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Newsletter
Volume 140
July 6, 2015
Heads Up! Watch for Your Executive Summary
Executive Summary
Back by popular demand, this dynamic service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The 2015 Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 2nd and is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it.
Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Courses
If you are interested in certifying your own employees to be able to perform nurse tank inspections, then this course is for you! Facility personnel that want to learn more about the process will also find this new hands-on Asmark Institute Signature course very beneficial. Five classes will be offered at the Agricenter in Bloomington, IL between July 28th and August 6th. Click here for information on the class and to register. The course is an action packed day and registration is $165 per person. Space is limited so register today.
ResponsibleAg Registration: It's time to register!
With season winding down, we encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. The explosion of the West, Texas retail facility in April 2013 marked a low point in the public and regulatory agencies' perception of the fertilizer industry. The industry was criticized for not having an organized effort to assist retail dealers in understanding and complying with existing federal regulations. Help is in place now. We highly recommend you register and participate in ResponsibleAg. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
More than 90 people have already participated in the training, with more than 60 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. We are seeing several organizations credential one or more of their employees to perform their own audits. Many others are signing up for the training to become contract auditors or to learn firsthand about ResponsibleAg - they want to see how it works - so they will be ready for their audit. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and the next class will be offered on September 15-18th. Click here to register.
2015 National Safety School - Register Today!
The 37th annual National Agronomic, Environmental, Health & Safety School will be held on August 25 & 26, 2015 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. An outstanding lineup of national speakers have been confirmed to present, so you won't want to miss it. This year's keynote address will be given by Andrew Moore, Executive Director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. Other speakers include David Wulf with DHS on security issues in agriculture, Ford B. West with an update on ResponsibleAg followed by a panel discussion, Thomas Bray with J.J. Keller & Associates on the DOT changes as result of the new medical/CDL merge, Brian Bothast with OSHA on topics including new recordkeeping requirements, GHS and fall protection, Kim Basham on the evaluation and selection of repair methods for concrete containment areas, Dr. Fred Whitford and other greats will be on hand. For further information and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 26 & 27, 2015. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Heads Up! Changes Ahead for RMP?
EPA is seeking input on modernizing the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule. EPA invites small businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives for a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel. This panel will focus on the Agency's development of a rule that proposes to modify the current Risk Management Plan regulation to reduce the likelihood of accidental releases of toxic and flammable substances at chemical facilities, and improve emergency response when those releases occur. Please contact Allen Summers at 270-926-4600, Ext 201 or allen@asmark.org if you fit the definition of a SBA small business and would like to serve on this panel.
Prepare Your Phone for Disasters
Here are three mobile phone applications that are available to both iPhone and Android users. Download them and check them out. 1) NOAA Now App for the latest information on severe weather in your area; 2) Red Cross First Aid App information on how to handle the most common first aid situations; and 3) FEMA App preparedness information for different types of disasters, an interactive checklist for emergency kits, a section to plan emergency meeting locations and information on how to stay safe and recover after a disaster. Each of these apps is available free in the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.
Federal Law Trumps Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado
In a case involving legal protections for medical marijuana users, the Colorado Supreme Court decided that the state's "lawful products" statute does not apply to activities that violate federal law. "Medical marijuana use is legal in Colorado, but because marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, the court found the plaintiff was lawfully discharged by his employer after he tested positive for marijuana," according to a newsletter article by the law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP. According to the law firm, roughly 30 states have laws protecting employees from discrimination based on their engaging in lawful activities or using lawful products during non-working hours. The original intent of these laws was primarily to protect tobacco users from discrimination. Use of medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution. The Colorado law specifically provides that employers do not have to accommodate medical marijuana use. This ruling may benefit employers in other states with similar laws, as well as in states that may legalize marijuana.
CVSA Releases Revised Medical Card Enforcement Bulletin
Medical cards can be used up to 60 days after issuance according to new interim guidance issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), amidst confusion caused by implementation of the new rules. CVSA issued the revised guidance concerning the enforcement of medical-card requirements on drivers who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL).
The guidance says that if a driver's CDL is valid but his or her electronic driving record does not contain medical information, the inspector should accept a paper medical certificate if it was issued within the past 60 days. Previously the CVSA's limit was 30 days. If the certificate was issued 61 or more days ago, the driver can be cited for failing to provide the medical certificate to the state licensing agency, a violation of 49 CFR 383.71(h).
The new guidance affects enforcement only; the federal safety regulations themselves have not changed. The rules say CDL drivers only have to carry their medical cards for up to 15 days. The revised guidance should help drivers licensed in states that fail to meet the 10-day deadline to update the driving records of CDL drivers who have provided their medical cards to the state licensing agency.
The guidance appears in the CVSA's inspection bulletin titled Enforcement of Medical Examiner's Certificate Integration with the Commercial Driver's License. The bulletin guides law enforcement on how to enforce the rules regarding the use of medical cards as proof of medical qualification.
When a driver's electronic driving record shows that his or her CDL or learner's permit is not valid (canceled, suspended, revoked, etc.), the driver should be placed out of service (OOS) even if within the 60-day period, the bulletin notes. Drivers with a valid CDL but not carrying a valid medical card will be cited for violating 391.41(a)(1) if their electronic driving record shows no medical information on file with the state licensing agency.
Note: The requirement for drivers to have their medical cards in their possession has expired, but common sense is needed until all states get onboard. We recommend each driver carry proof of their medical examiner's certificate (physical card) until at least December 31, 2018.
Farm Bureau Says WOTUS Rule Should Be Scrapped
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently released a detailed analysis of the final version of the "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule issued by EPA in late May. The report details its alleged shortcomings and urges farmers and ranchers to lobby Congress to kill the rule or stop its implementation. "Our analysis shows yet again how unwise, extreme and unlawful this rule is," AFBF President Bob Stallman said on a conference call with reporters. "Our public affairs specialists and legal team have assembled the best analysis available anywhere, and their conclusions are sobering: Despite months of comments and innumerable complaints, the Waters of the U.S. proposal is even worse than before."
Contrary to EPA's claims, Stallman said the rule, which seeks to redefine which U.S. waters can be regulated under the Clean Water Act, is even broader than the draft rule proposed in April 2014. He singled out the agency's revised definition of "tributary," which he said now includes features that may not be visible to the human eye - or that existed historically but are no longer present. Furthermore, he noted that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers can now use remote desktop tools to establish the presence of a tributary, without a human ever setting eyes on the feature. "Thus, land features may be deemed to be tributaries (regulated immediately under the rule), even if they are invisible to the landowner and even if they no longer exist on the landscape," according to a summary of the analysis, which adds, "So much for clarity!"
The Farm Bureau also released a document that compares the EPA's final rule with the draft proposed last year and with current regulations. Click here to read the detailed analysis and the comparison document.
Indiana Prepares to Enforce "Move Over" Law Starting July 1st
Effective July 1st, law enforcement officials will begin enforcing a newly adopted part of Indiana state law that requires drivers operating a motor vehicle in a multi-lane highway's left lane to move over for a vehicle traveling at a faster speed - regardless of the speed. Anyone cited for violating the law is subject to a $500 fine. The law exempts drivers who can't pull over due to poor weather or heavy traffic or who are preparing to exit to the left, pay a toll or pull over for an emergency vehicle. Previous Indiana law required drivers traveling slower than the speed limit to use the right lane on highways with multiple lanes.
Entry-level Driver Training Rules Expected This Fall
A proposed entry-level driver training rule is expected to be published on October 15, 2015, according to the May 2015 edition of the "DOT Significant Rulemakings Report" provided by DOT. The Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee is currently developing a consensus draft of the proposed rule. It's anticipated the issues to be covered in the proposed rule include specific classroom, range and behind-the-wheel training requirements for professional truck and bus drivers. Training modules for individuals applying for a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement, may also be addressed in the proposal.
2,4-D "Possible Carcinogen" According to WHO
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a unit of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently announced the herbicide 2,4-D "possibly" causes cancer in humans, bringing the chemical in line with a similar IARC determination for glyphosate. The herbicide has been used since 1945 to control weeds in agriculture, cities and residential areas. The group said in a press release: "There is strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress and moderate evidence that 2,4-D causes immunosuppression. However, epidemiological studies did not find a strong or consistent increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other cancers in relation to 2,4-D." One IARC official said the primary studies reviewed reported mixed results.
IARC classifications have no regulatory impact on the use of chemicals reviewed, but the imprimatur of WHO can influence regulators and the public. One report indicated that after IARC called glyphosate a "possible carcinogen," several regulators and politicians called for limits on its use.
Dow AgroSciences, which uses 2,4-D and glyphosate in a new herbicide, said the IARC classification is flawed and "inconsistent with government findings in nearly 100 countries" that have found 2,4-D to be safe when used as labeled. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) said the IARC action "underscores the risk" of 2,4-D, recently approved for use in genetically engineered crops.
The Do's and Don'ts of Agricultural Advocacy
Our affiliates at CropLife America recently brought this article written by Andy Overbay with ProgressiveForage.com to our attention. We encourage you to check out their website and this excellent article on furthering agricultural advocacy in a positive manner.
One thing is for sure, agriculture needs as many positive voices telling the story of our industry as possible. It seems that everyone has an opinion on our livelihood, especially those on social media with negative messages. Years ago when I was completing my dissertation on perceptions of agriculture and how these perceptions shape young minds making career decisions, farmers and industry personnel would share story after story about negative attitudes towards agriculture. Even among my colleagues in extension service, there are gross misunderstandings and misconceptions about the realities of modern agriculture and the science of providing mankind with food and fiber.
Don't Give Up
So where does one begin when trying to shine a positive light on agriculture? As producers, we are outnumbered nearly 99 to one, so what chance do we have in making any difference at all? In thinking about the dos and don'ts of ag advocacy, this is a good place to start - don't give up. Literally standing on the sidelines as an industry hasn't helped us in the past; doing so in the information age isn't going to help us in the future either.
Do No Harm
Glossophobic? The fear of public speaking is very real for many people. If you are glossophobic, rest easy. The most powerful statements usually have no words at all. Your actions (or evidence of your actions) speak volumes, so do no harm. I remind farmers that their neighbors and passersby "smell with their eyes." Green is clean, and having a neat and attractive "storefront" for your farm is as important as any speech made. In fact, I would contend that reckless disregard for the public viewpoint of your operation is as damaging as any false statement on Facebook. Chances are very real that your farm may be the only image of agriculture your neighbors have.
Do Open Your Mouth
If you are speaking to a civic or non-farming group, do dress at or just above what is considered normal for the group. Doing so helps build connections and helps solidify the image of the modern professional farmer. Do your research. You know your operation, but what are the local, county, state or national facts about your subject? Do recruit a friend or family member to listen to your message and play devil's advocate. Anticipate questions or negative opinions from the audience. There always seems to be someone in the audience who wants to be a panelist.
Don't Lose Your Temper
When faced with opposition, don't lose your temper. Losing your cool in a debate means just that, you lost. As a colleague told me long ago, a person can "make a great argument if they don't let little things like the facts get in the way!" You can expect that the person arguing with you is well-read, but short on experience. A tactic I try to use is, "I can see how you might feel that way given your experiences; however ..." For example, during a speaking engagement at a local liberal arts college, a young lady made a statement that "drinking milk with all those added hormones" was the culprit for young girls reaching puberty at an earlier age. Research shows that there may be a trend towards earlier puberty; however, USDA data shows that milk consumption per person has dropped over 25 percent in the past 40 years, and the largest decline was in the age demographic of pre-teen and teenage girls. Therefore, it's hard to show cause and effect when the suggested contributory culprit is inversely proportional to the effect.
Do Make Your Testimonial Personal
Do make your testimonial personal. No one knows your story better than you. Don't sell yourself short! Be proud of your industry and your place in it. This helps build what I call the "ball cap mentality." As schools graduate their seniors and prepare for summer break, I reflect on young people who shared their dream of attending a school based solely on their exposure to the football or basketball team of that particular university.
The students may not even have set foot on the campus, but they are dedicated to that institution. Why? People want to be associated with a winner. No one wants to hang around a sore loser. Being enthusiastic about agriculture helps others get excited about our industry as well. This isn't anything new under the sun. As John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, once said, "Catch fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." Special Note: Andy Overbay holds a Ph.D. in ag education and has more than 40 years of hands-on dairy and farming experience.
The Ivy League Farmer Debuts
One of the latest efforts to raise awareness of "modern" agriculture, while addressing food insecurity here at home, debuted in the form of a new feature film, "The Ivy League Farmer." The film, which promoters say will likely make it to your television this fall, "tells the story of a father and son in conflict over the use of modern technologies on the family dairy farm. It's also a love story that explores a rural community's concern about local kids not getting enough to eat." The effort is coordinated by Cedar Rapids-based Diamond V, a nutritional health products company, through a non-profit venture: the Operation BackPack Initiative and another new non-profit, Farming to Fight Hunger. Currently, Operation BackPack sends kids in 64 Eastern Iowa schools home for the weekend with single-serve food items so they can return to school and concentrate on learning again on Monday. The program is supported by Land O'Lakes, Purina, Winfield and others.
"DRIVE" is the Next Highway Bill
The next surface transportation reauthorization bill has been named the "Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act" or the DRIVE Act -- according to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. The DRIVE Act will call for six years of transportation policy and funding to replace the current transportation authorization known as MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. Note: Ever wonder what the taxpayer's spend to come up with these acronyms?
Exporting Self-propelled Vehicles Into Canada
The U.S. Census Bureau revised its export reporting requirements under the Foreign Trade Regulations to require mandatory electronic filing of export information through their Automated Export System (AES) for all used self-propelled vehicles 72 hours prior to export, regardless of the value or country of ultimate destination (including Canada). This change became enforceable October 3, 2014. The export requirements refer to "used" self-propelled vehicles. Please note: A used vehicle, according to US Customs and Border Protection, is defined as "any self-propelled vehicle the equitable or legal title to which has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor or dealer to an ultimate purchaser."
Oregon to Test Tax on Miles Driven
The Oregon Department of Transportation is piloting a new program that taxes vehicles on the number of miles driven. It's the first such program in the nation, and the 1.5 cent tax per mile driven in the state will be used to fund road construction and maintenance. Participants will be given the option of using a GPS to record their miles or using a non-GPS option that will track usage based on the mileage counters of cars. In return for participating, the drivers will be offered a tax credit reimbursing them for the 31-cent-per-gallon Oregon gas tax. The program is reported to be voluntary and will initially be limited to 5,000 cars.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
CALIFORNIA - SAN FRANCISCO (In the Specialty Posters section)
Health Care Security Ordinance (Effective date 04/2015) - The 2015 rates for health care expenditures are $1.65 per hour for employers with 20-99 employees, and $2.48 for those with 100 or more. This is a substantive change and an updated San Francisco poster is required. Click here to order.
CALIFORNIA - EMERYVILLE (In the Specialty Posters section)
Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave and Service Charge Notice (Effective date 07/2015) - Emeryville passed a minimum wage, sick leave and service charge notice ordinance. The minimum wage schedule is listed below and depends on the size of the employer. Only this year's wages/leave requirements are on the current notice. The Service Charge Notice is a separate standalone required for Hospitality Employers (who charge fees for services such as delivering food or beverage to a hotel room, catering duties at banquets, or carrying luggage to room for hotel).
Effective Date <= 55 Employees 56+ Employees
July 2, 2015 $12.25 $14.44
July 1, 2016 $13.00 $14.82 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2017 $14.00 $15.20 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2018 $15.00 $15.60 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2019 $16.00 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2020 $16.42 est. (CPI)
Employers must also, in addition to posting the notices, give each employee a flyer advising them of the ordinance. This is a substantive change and Emeryville posters are required. Click here to order.
CALIFORNIA - MOUNTAIN VIEW (In the Specialty Posters section)
Minimum Wage (Effective date 07/2015) - The minimum wage will increase to $10.30 per hour on July 1, 2015 for employers in the city. The notice must be posted in English and any language spoken by 5% or more of the employees (English, Spanish, Mandarin and Russian are currently available). This is a substantive change and a Mountain View Minimum Wage poster is required. Click here to order.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Wage Theft Protection (Effective date 05/2015) - The city of Washington, D.C. has released a Summary Notice informing employees of the contents of the recently enacted law. This will be required in addition to the handouts that employers must give their employees physically. This is a substantive change and an updated District of Columbia poster is required. Click here to order.
FLORIDA
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date 05/2015) - The main changes to the notice are the replacement of certain instances of "reemployment assistance" with "unemployment compensation." The Florida Department of Revenue (who administers this notice) confirmed that the new notice is required. This is a substantive change and an updated Florida poster is required. Click here to order.
ILLINOIS - CHICAGO
Minimum Wage (Effective date 07/2015) - Chicago will increase the minimum wage starting on July 1st. The future wage increases are listed below. As the city has not yet released the notice, we do not know if future wages will be included on the poster. This is a substantive change and a Chicago Minimum Wage poster is required. Click here to order.
Effective Date Non-Tipped Employees Tipped Employees
Current $8.25 $4.95
July 1, 2015 $10.00 $5.45
July 1, 2016 $10.50 $5.95
July 1, 2017 $11.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2018 $12.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2019 $13.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2020 Increases with CPI Increases with CPI
MASSACHUSETTS
Paid Sick Leave (Effective date 07/2015) - Massachusetts has now released the notice required for the Paid Sick Leave law that was recently enacted and goes into effect on July 1st. This is a substantive change and an updated Massachusetts poster is required. Click here to order.
MICHIGAN - ANN ARBOR (In the Specialty Posters section)
Living Wage (Effective date 04/2015) - The living wage notice for employers who provide services to the city or who are recipients of grants or financial assistance from the city (valued at $10,000 or more) has been revised with the new rates that go into effect on April 30th. This is a substantive change and a new Ann Arbor poster is required. Click here to order.
NEW YORK - NAIL WORKER BILL OF RIGHTS
Nail Worker Bill of Rights (Effective date 07/2015) - New York has released a new notice for businesses in the Nail Specialty (i.e. nail salons and the like). This is a new notice and must be posted where both employees and the public may see it. The notice lists a number of rights including the hotline contact for the agency, the minimum wage for nail practitioners and restrictions of employers' ability to take an employee's wages etc. This is a substantive change and a Nail Worker Bill of Rights poster is required. Click here to order.
PENNSYLVANIA - PHILADELPHIA (In the Specialty Posters section)
Paid Sick Leave (Effective date 05/2015) - Employers in Philadelphia must notify employees of their rights by either giving them notice in English and any language spoken by 5% of the workforce or by posting the new notice in English and any other language spoken by 5% of the workforce. At this time only English has been released. This is a substantive change and an updated Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave poster is required. Click here to order.
VERMONT
Reinstatement Liability - Workers' Compensation (Effective date 05/2015) - Vermont has renamed "Employers Reinstatement Liability" to "Workers' Compensation Reinstatement Rights" and added clarification that the law applies to all employers who employ 10 or more employees of whom at least 10 work more than 15 hours a week. This is a substantive change and an updated Vermont poster is required. Click here to order.
VIRGINIA
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date 04/2015) - The "Totally Unemployed" and "Reduced Hours" sections have been combined and adds the requirement that all claimants who are totally unemployed must register for work with the Commission. The Commission also removed references to visiting local offices and instead refers all those who need to file claims or have questions to their new website (Note: currently the old website redirects to the new site) or to call in. This is a substantive change and an updated Virginia poster is required. Click here to order.
2015 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.
Heads Up! Watch for Your Executive Summary
Executive Summary
Back by popular demand, this dynamic service uses logic to identify potential areas of concern specific to each manned facility. The 2015 Lighthouse Executive Summary was mailed on July 2nd and is designed to prompt the facility to action before an inspector or auditor shows up. It's about dotting your i's and crossing your t's. The result should be happier audits with less violations and penalties - and hopefully you will never make the nightly news or be referred to the Attorney General's office. Each page of the Executive Summary is dedicated to a specific subject and contains a brief explanation of the regulatory requirement and how to proceed in completing it.
Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Courses
If you are interested in certifying your own employees to be able to perform nurse tank inspections, then this course is for you! Facility personnel that want to learn more about the process will also find this new hands-on Asmark Institute Signature course very beneficial. Five classes will be offered at the Agricenter in Bloomington, IL between July 28th and August 6th. Click here for information on the class and to register. The course is an action packed day and registration is $165 per person. Space is limited so register today.
ResponsibleAg Registration: It's time to register!
With season winding down, we encourage you to register your facilities today and support the program. The explosion of the West, Texas retail facility in April 2013 marked a low point in the public and regulatory agencies' perception of the fertilizer industry. The industry was criticized for not having an organized effort to assist retail dealers in understanding and complying with existing federal regulations. Help is in place now. We highly recommend you register and participate in ResponsibleAg. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
More than 90 people have already participated in the training, with more than 60 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. We are seeing several organizations credential one or more of their employees to perform their own audits. Many others are signing up for the training to become contract auditors or to learn firsthand about ResponsibleAg - they want to see how it works - so they will be ready for their audit. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and the next class will be offered on September 15-18th. Click here to register.
2015 National Safety School - Register Today!
The 37th annual National Agronomic, Environmental, Health & Safety School will be held on August 25 & 26, 2015 in Bloomington, Illinois at the Asmark Institute Agricenter. An outstanding lineup of national speakers have been confirmed to present, so you won't want to miss it. This year's keynote address will be given by Andrew Moore, Executive Director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. Other speakers include David Wulf with DHS on security issues in agriculture, Ford B. West with an update on ResponsibleAg followed by a panel discussion, Thomas Bray with J.J. Keller & Associates on the DOT changes as result of the new medical/CDL merge, Brian Bothast with OSHA on topics including new recordkeeping requirements, GHS and fall protection, Kim Basham on the evaluation and selection of repair methods for concrete containment areas, Dr. Fred Whitford and other greats will be on hand. For further information and to register, click here.
While in Bloomington that week, we recommend you stay an extra day to attend the Midwest AG Industries Expo (MAGIE) on August 26 & 27, 2015. It's truly one of the finest displays of "ride and buy" shows in the United States. For more information on registering for MAGIE, click here.
Heads Up! Changes Ahead for RMP?
EPA is seeking input on modernizing the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule. EPA invites small businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives for a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel. This panel will focus on the Agency's development of a rule that proposes to modify the current Risk Management Plan regulation to reduce the likelihood of accidental releases of toxic and flammable substances at chemical facilities, and improve emergency response when those releases occur. Please contact Allen Summers at 270-926-4600, Ext 201 or allen@asmark.org if you fit the definition of a SBA small business and would like to serve on this panel.
Prepare Your Phone for Disasters
Here are three mobile phone applications that are available to both iPhone and Android users. Download them and check them out. 1) NOAA Now App for the latest information on severe weather in your area; 2) Red Cross First Aid App information on how to handle the most common first aid situations; and 3) FEMA App preparedness information for different types of disasters, an interactive checklist for emergency kits, a section to plan emergency meeting locations and information on how to stay safe and recover after a disaster. Each of these apps is available free in the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.
Federal Law Trumps Legal Marijuana Use in Colorado
In a case involving legal protections for medical marijuana users, the Colorado Supreme Court decided that the state's "lawful products" statute does not apply to activities that violate federal law. "Medical marijuana use is legal in Colorado, but because marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, the court found the plaintiff was lawfully discharged by his employer after he tested positive for marijuana," according to a newsletter article by the law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP. According to the law firm, roughly 30 states have laws protecting employees from discrimination based on their engaging in lawful activities or using lawful products during non-working hours. The original intent of these laws was primarily to protect tobacco users from discrimination. Use of medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution. The Colorado law specifically provides that employers do not have to accommodate medical marijuana use. This ruling may benefit employers in other states with similar laws, as well as in states that may legalize marijuana.
CVSA Releases Revised Medical Card Enforcement Bulletin
Medical cards can be used up to 60 days after issuance according to new interim guidance issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), amidst confusion caused by implementation of the new rules. CVSA issued the revised guidance concerning the enforcement of medical-card requirements on drivers who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL).
The guidance says that if a driver's CDL is valid but his or her electronic driving record does not contain medical information, the inspector should accept a paper medical certificate if it was issued within the past 60 days. Previously the CVSA's limit was 30 days. If the certificate was issued 61 or more days ago, the driver can be cited for failing to provide the medical certificate to the state licensing agency, a violation of 49 CFR 383.71(h).
The new guidance affects enforcement only; the federal safety regulations themselves have not changed. The rules say CDL drivers only have to carry their medical cards for up to 15 days. The revised guidance should help drivers licensed in states that fail to meet the 10-day deadline to update the driving records of CDL drivers who have provided their medical cards to the state licensing agency.
The guidance appears in the CVSA's inspection bulletin titled Enforcement of Medical Examiner's Certificate Integration with the Commercial Driver's License. The bulletin guides law enforcement on how to enforce the rules regarding the use of medical cards as proof of medical qualification.
When a driver's electronic driving record shows that his or her CDL or learner's permit is not valid (canceled, suspended, revoked, etc.), the driver should be placed out of service (OOS) even if within the 60-day period, the bulletin notes. Drivers with a valid CDL but not carrying a valid medical card will be cited for violating 391.41(a)(1) if their electronic driving record shows no medical information on file with the state licensing agency.
Note: The requirement for drivers to have their medical cards in their possession has expired, but common sense is needed until all states get onboard. We recommend each driver carry proof of their medical examiner's certificate (physical card) until at least December 31, 2018.
Farm Bureau Says WOTUS Rule Should Be Scrapped
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently released a detailed analysis of the final version of the "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule issued by EPA in late May. The report details its alleged shortcomings and urges farmers and ranchers to lobby Congress to kill the rule or stop its implementation. "Our analysis shows yet again how unwise, extreme and unlawful this rule is," AFBF President Bob Stallman said on a conference call with reporters. "Our public affairs specialists and legal team have assembled the best analysis available anywhere, and their conclusions are sobering: Despite months of comments and innumerable complaints, the Waters of the U.S. proposal is even worse than before."
Contrary to EPA's claims, Stallman said the rule, which seeks to redefine which U.S. waters can be regulated under the Clean Water Act, is even broader than the draft rule proposed in April 2014. He singled out the agency's revised definition of "tributary," which he said now includes features that may not be visible to the human eye - or that existed historically but are no longer present. Furthermore, he noted that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers can now use remote desktop tools to establish the presence of a tributary, without a human ever setting eyes on the feature. "Thus, land features may be deemed to be tributaries (regulated immediately under the rule), even if they are invisible to the landowner and even if they no longer exist on the landscape," according to a summary of the analysis, which adds, "So much for clarity!"
The Farm Bureau also released a document that compares the EPA's final rule with the draft proposed last year and with current regulations. Click here to read the detailed analysis and the comparison document.
Indiana Prepares to Enforce "Move Over" Law Starting July 1st
Effective July 1st, law enforcement officials will begin enforcing a newly adopted part of Indiana state law that requires drivers operating a motor vehicle in a multi-lane highway's left lane to move over for a vehicle traveling at a faster speed - regardless of the speed. Anyone cited for violating the law is subject to a $500 fine. The law exempts drivers who can't pull over due to poor weather or heavy traffic or who are preparing to exit to the left, pay a toll or pull over for an emergency vehicle. Previous Indiana law required drivers traveling slower than the speed limit to use the right lane on highways with multiple lanes.
Entry-level Driver Training Rules Expected This Fall
A proposed entry-level driver training rule is expected to be published on October 15, 2015, according to the May 2015 edition of the "DOT Significant Rulemakings Report" provided by DOT. The Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee is currently developing a consensus draft of the proposed rule. It's anticipated the issues to be covered in the proposed rule include specific classroom, range and behind-the-wheel training requirements for professional truck and bus drivers. Training modules for individuals applying for a hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsement, may also be addressed in the proposal.
2,4-D "Possible Carcinogen" According to WHO
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a unit of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently announced the herbicide 2,4-D "possibly" causes cancer in humans, bringing the chemical in line with a similar IARC determination for glyphosate. The herbicide has been used since 1945 to control weeds in agriculture, cities and residential areas. The group said in a press release: "There is strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress and moderate evidence that 2,4-D causes immunosuppression. However, epidemiological studies did not find a strong or consistent increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma or other cancers in relation to 2,4-D." One IARC official said the primary studies reviewed reported mixed results.
IARC classifications have no regulatory impact on the use of chemicals reviewed, but the imprimatur of WHO can influence regulators and the public. One report indicated that after IARC called glyphosate a "possible carcinogen," several regulators and politicians called for limits on its use.
Dow AgroSciences, which uses 2,4-D and glyphosate in a new herbicide, said the IARC classification is flawed and "inconsistent with government findings in nearly 100 countries" that have found 2,4-D to be safe when used as labeled. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) said the IARC action "underscores the risk" of 2,4-D, recently approved for use in genetically engineered crops.
The Do's and Don'ts of Agricultural Advocacy
Our affiliates at CropLife America recently brought this article written by Andy Overbay with ProgressiveForage.com to our attention. We encourage you to check out their website and this excellent article on furthering agricultural advocacy in a positive manner.
One thing is for sure, agriculture needs as many positive voices telling the story of our industry as possible. It seems that everyone has an opinion on our livelihood, especially those on social media with negative messages. Years ago when I was completing my dissertation on perceptions of agriculture and how these perceptions shape young minds making career decisions, farmers and industry personnel would share story after story about negative attitudes towards agriculture. Even among my colleagues in extension service, there are gross misunderstandings and misconceptions about the realities of modern agriculture and the science of providing mankind with food and fiber.
Don't Give Up
So where does one begin when trying to shine a positive light on agriculture? As producers, we are outnumbered nearly 99 to one, so what chance do we have in making any difference at all? In thinking about the dos and don'ts of ag advocacy, this is a good place to start - don't give up. Literally standing on the sidelines as an industry hasn't helped us in the past; doing so in the information age isn't going to help us in the future either.
Do No Harm
Glossophobic? The fear of public speaking is very real for many people. If you are glossophobic, rest easy. The most powerful statements usually have no words at all. Your actions (or evidence of your actions) speak volumes, so do no harm. I remind farmers that their neighbors and passersby "smell with their eyes." Green is clean, and having a neat and attractive "storefront" for your farm is as important as any speech made. In fact, I would contend that reckless disregard for the public viewpoint of your operation is as damaging as any false statement on Facebook. Chances are very real that your farm may be the only image of agriculture your neighbors have.
Do Open Your Mouth
If you are speaking to a civic or non-farming group, do dress at or just above what is considered normal for the group. Doing so helps build connections and helps solidify the image of the modern professional farmer. Do your research. You know your operation, but what are the local, county, state or national facts about your subject? Do recruit a friend or family member to listen to your message and play devil's advocate. Anticipate questions or negative opinions from the audience. There always seems to be someone in the audience who wants to be a panelist.
Don't Lose Your Temper
When faced with opposition, don't lose your temper. Losing your cool in a debate means just that, you lost. As a colleague told me long ago, a person can "make a great argument if they don't let little things like the facts get in the way!" You can expect that the person arguing with you is well-read, but short on experience. A tactic I try to use is, "I can see how you might feel that way given your experiences; however ..." For example, during a speaking engagement at a local liberal arts college, a young lady made a statement that "drinking milk with all those added hormones" was the culprit for young girls reaching puberty at an earlier age. Research shows that there may be a trend towards earlier puberty; however, USDA data shows that milk consumption per person has dropped over 25 percent in the past 40 years, and the largest decline was in the age demographic of pre-teen and teenage girls. Therefore, it's hard to show cause and effect when the suggested contributory culprit is inversely proportional to the effect.
Do Make Your Testimonial Personal
Do make your testimonial personal. No one knows your story better than you. Don't sell yourself short! Be proud of your industry and your place in it. This helps build what I call the "ball cap mentality." As schools graduate their seniors and prepare for summer break, I reflect on young people who shared their dream of attending a school based solely on their exposure to the football or basketball team of that particular university.
The students may not even have set foot on the campus, but they are dedicated to that institution. Why? People want to be associated with a winner. No one wants to hang around a sore loser. Being enthusiastic about agriculture helps others get excited about our industry as well. This isn't anything new under the sun. As John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, once said, "Catch fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." Special Note: Andy Overbay holds a Ph.D. in ag education and has more than 40 years of hands-on dairy and farming experience.
The Ivy League Farmer Debuts
One of the latest efforts to raise awareness of "modern" agriculture, while addressing food insecurity here at home, debuted in the form of a new feature film, "The Ivy League Farmer." The film, which promoters say will likely make it to your television this fall, "tells the story of a father and son in conflict over the use of modern technologies on the family dairy farm. It's also a love story that explores a rural community's concern about local kids not getting enough to eat." The effort is coordinated by Cedar Rapids-based Diamond V, a nutritional health products company, through a non-profit venture: the Operation BackPack Initiative and another new non-profit, Farming to Fight Hunger. Currently, Operation BackPack sends kids in 64 Eastern Iowa schools home for the weekend with single-serve food items so they can return to school and concentrate on learning again on Monday. The program is supported by Land O'Lakes, Purina, Winfield and others.
"DRIVE" is the Next Highway Bill
The next surface transportation reauthorization bill has been named the "Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act" or the DRIVE Act -- according to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. The DRIVE Act will call for six years of transportation policy and funding to replace the current transportation authorization known as MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. Note: Ever wonder what the taxpayer's spend to come up with these acronyms?
Exporting Self-propelled Vehicles Into Canada
The U.S. Census Bureau revised its export reporting requirements under the Foreign Trade Regulations to require mandatory electronic filing of export information through their Automated Export System (AES) for all used self-propelled vehicles 72 hours prior to export, regardless of the value or country of ultimate destination (including Canada). This change became enforceable October 3, 2014. The export requirements refer to "used" self-propelled vehicles. Please note: A used vehicle, according to US Customs and Border Protection, is defined as "any self-propelled vehicle the equitable or legal title to which has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor or dealer to an ultimate purchaser."
Oregon to Test Tax on Miles Driven
The Oregon Department of Transportation is piloting a new program that taxes vehicles on the number of miles driven. It's the first such program in the nation, and the 1.5 cent tax per mile driven in the state will be used to fund road construction and maintenance. Participants will be given the option of using a GPS to record their miles or using a non-GPS option that will track usage based on the mileage counters of cars. In return for participating, the drivers will be offered a tax credit reimbursing them for the 31-cent-per-gallon Oregon gas tax. The program is reported to be voluntary and will initially be limited to 5,000 cars.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
CALIFORNIA - SAN FRANCISCO (In the Specialty Posters section)
Health Care Security Ordinance (Effective date 04/2015) - The 2015 rates for health care expenditures are $1.65 per hour for employers with 20-99 employees, and $2.48 for those with 100 or more. This is a substantive change and an updated San Francisco poster is required. Click here to order.
CALIFORNIA - EMERYVILLE (In the Specialty Posters section)
Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave and Service Charge Notice (Effective date 07/2015) - Emeryville passed a minimum wage, sick leave and service charge notice ordinance. The minimum wage schedule is listed below and depends on the size of the employer. Only this year's wages/leave requirements are on the current notice. The Service Charge Notice is a separate standalone required for Hospitality Employers (who charge fees for services such as delivering food or beverage to a hotel room, catering duties at banquets, or carrying luggage to room for hotel).
Effective Date <= 55 Employees 56+ Employees
July 2, 2015 $12.25 $14.44
July 1, 2016 $13.00 $14.82 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2017 $14.00 $15.20 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2018 $15.00 $15.60 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2019 $16.00 est. (CPI)
July 1, 2020 $16.42 est. (CPI)
Employers must also, in addition to posting the notices, give each employee a flyer advising them of the ordinance. This is a substantive change and Emeryville posters are required. Click here to order.
CALIFORNIA - MOUNTAIN VIEW (In the Specialty Posters section)
Minimum Wage (Effective date 07/2015) - The minimum wage will increase to $10.30 per hour on July 1, 2015 for employers in the city. The notice must be posted in English and any language spoken by 5% or more of the employees (English, Spanish, Mandarin and Russian are currently available). This is a substantive change and a Mountain View Minimum Wage poster is required. Click here to order.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Wage Theft Protection (Effective date 05/2015) - The city of Washington, D.C. has released a Summary Notice informing employees of the contents of the recently enacted law. This will be required in addition to the handouts that employers must give their employees physically. This is a substantive change and an updated District of Columbia poster is required. Click here to order.
FLORIDA
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date 05/2015) - The main changes to the notice are the replacement of certain instances of "reemployment assistance" with "unemployment compensation." The Florida Department of Revenue (who administers this notice) confirmed that the new notice is required. This is a substantive change and an updated Florida poster is required. Click here to order.
ILLINOIS - CHICAGO
Minimum Wage (Effective date 07/2015) - Chicago will increase the minimum wage starting on July 1st. The future wage increases are listed below. As the city has not yet released the notice, we do not know if future wages will be included on the poster. This is a substantive change and a Chicago Minimum Wage poster is required. Click here to order.
Effective Date Non-Tipped Employees Tipped Employees
Current $8.25 $4.95
July 1, 2015 $10.00 $5.45
July 1, 2016 $10.50 $5.95
July 1, 2017 $11.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2018 $12.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2019 $13.00 Increases with CPI
July 1, 2020 Increases with CPI Increases with CPI
MASSACHUSETTS
Paid Sick Leave (Effective date 07/2015) - Massachusetts has now released the notice required for the Paid Sick Leave law that was recently enacted and goes into effect on July 1st. This is a substantive change and an updated Massachusetts poster is required. Click here to order.
MICHIGAN - ANN ARBOR (In the Specialty Posters section)
Living Wage (Effective date 04/2015) - The living wage notice for employers who provide services to the city or who are recipients of grants or financial assistance from the city (valued at $10,000 or more) has been revised with the new rates that go into effect on April 30th. This is a substantive change and a new Ann Arbor poster is required. Click here to order.
NEW YORK - NAIL WORKER BILL OF RIGHTS
Nail Worker Bill of Rights (Effective date 07/2015) - New York has released a new notice for businesses in the Nail Specialty (i.e. nail salons and the like). This is a new notice and must be posted where both employees and the public may see it. The notice lists a number of rights including the hotline contact for the agency, the minimum wage for nail practitioners and restrictions of employers' ability to take an employee's wages etc. This is a substantive change and a Nail Worker Bill of Rights poster is required. Click here to order.
PENNSYLVANIA - PHILADELPHIA (In the Specialty Posters section)
Paid Sick Leave (Effective date 05/2015) - Employers in Philadelphia must notify employees of their rights by either giving them notice in English and any language spoken by 5% of the workforce or by posting the new notice in English and any other language spoken by 5% of the workforce. At this time only English has been released. This is a substantive change and an updated Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave poster is required. Click here to order.
VERMONT
Reinstatement Liability - Workers' Compensation (Effective date 05/2015) - Vermont has renamed "Employers Reinstatement Liability" to "Workers' Compensation Reinstatement Rights" and added clarification that the law applies to all employers who employ 10 or more employees of whom at least 10 work more than 15 hours a week. This is a substantive change and an updated Vermont poster is required. Click here to order.
VIRGINIA
Unemployment Insurance (Effective date 04/2015) - The "Totally Unemployed" and "Reduced Hours" sections have been combined and adds the requirement that all claimants who are totally unemployed must register for work with the Commission. The Commission also removed references to visiting local offices and instead refers all those who need to file claims or have questions to their new website (Note: currently the old website redirects to the new site) or to call in. This is a substantive change and an updated Virginia poster is required. Click here to order.
2015 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.