, "Our goal of this alliance is to work hand and hand with OSHA in positive ways. Many view OSHA as a regulator that is simply out to enforce regulations. This alliance proactively shifts everyone's focus to educating, training, and making our industry safer well before an OSHA inspection ever occurs." OSHA and WABA will provide information and guidance to employees and employers, and develop training programs to reduce injuries and improve overall safety and health. Emphasis will be placed on using effective machine guarding as well as implementing programs for locking out the energy sources of equipment and entering confined spaces. The partners jointly will identify and develop speaker resources for local meetings and conventions, and informational materials to be disseminated at these events.
Lisa Jackson, Head of EPA, Resigns Post
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who pushed through the most sweeping regulation on air pollution in two decades, announced this past week that she will resign her post shortly after President Obama's State of the Union address next month. Outspoken on issues including climate change and the need to protect poor communities from experiencing a disproportionate amount of environmental harm, Jackson pressed for limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants and on dumping mining waste into streams and rivers near mines. The slew of rules the EPA enacted over the past four years included the first greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles, cuts in mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants and a tighter limit on soot. Many congressional Republicans and business groups claimed Jackson was waging a "war on coal," but according to EPA staff she was considered a hero to the environmental community.
Obama has not picked her successor, although two of the leading candidates work at EPA: Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Gina McCarthy, who heads the agency's air and radiation office. Jackson has told several people she considers Perciasepe well prepared to take the agency's helm. Other possible successors include Mary D. Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, and Kathleen McGinty, who headed the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton.
EPA Air Particulate Rule Does Not Change "Farm Dust"
As promised by the agency and the White House, EPA's release this week of changes to federal air particulate rules under the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not contain any change in air quality standards applied to "farm dust" rules. This leaves the standard for daily emissions of coarse particles at 10 microns, a section of the rule which includes on-farm dust and dust from other sources. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said he was pleased by the rule - he's previously complained that ag groups are making an issue of a non-issue - but Senator Pat Roberts (R, KS), while saying he was pleased by the ruling, also reminded the Secretary and others he's a co-sponsor on the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, a bill that would prevent EPA from issuing any new, tougher farm dust standards for a year. The bill also allows states and local governments the opportunity to create their own solutions to farm dust issues before the federal government steps in. Senator Mike Johanns (R, NE) said he's introduced legislation to permanently block EPA from taking a tougher stand on farm dust. EPA's action, while freezing the coarse particulate standard at 10 microns, includes action to set standards for fine particle emissions, including soot, at 2.5 microns. Six bipartisan Senators sent a December 14th letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson telling her they were concerned by the agency's zeal to finalize the rule "especially in light of the substantial scientific uncertainties involved." While EPA says the new fine particulate standard can be met by 99% of regulated industry without additional actions, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says the standard put a burden on manufacturers.
OSHA Cites Nebraska Grain Facility for Exposing Workers
OSHA has cited a grain storage facility in Nebraska with three safety violations-including two willful-for allowing workers to enter grain bins while sweep augers were operating. OSHA initiated the complaint inspection in May under the agency's grain handling local emphasis program. Proposed penalties total $144,400. Two willful violations address hazards associated with failing to lock out the energy sources of mechanical equipment during bin entry and to ensure workers are using a body harness and lanyard while working in grain bins and provide rescue equipment for workers entering bins.
Registration Deadline for Grain Handling Facilities Extended
Companies currently registered under the Federal Bioterrorism Act of 2002 are required to register with FDA under new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2010. FDA has acknowledged problems with its registration system and on December 14th announced it is extending the deadline for reregistration until January 31, 2013. The registrations are required every two years, with the "window" for reregistration set as October 1-December 31, in even-numbered years. However, FDA's registration system didn't come online until late October, the agency said, and reregistrations were stymied. Registration under both the Bioterrorism Act and FSMA are required of companies with facilities that manufacture, process, package, receive or store food for man or animal in the U.S. Go to www.fda.gov to get specifics on registration.
The Drought That Goes on Giving
You know that story about a drought having a long tail? Well, this is a part of that story. The drought of 2012 just won't let go. Now it's the low water levels on our rivers that are still biting agriculture. According to a couple of Missouri fertilizer dealers, if you farm in the Midwest, you might not get all the fertilizer you would like this spring. And what you do get may cost more, at least for the transportation from the Gulf. According to retailers in the Midwest, the river shutdown or threat of shutdown from low water levels is already serious when it comes to fertilizer shipments. All forms of nitrogen and phosphorus come up the Mississippi to docks in Cairo or St. Louis or Burlington, then travel by truck or train to the retailer's locations. Now, it faces the prospect of coming by truck and/or train all the way from New Orleans. Normally, retailers would be filling fertilizer warehouses from now until spring, but it's on hold waiting to see how the transportation issue will play out. The Mississippi flow levels are less than half of normal from the drought, and too shallow for full barges.
EPA Investigating Shop Towel Laundries
Industrial laundries that specialize in laundering shop towels have been under the microscope of Region I EPA for Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations. The laundries handle shop towels that are used to wipe oils, solvents and other chemicals off vehicles and machinery at equipment and automotive dealerships as well as shop uniforms worn in those facilities. The major environmental issue with industrial laundries is the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that shop towels contain. EPA is seeking detailed information about the laundries' customers, collection practices, storage equipment, operations and materials used.
UPS & USPS Rates to Increase
Effective January 27, 2013, the price for one-ounce First-Class Mail letters will increase by one cent to 46 cents. Additional ounces will remain unchanged at 20 cents, postcards will increase 1 cent to 33 cents, and one-ounce letters to all international destinations will be $1.10. United Parcel Service (UPS) has announced a rate increase of 4.5% for overnight letters and 4.9% for ground-delivery packages effective January 1st.
ESP
Note: Almost 40% of Asmark Institute clients are finding relief from the expenses associated with UPS and Postal Service by using our Electronic Service Program (ESP). ESP can save you about $200 a year on average and speed up delivery of your communications. To see if ESP is right for your location, contact Donna at Ext 205 or Jessica at Ext 229.
Indiana Leading Way on New Postal Concept
The United States Postal Service says Indiana is ahead of the rest of the country in implementing a new model designed to maintain services while cutting costs. The 20th Village Post Office (VPO) in the state recently opened in Perry County. The concept involves the USPS contracting with retail locations in rural areas to provide postal products and services. Spokeswoman Mary Dando says VPOs allow small towns to keep a postal presence and small businesses to increase foot traffic. She says VPOs are opening at a time when many traditional post offices are closing.
SPCC Compliance Date Approaching for Farms
According to guidance resulting from EPA's October 18, 2011 published rules, farms must prepare or amend and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans by May 10, 2013. Industry sources indicate there will be no further extensions for farms beyond the extended compliance date of May 10, 2013, for the owners or operators of farms. The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended Plans.
The Fine Print of FIFRA by CropLife America
False or Misleading Label Statements - EPA's pesticide labeling regulations caution that a pesticide is misbranded "if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular way including both pesticidal and non-pesticidal claims." EPA offers the following examples of claims that are false and misleading:
  1. A false or misleading statement concerning the composition of the product;
  2. A false or misleading statement concerning the effectiveness of the product as a pesticide or device;
  3. A false or misleading statement about the value of the product for purposes other than as a pesticide or device;
  4. A false or misleading comparison with other pesticides or devices;
  5. Any statement directly or indirectly implying that the pesticide or device is recommended or endorsed by any agency of the federal government;
  6. The name of a pesticide which contains two or more principal active ingredients, if the name suggests one or more but not all such principal active ingredients, even though the names of the other ingredients are stated elsewhere in the labeling;
  7. A true statement used in such a way as to give a false or misleading impression to the purchaser
  8. Label disclaimers which negate or detract from labeling statements required under the Act and regulations;
  9. Claims as to the safety of the pesticide or its ingredients, including statements such as "safe," "nonpoisonous," "noninjurious," "harmless" or "nontoxic to humans and pets" with or without such a qualifying phrase as "when used as directed";
  10. Non-numerical and/or comparative statements on the safety of the product, including but not limited to the following: (A) "contains all natural ingredients"; (B) "among the least toxic chemicals known"; (C) "Pollution approved."
NHTSA Expected to Require Black Boxes in All Light Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to propose in the coming days a rule requiring event data recorders (EDRs), the so-called "black boxes," in vehicles that record crash data in all new light vehicles. The White House Office of Management Budget completed a review of the proposal December 6th, clearing the way for NHTSA to finalize the standard for all cars and light trucks. It was not clear when the rule would take effect.
Employers Cautioned About Misleading Labor Law Poster "Notices"
Citing a national problem, Kentucky officials cautioned Kentucky employers to be on the lookout for misleading labor law notices sold by private companies. Letters sent to Kentucky businesses threaten civil and criminal penalties ranging from $7,000 to $17,000 if they do not display certain posters being sold. "Some employers are misled into believing that these notices are official government warnings," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said. "I want to make sure that employers don't fall victim to these fraudulent posters and scare tactics." Some Kentucky businesses have reported receiving threatening "second" and "final notices" from private entities selling labor law posters, which they claim are required under Kentucky and federal law. The Kentucky Department of Labor does not mail notices advising businesses of these requirements.
Note: This is a nationwide problem whereas unscrupulous vendors seek to charge anywhere from $60-110 for a set of compliant posters. A set of all laminated State and Federal Posters are available to Asmark Institute clients for $29.22 including shipping on our website.
Most Quotable: "My primary focus is going to continue to be on the economy, on immigration, on climate change and energy." -- Barrack Obama, current U.S. President, recently identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.
2013 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.
Best Wishes for a Safe, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!
One of the real joys of ringing in a New Year is the opportunity to say "Thank You" and to wish you the very best for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2013! We appreciate the opportunity to work with you in 2013!
Paul Harvey at His Best
As we stop to reflect on the past year and to plan for the upcoming year, I can't help but to refer back to Paul Harvey's haunting vision from his 1965 radio show. Considering the state of our current nation on this New Year's day, I don't believe that more fitting words are available for this newsletter. I grew up in an era that when Paul Harvey came on the radio, the room went silent. Paul Harvey, a legendary American radio broadcaster born in 1918 was followed by a listening audience estimated, at its peak, at 24 million people a week. Broadcast on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and published in over 300 newspapers, his work has been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator. I encourage you to click here, take a few moments and listen to what has become an amazingly accurate prediction as you begin your New Year. - Allen Summers
New Grain Handling Courses
New Courses Developed for Grain Handling Facilities
Watch your mail for invitations in the coming weeks to a series of new grain handling training courses. The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI) and the Asmark Institute have partnered to provide a series of high-quality, hands-on training to the personnel within the agricultural industry who handle grain. Beginning in the first quarter of 2013, two courses in the new series will be offered at the new Agricenter training complex located in Bloomington, Illinois. John Lee, Director of Safety, Health & Environmental Services for GFAI, will be the lead instructor for the new courses. Welcome to the Grain Industry will be a basic one-day course geared to the needs of employees new to the grain industry and will cover OSHA's grain handling standard along with demonstrations and scenarios designed to reinforce the message of safety. Safe Grain Handling Operations will be a two-day course that immerses the participant in an environment that is as close to real as possible. This intermediate course is designed for experienced grain handling personnel and uses a variety of demonstrations, equipment and scenarios to exercise the participant's existing capacity to reflect on the safety issues they have encountered and engages them to apply their knowledge and skills to find workable solutions. Final preparations are currently underway and more information, including registration, will be available in the days to come.
New Compliance Wizard a Huge Success!
The new Compliance Wizard was launched on Monday, October 29th to help streamline and improve data collection for the annual compliance visits. So far, the feedback we've received from the users has been overwhelmingly positive! According to Megan Hill and Eric Rasor, the staff responsible for developing the new tool, the number of locations completing their annual compliance visit before Christmas was 62% ahead of the same day last year. Each submission is taking an average of 44 minutes to complete, which is significantly more efficient than the paper system of the past. The Compliance Wizard is a web-based feature that utilizes logic to guide the user through the annual compliance visit process. It retains the familiar, yet eliminates the folders and postage to return the hard copy packets. The users are very pleased with the flexibility of this feature based on the feedback and comments we have received. Built-in checks and balances help ensure that all required reports are completed and accurate. If you have not used the Compliance Wizard to complete your 2012 reporting requirements, please do so promptly to ensure adequate time to prepare your reports for submission before the deadline.
Work Begins on New DVD Training Video Number 2
With the new DVD Number 1 exchanged in December, the Asmark Institute DVD production team is switching gears to begin the process of remaking DVD Number 2. The production team consists of Dustin Warder, Brian Mason and Nick Clements, who are busy making preparations to launch the second DVD in the set by the end of the year. Regulations are currently being researched as scripts are edited and double-checked for accuracy in preparation to record new voiceovers. "New technology has enabled us to start fresh with this series of updates," according to Warder, "finalizing production on totally new training programs, including music, voiceover, footage and studio shots." Topics updated in 2013 include Anhydrous Ammonia Safety, Hazardous Materials, Security Wise and Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The 2013 project will require literally thousands of hours as the video team travels across the country shooting footage at a variety of client's locations and editing it in-house using our new state of the art video editing suite. Feedback on the recently updated DVD Number 1 has been overwhelmingly positive. We appreciate your feedback and comments. If you have questions on the DVD production process or would like to offer your location as the background in shooting some of the new footage, contact Dustin at Ext 203 or by email at dustin@asmark.org.
Whitford Receives Award of Excellence
Whitford Receives Hovde Award of Excellence
Citing achievements during his career such as improving the recertification program for Indiana's pesticide applicators, helping thousands of farmers comply with the government regulations and authoring more than 200 publications, Dr. Fred Whitford, Coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs, received the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to Rural People of Indiana. "Fred's work is a great example of putting science into practice to help improve the lives and livelihoods of our stakeholders," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "He is a nationally recognized authority on agricultural transportation and pesticide regulatory issues, and a dynamic communicator who knows how to reach an audience." Dr. Whitford serves on the Board for the National Agronomic Environmental, Health & Safety School and is always one of the highest rated speakers at their annual meeting. "Fred is a prolific writer and one of the most engaging speakers you'll ever hear," said Peter Goldsbrough, head of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, where Purdue Pesticide Programs is housed. "He's very adept at identifying the needs of the farming community." Congratulations Dr. Whitford on your well-deserved award for your work on behalf of our industry!
Consolidation Chart Updated to Reflect 2012
Accurately tracking the ag retail marketplace's rate of consolidation has been challenging, but thanks to CropLife magazine's Top 100 list, along with hours of research, the Consolidation Chart has been updated to visually portray its heritage. Initially released in 2011, the chart includes all the mergers/acquisitions among CropLife 100 retailers that have taken place since 1984. To view a full version of this poster, please click here. For more information, contact Donna at Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.
Current Data May Help Your Score According to CSA
Did You Know ... as a motor carrier, recent Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data from your Motor Carrier Registration form, known as the MCS-150, are required and must be up to date to properly assess your level of exposure in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in FMCSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS).
If your VMT data in FMCSA's database is from 2010 or older, it will not be used in your calculations when the January SMS snapshot is posted at the beginning of February. Instead, the level of exposure will default to average PUs over the previous 18 months, which can impact your percentiles in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs. View the SMS Methodology for additional details on BASIC percentile calculations.
Update your MCS-150 now with VMT/PU information or shortly after January 1, 2013 with your 2012 data to ensure that FMCSA is using the most accurate data available to calculate your percentiles. Click here to update your MCS-150 information. Under the "Existing Registration Updates" section, choose the first option - "I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update." The SMS website is updated monthly, so your MCS-150 changes will not be reflected on that site until the next monthly update.
Indiana BMV Modifies Application for AG CDL
Beginning on December 10, 2012, Indiana drivers wanting an Ag-Restricted Commercial Driver's License for Agricultural Purposes (Ag-Restricted Class B CDL) will need to take a completed license application to their local license branch. The Application for Ag-Restricted Commercial Driver's License for Agricultural Purposes (State Form 48440) is available on the myBMV.com website. With this new process, the Indiana BMV will issue the Ag-Restricted CDL as a credential and seasonal authorization document rather than issue a paper Ag CDL. Click here for the communication from BMV on this change.
List of Lists Updated
EPA recently updated the Consolidated List of Chemicals - also known as the List of Lists. The most recent list is dated October 2012. All Asmark Institute clients will have a current copy of the updated list included in their 2013 Compliance Manual update. Click here to access an electronic copy of the revised List of Lists.
DOT Proposal Would Deter "Reincarnated" Carriers
DOT published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in a manner that would enable the agency to suspend or revoke the operating authority registration of motor carriers that have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance, permitted persons who have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance to exercise controlling influence over their operations, or operated multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations. Motor carriers that engage in such conduct may face suspension or revocation of their operating authority registration. FMCSA acknowledges that loss of operating authority registration is a significant penalty, but the Agency believes this rule is necessary and appropriate for the small number of motor carriers that engage in the most egregious instances of noncompliance.
FMCSA has determined that each year a small number of motor carriers have attempted to avoid regulatory compliance, or mask or otherwise conceal noncompliance by submitting new applications for registration, often under a different name, to continue operations after being placed out of service. Motor carriers and individuals do this for a variety of reasons that include avoiding payment of civil penalties, circumventing denial of operating authority registration based on a determination that they are not willing or able to comply with the applicable statutes or regulations, or avoiding a negative compliance history. Other motor carriers attempt to avoid compliance, or mask or otherwise conceal noncompliance, by creating or using an affiliated company under common operational control. They shift customers, vehicles, drivers, and other operational activities to one of the affiliated companies when FMCSA places one of the other commonly controlled companies out of service.
CropLife Magazine Campaign
In conjunction with launching the Compass line of services and products in 2012, we began a monthly ad campaign with CropLife magazine. The Compass line consists of the tools made available a la carte to non-retainer clients at retail prices and is designed to supplement their compliance program. Compass originated to help support our affiliation with State Associations by making it easy for their members to access services, reducing time and effort for their staff.
Our monthly ad appearing in CropLife offers a more visible presence and spotlights a featured service or product that is available a la carte specific to the season. Each ad contains a QR code that links the reader directly to our website to learn more about that month's featured service/product. CropLife magazine is an organization that we believe supports Asmark Institute's mission to imagine, solve, build, collaborate and lead on behalf of the retail agricultural industry. We will continue our monthly advertising schedule with CropLife magazine in 2013. If you have questions regarding the Compass services and products offered, please contact Donna at Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association Joins with OSHA to Address Grain Industry Hazards
OSHA recently announced they have established an alliance with the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) that will focus on addressing the grain and feed industry's six major danger areas, outlined in OSHA's Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck-by," combustible dust and electrocution hazards. Tom Bressner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association stated, "Our goal of this alliance is to work hand and hand with OSHA in positive ways. Many view OSHA as a regulator that is simply out to enforce regulations. This alliance proactively shifts everyone's focus to educating, training, and making our industry safer well before an OSHA inspection ever occurs." OSHA and WABA will provide information and guidance to employees and employers, and develop training programs to reduce injuries and improve overall safety and health. Emphasis will be placed on using effective machine guarding as well as implementing programs for locking out the energy sources of equipment and entering confined spaces. The partners jointly will identify and develop speaker resources for local meetings and conventions, and informational materials to be disseminated at these events.
Lisa Jackson, Head of EPA, Resigns Post
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who pushed through the most sweeping regulation on air pollution in two decades, announced this past week that she will resign her post shortly after President Obama's State of the Union address next month. Outspoken on issues including climate change and the need to protect poor communities from experiencing a disproportionate amount of environmental harm, Jackson pressed for limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants and on dumping mining waste into streams and rivers near mines. The slew of rules the EPA enacted over the past four years included the first greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles, cuts in mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants and a tighter limit on soot. Many congressional Republicans and business groups claimed Jackson was waging a "war on coal," but according to EPA staff she was considered a hero to the environmental community.
Obama has not picked her successor, although two of the leading candidates work at EPA: Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Gina McCarthy, who heads the agency's air and radiation office. Jackson has told several people she considers Perciasepe well prepared to take the agency's helm. Other possible successors include Mary D. Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, and Kathleen McGinty, who headed the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton.
EPA Air Particulate Rule Does Not Change "Farm Dust"
As promised by the agency and the White House, EPA's release this week of changes to federal air particulate rules under the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not contain any change in air quality standards applied to "farm dust" rules. This leaves the standard for daily emissions of coarse particles at 10 microns, a section of the rule which includes on-farm dust and dust from other sources. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said he was pleased by the rule - he's previously complained that ag groups are making an issue of a non-issue - but Senator Pat Roberts (R, KS), while saying he was pleased by the ruling, also reminded the Secretary and others he's a co-sponsor on the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, a bill that would prevent EPA from issuing any new, tougher farm dust standards for a year. The bill also allows states and local governments the opportunity to create their own solutions to farm dust issues before the federal government steps in. Senator Mike Johanns (R, NE) said he's introduced legislation to permanently block EPA from taking a tougher stand on farm dust. EPA's action, while freezing the coarse particulate standard at 10 microns, includes action to set standards for fine particle emissions, including soot, at 2.5 microns. Six bipartisan Senators sent a December 14th letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson telling her they were concerned by the agency's zeal to finalize the rule "especially in light of the substantial scientific uncertainties involved." While EPA says the new fine particulate standard can be met by 99% of regulated industry without additional actions, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says the standard put a burden on manufacturers.
OSHA Cites Nebraska Grain Facility for Exposing Workers
OSHA has cited a grain storage facility in Nebraska with three safety violations-including two willful-for allowing workers to enter grain bins while sweep augers were operating. OSHA initiated the complaint inspection in May under the agency's grain handling local emphasis program. Proposed penalties total $144,400. Two willful violations address hazards associated with failing to lock out the energy sources of mechanical equipment during bin entry and to ensure workers are using a body harness and lanyard while working in grain bins and provide rescue equipment for workers entering bins.
Registration Deadline for Grain Handling Facilities Extended
Companies currently registered under the Federal Bioterrorism Act of 2002 are required to register with FDA under new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2010. FDA has acknowledged problems with its registration system and on December 14th announced it is extending the deadline for reregistration until January 31, 2013. The registrations are required every two years, with the "window" for reregistration set as October 1-December 31, in even-numbered years. However, FDA's registration system didn't come online until late October, the agency said, and reregistrations were stymied. Registration under both the Bioterrorism Act and FSMA are required of companies with facilities that manufacture, process, package, receive or store food for man or animal in the U.S. Go to www.fda.gov to get specifics on registration.
The Drought That Goes on Giving
You know that story about a drought having a long tail? Well, this is a part of that story. The drought of 2012 just won't let go. Now it's the low water levels on our rivers that are still biting agriculture. According to a couple of Missouri fertilizer dealers, if you farm in the Midwest, you might not get all the fertilizer you would like this spring. And what you do get may cost more, at least for the transportation from the Gulf. According to retailers in the Midwest, the river shutdown or threat of shutdown from low water levels is already serious when it comes to fertilizer shipments. All forms of nitrogen and phosphorus come up the Mississippi to docks in Cairo or St. Louis or Burlington, then travel by truck or train to the retailer's locations. Now, it faces the prospect of coming by truck and/or train all the way from New Orleans. Normally, retailers would be filling fertilizer warehouses from now until spring, but it's on hold waiting to see how the transportation issue will play out. The Mississippi flow levels are less than half of normal from the drought, and too shallow for full barges.
EPA Investigating Shop Towel Laundries
Industrial laundries that specialize in laundering shop towels have been under the microscope of Region I EPA for Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations. The laundries handle shop towels that are used to wipe oils, solvents and other chemicals off vehicles and machinery at equipment and automotive dealerships as well as shop uniforms worn in those facilities. The major environmental issue with industrial laundries is the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that shop towels contain. EPA is seeking detailed information about the laundries' customers, collection practices, storage equipment, operations and materials used.
UPS & USPS Rates to Increase
Effective January 27, 2013, the price for one-ounce First-Class Mail letters will increase by one cent to 46 cents. Additional ounces will remain unchanged at 20 cents, postcards will increase 1 cent to 33 cents, and one-ounce letters to all international destinations will be $1.10. United Parcel Service (UPS) has announced a rate increase of 4.5% for overnight letters and 4.9% for ground-delivery packages effective January 1st.
ESP
Note: Almost 40% of Asmark Institute clients are finding relief from the expenses associated with UPS and Postal Service by using our Electronic Service Program (ESP). ESP can save you about $200 a year on average and speed up delivery of your communications. To see if ESP is right for your location, contact Donna at Ext 205 or Jessica at Ext 229.
Indiana Leading Way on New Postal Concept
The United States Postal Service says Indiana is ahead of the rest of the country in implementing a new model designed to maintain services while cutting costs. The 20th Village Post Office (VPO) in the state recently opened in Perry County. The concept involves the USPS contracting with retail locations in rural areas to provide postal products and services. Spokeswoman Mary Dando says VPOs allow small towns to keep a postal presence and small businesses to increase foot traffic. She says VPOs are opening at a time when many traditional post offices are closing.
SPCC Compliance Date Approaching for Farms
According to guidance resulting from EPA's October 18, 2011 published rules, farms must prepare or amend and implement their Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans by May 10, 2013. Industry sources indicate there will be no further extensions for farms beyond the extended compliance date of May 10, 2013, for the owners or operators of farms. The amendment does not remove the regulatory requirement for owners or operators of farms in operation before August 16, 2002, to maintain and continue implementing an SPCC Plan in accordance with the SPCC regulations then in effect. Such farms continue to be required to maintain plans during the interim until the applicable compliance date for amending and implementing the amended Plans.
The Fine Print of FIFRA by CropLife America
False or Misleading Label Statements - EPA's pesticide labeling regulations caution that a pesticide is misbranded "if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular way including both pesticidal and non-pesticidal claims." EPA offers the following examples of claims that are false and misleading:
  1. A false or misleading statement concerning the composition of the product;
  2. A false or misleading statement concerning the effectiveness of the product as a pesticide or device;
  3. A false or misleading statement about the value of the product for purposes other than as a pesticide or device;
  4. A false or misleading comparison with other pesticides or devices;
  5. Any statement directly or indirectly implying that the pesticide or device is recommended or endorsed by any agency of the federal government;
  6. The name of a pesticide which contains two or more principal active ingredients, if the name suggests one or more but not all such principal active ingredients, even though the names of the other ingredients are stated elsewhere in the labeling;
  7. A true statement used in such a way as to give a false or misleading impression to the purchaser
  8. Label disclaimers which negate or detract from labeling statements required under the Act and regulations;
  9. Claims as to the safety of the pesticide or its ingredients, including statements such as "safe," "nonpoisonous," "noninjurious," "harmless" or "nontoxic to humans and pets" with or without such a qualifying phrase as "when used as directed";
  10. Non-numerical and/or comparative statements on the safety of the product, including but not limited to the following: (A) "contains all natural ingredients"; (B) "among the least toxic chemicals known"; (C) "Pollution approved."
NHTSA Expected to Require Black Boxes in All Light Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to propose in the coming days a rule requiring event data recorders (EDRs), the so-called "black boxes," in vehicles that record crash data in all new light vehicles. The White House Office of Management Budget completed a review of the proposal December 6th, clearing the way for NHTSA to finalize the standard for all cars and light trucks. It was not clear when the rule would take effect.
Employers Cautioned About Misleading Labor Law Poster "Notices"
Citing a national problem, Kentucky officials cautioned Kentucky employers to be on the lookout for misleading labor law notices sold by private companies. Letters sent to Kentucky businesses threaten civil and criminal penalties ranging from $7,000 to $17,000 if they do not display certain posters being sold. "Some employers are misled into believing that these notices are official government warnings," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said. "I want to make sure that employers don't fall victim to these fraudulent posters and scare tactics." Some Kentucky businesses have reported receiving threatening "second" and "final notices" from private entities selling labor law posters, which they claim are required under Kentucky and federal law. The Kentucky Department of Labor does not mail notices advising businesses of these requirements.
Note: This is a nationwide problem whereas unscrupulous vendors seek to charge anywhere from $60-110 for a set of compliant posters. A set of all laminated State and Federal Posters are available to Asmark Institute clients for $29.22 including shipping on our website.
Most Quotable: "My primary focus is going to continue to be on the economy, on immigration, on climate change and energy." -- Barrack Obama, current U.S. President, recently identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.
2013 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.