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Newsletter
Volume 157
November 1, 2016
Watch Your Mail: CFATS How to Comply
How to Comply
The Asmark Institute recently updated our CFATS "How to Comply" guidance document to coincide with the new Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Top-Screen tool. The guidance document was updated by Dustin Warder, and provides step-by-step instructions designed to assist retailers with the CFATS process, requiring the review of Appendix A and submittal of the new Top-Screen assessment to DHS. Each Asmark Institute client will receive a copy of the guidance in the mail in the coming days. A copy of the report is also available in PDF format on our website. Click here to see the new guidance now.
Exercise Your Right to Vote
The November election is now only days away. With the debates behind us, the race for control of the White House and Congress is in overdrive. We have a very close presidential election that will help shape the future direction of our federal government and the nation's economy. Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard by exercising their right to vote. Please make sure your co-workers, family members, friends, as well as yourself, exercise their right to vote. We encourage you to protect our industry's freedom to operate by electing pro-agribusiness candidates. Regardless of which political party or candidate you may support, it is important for every American to get politically involved and make sure their voice is heard by the candidates.
PSM Update: Setback for OSHA - Opportunity for Retailers
While the September 23rd court decision is a setback for OSHA, it is an opportunity for retailers to use this extra time wisely to continue to develop their PSM programs and get in the practice of complying with PSM. We are currently gathering information and hope to be able to make an informed recommendation to our clients as to a long-term plan of action on PSM by the beginning of December. Obviously, the upcoming election results will play a significant role in the outcome of PSM, but OSHA also has 45 days from the court decision to appeal. Our goal is to try to predict the amount of time that was gained by the court decision, and thus recommend an appropriate path forward. Stay tuned!
New OSHA AG-30 Course - Only a few seats left!
Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This training has been developed specifically for agribusiness and is designed for facility managers or assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. We encourage at least one person per facility receive this training. Sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Click here for more information or to register.
OSHA AG-30 Course Topics
Introduction to OSHA
Safety and Health Programs
Hazard Communication (GHS)
Lockout / Tagout
Electrical
Hand & Power Tools
Powered Industrial Trucks
Materials Handling
Walking and Working Surfaces
Fall Protection
Exit Routes
Emergency Action Plans
Fire Prevention Plans
Fire Extinguishers
Confined Spaces
Compressed Gases
Welding, Cutting and Brazing
Respiratory Protection
Personal Protective Equipment
Process Safety Management
Recordkeeping
Machine Guarding
Industrial Hygiene
Hazardous Materials
Anhydrous Ammonia
HazWoper
Bloodborne Pathogens
Grain Handling
Hearing Conservation
Ergonomics
Register Today!
Brian Miller with Miller Risk Management will serve as the lead instructor. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this course. This training is recognized by OSHA, and upon successful completion participants will receive a "30-Hour" training card from OSHA and a certificate from the Asmark Institute. The new OSHA AG-30 course kicks off today at the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture.
Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016
Every October, OSHA releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.
The preliminary list as published by OSHA:
  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,200 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 403 facilities already receiving their certification. 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. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
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. More than 160 people have already participated in the training, with more than 89 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and two classes are offered per year. Reserve your space in the February 2017 class. Click here to register.
OSHA Proposes Improvements to Respiratory Standard
OSHA recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency's Respiratory Protection Standard. The proposed protocols are variations of the existing OSHA-accepted PortaCount® protocol, but differ from it by the exercise sets, exercise duration and sampling sequence. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard and construction industries. OSHA invites the public to comment on the accuracy and reliability of the proposed protocols. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, by December 6, 2016. For more information, see the news release.
Are you a Food Facility?
In the fourth quarter of even numbered years, anyone who was required to register with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Food Facility, must re-register. This includes grain elevators and feed mills. Registration opened on October 1st and will close on December 31st. Click here to go to the FDA webpage to log-in and complete your re-registration. The web page also contains a help desk number should you have problems logging in.
This registration process was put in place in 2002 with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act. Facilities were to update their information when changes occurred however compliance was limited. As a result, the law was changed to require facilities re-register and update their information every two years.
Note: To avoid any surprises, if you store, handle, sell or process any component that may make its way into the food chain, go to the FDA website and find out if you fall under their definition of a "food facility."
Retiring Senator Boxer Wants Stricter Safety Requirements for Fertilizer Facilities
Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA), who retires from Congress at the end of this session, recently called for EPA to toughen its proposed modernization of safety regulations governing chemical facilities, and that includes fertilizer plants. She said it should be EPA's policy to mandate use of best possible technologies whenever possible. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Boxer said the agency's new rule should increase requirements for companies to assess the availability of safer storage and incident prevention technologies and apply those requirements to all chemical facilities, not just the 12% covered by the agency's proposed rule. She also wants chemical companies to increase their communications with neighboring communities by sharing their safety risk assessments. Boxer pushed hard during her tenure as both chair and ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee for tougher safety standards after the explosion at West (Texas) Fertilizer Company in 2013.
OSHA Reaches Out to Grain Handling Industry in Response to Recent Tragedies
Grain Silo Engulfment
Since January, grain-handling facilities in Nebraska and Kansas have had four preventable incidents that resulted in two deaths. In March, a superintendent at a grain-handling site in Prosser, Nebraska, suffered fatal injuries caused by an operating auger as he drew grain from a bin. In May, a maintenance worker in West Point, Nebraska, died from injuries suffered when a wall of corn product in a grain bin collapsed and engulfed him. Other incidents also involved workers becoming trapped in a grain bin or injured by augers, including the amputation of a worker's leg in Ellsworth, Kansas. OSHA urges industry employers and workers to implement safety and health programs to avoid similar tragedies. OSHA officials spoke at several grain and feed association meetings in Nebraska and Kansas on the most common hazards in the grain industry, which include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution. Click here to see the news release.
OSHA Final Rule On Walking & Working Surfaces, Personal Fall Protection Systems
We have been advised this new rule has cleared the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and will be published in the Federal Register in the near future. This will have a substantial effect on agricultural retailers and we will cover this update in a future edition of the newsletter.
Federal Search Warrants Issued in Missouri
Farmers were warned of the legal consequences of spraying dicamba earlier this year. Problems arose when farmers decided to use existing formulations such as Banvel and Clarity, which tend to be volatile in nature, particularly in warmer temperatures that can be associated with a later, post emergence spray window. Extension weed scientists have reported the crop injury resulted from a mixture of off-target scenarios that included physical drift, off-target movement as a result of volatility, spray inversions and sprayer tank contamination. EPA confirmed that it executed federal search warrants at several southeastern Missouri locations as part of an investigation into alleged misuse or misapplication of dicamba onto herbicide-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Click here to see the DTN/Progessive Farmer article in its entirety.
Call 811 Before You Dig -- APPLIES TO SOIL PROBING in Montana
Our affiliate in Montana, the Montana Agricultural Business Association (MABA), recently became aware that all soil testing is required, by Federal Law, to be called in to 811 prior to conducting the sampling. As of October 1st, the Federal government has taken over the enforcement of these provisions because the State statutes don't meet or exceed federal law. There is a coalition of folks that have been working on redoing Montana's statutes so that the state will be the enforcing entity. MABA Staff became involved in these discussions as soon as they were made aware of their existence. Our thanks to Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of MABA for her work on this issue.
EPA "How to Comply" with the Revised WPS Requirements Published
The updated and highly anticipated 2016 WPS How to Comply Manual will supersede the 2005 version. Changes to the standard have made the 2005 version obsolete, so old copies need to be discarded. The new "How to Comply" manual includes:
  • Details to help you determine if the WPS requirements apply to you;
  • Information on how to comply with the WPS requirements, including exceptions, restrictions, exemptions, options and examples;
  • "Quick Reference Guide"- a list of the basic requirements (excluding exemptions, exceptions, etc.);
  • New or revised definitions that may affect your WPS responsibilities; and
  • Explanations to help you better understand the WPS requirements and how they may apply to you.
Read the Pesticide Worker Protection Standard "How to Comply" Manual. For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit their homepage by clicking here.
DOT Issues Final Rule on Windshield-mounted Safety Devices
DOT issued a final rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations allowing the voluntary mounting of certain devices on the interior of the windshields of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including placement within the area that is swept by the windshield wipers. Section 5301 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) directs the Agency to amend the regulations to allow devices to be mounted on the windshield that utilize vehicle safety technology.
Vehicle safety technology includes a fleet-related incident management system, performance or behavior management system, speed management system, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning or mitigation system, active cruise control system and transponder. In addition, section 5301 states that all windshield-mounted devices and technologies with a limited two-year exemption in effect on the date of enactment shall be considered to meet the equivalent-or-greater safety standard required for the initial exemption.
Cooperative Income Up 14%, Sets 2015 Record; CHS Retains Number One Spot
The nation's agricultural cooperatives - farmer, rancher and fishery operations - increased net income in 2015 by 14%, hitting a record $7 billion, USDA recently reported. While total business volume for the top 100 cooperatives fell from $177 billion in 2014 to $149 billion last year, USDA said, net income rose from $4.3 billion to $4.9 billion.
CHS Inc., Inver Grove Heights, MN, remains the nation's largest co-op, with total business volume in 2015 of $34.7 billion. Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, MO, came in second with $13.9 billion in total revenue, with Land O'Lakes, St. Paul, MN, third at $13.1 billion.
Iowa retained its status as the home state of most top 100 cooperatives, with 15. Minnesota is home to 11 of the top 100, with Nebraska home to 9, California and Illinois boasting six and Wisconsin home to five of the top 100.
EWG Unveils New Database on Who Gets How Much from Federal Programs
Likely to cause as much angst among conservation program participants as a similar operation causes for those who get federal farm program checks, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently unveiled its new searchable database on who gets how much from Uncle Sam for participating in federal conservation programs. The conservation payment database joins EWG's farm subsidies database launched several years ago. That database tracks $322 billion in farm subsidies from commodity, crop insurance, disaster programs and other program payments paid between 1995 and 2014, and is searchable by name, state, county and program. It was EWG's subsidies database that first identified by name and corporate entity those non-farmers who receive subsidy payments, causing a major uproar at the time. Both databases can be accessed by going to www.ewg.org.
The 2017 Environmental Respect Awards Program is Open
Honor your company, your employees and your staff by completing a self-audit of your facility. To enter or learn more about the program, now in its 27th year honoring environmental stewardship and safety among ag retailers and distributors worldwide, click here. The application deadline is March 13, 2017.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
FEDERAL POSTER***
FLSA and POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT (Effective date: July 2016) - The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), aka Minimum Wage, notice has been revised based on upcoming changes to the rules. Among other minor revisions are three major revisions. First, the new notice advises that nursing mothers who are subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA be provided reasonable break time to express breast milk and a place to do so, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public. Second, the enforcement provisions have been significantly revised explaining additional penalties for violations of the law. Third, the new notice addresses the misclassification of workers as "independent contractors" when they should be considered employees under the law.
The Polygraph Protection Act notice has also been revised. There is a new QR Code and other cosmetic changes. Despite the lack of significance of these changes, the Department is deeming it a mandatory update. Projected availability: The week of August 8th. This is a substantive change and an updated Federal V2.0 poster is required.
***Note: We are working towards a huge group purchase of the federal poster to be shipped in November. Each client will receive the opportunity to opt-in to this special group purchase. The federal poster is typically $17.02 (includes shipping) and we may be able to save substantially if we place an order for all clients at one time. We may also include the state poster. Watch your mail!
FLORIDA
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Florida has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.10 an hour for non-tipped employees and $5.08 for tipped employees. Projected availability: The week of Oct 24th. This is a substantive change and an updated Florida poster is required. Click here to order.
MONTANA
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Montana has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.15 an hour. Projected availability: Currently. This is a substantive change and an updated Montana poster is required. Click here to order.
OHIO
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Ohio has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.15 an hour for non-tipped employees and $4.08 for tipped employees. Projected availability: Currently. This is a substantive change and an updated Ohio poster is required. Click here to order.
Quoteworthy: "When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I'm beginning to believe it." said Clarence Darrow, an American lawyer and member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
2016 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.
Watch Your Mail: CFATS How to Comply
How to Comply
The Asmark Institute recently updated our CFATS "How to Comply" guidance document to coincide with the new Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Top-Screen tool. The guidance document was updated by Dustin Warder, and provides step-by-step instructions designed to assist retailers with the CFATS process, requiring the review of Appendix A and submittal of the new Top-Screen assessment to DHS. Each Asmark Institute client will receive a copy of the guidance in the mail in the coming days. A copy of the report is also available in PDF format on our website. Click here to see the new guidance now.
Exercise Your Right to Vote
The November election is now only days away. With the debates behind us, the race for control of the White House and Congress is in overdrive. We have a very close presidential election that will help shape the future direction of our federal government and the nation's economy. Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard by exercising their right to vote. Please make sure your co-workers, family members, friends, as well as yourself, exercise their right to vote. We encourage you to protect our industry's freedom to operate by electing pro-agribusiness candidates. Regardless of which political party or candidate you may support, it is important for every American to get politically involved and make sure their voice is heard by the candidates.
PSM Update: Setback for OSHA - Opportunity for Retailers
While the September 23rd court decision is a setback for OSHA, it is an opportunity for retailers to use this extra time wisely to continue to develop their PSM programs and get in the practice of complying with PSM. We are currently gathering information and hope to be able to make an informed recommendation to our clients as to a long-term plan of action on PSM by the beginning of December. Obviously, the upcoming election results will play a significant role in the outcome of PSM, but OSHA also has 45 days from the court decision to appeal. Our goal is to try to predict the amount of time that was gained by the court decision, and thus recommend an appropriate path forward. Stay tuned!
New OSHA AG-30 Course - Only a few seats left!
Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This training has been developed specifically for agribusiness and is designed for facility managers or assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. We encourage at least one person per facility receive this training. Sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Click here for more information or to register.
OSHA AG-30 Course Topics
Introduction to OSHA
Safety and Health Programs
Hazard Communication (GHS)
Lockout / Tagout
Electrical
Hand & Power Tools
Powered Industrial Trucks
Materials Handling
Walking and Working Surfaces
Fall Protection
Exit Routes
Emergency Action Plans
Fire Prevention Plans
Fire Extinguishers
Confined Spaces
Compressed Gases
Welding, Cutting and Brazing
Respiratory Protection
Personal Protective Equipment
Process Safety Management
Recordkeeping
Machine Guarding
Industrial Hygiene
Hazardous Materials
Anhydrous Ammonia
HazWoper
Bloodborne Pathogens
Grain Handling
Hearing Conservation
Ergonomics
Register Today!
Brian Miller with Miller Risk Management will serve as the lead instructor. Brian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this course. This training is recognized by OSHA, and upon successful completion participants will receive a "30-Hour" training card from OSHA and a certificate from the Asmark Institute. The new OSHA AG-30 course kicks off today at the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture.
Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016
Every October, OSHA releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.
More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations and hospitalizations would drastically decline.
The preliminary list as published by OSHA:
  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements
It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg
More than 2,200 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 403 facilities already receiving their certification. 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. For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org
Become a ResponsibleAg Auditor or Attend to Learn More....
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. More than 160 people have already participated in the training, with more than 89 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Registration is open and two classes are offered per year. Reserve your space in the February 2017 class. Click here to register.
OSHA Proposes Improvements to Respiratory Standard
OSHA recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency's Respiratory Protection Standard. The proposed protocols are variations of the existing OSHA-accepted PortaCount® protocol, but differ from it by the exercise sets, exercise duration and sampling sequence. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard and construction industries. OSHA invites the public to comment on the accuracy and reliability of the proposed protocols. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, by December 6, 2016. For more information, see the news release.
Are you a Food Facility?
In the fourth quarter of even numbered years, anyone who was required to register with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Food Facility, must re-register. This includes grain elevators and feed mills. Registration opened on October 1st and will close on December 31st. Click here to go to the FDA webpage to log-in and complete your re-registration. The web page also contains a help desk number should you have problems logging in.
This registration process was put in place in 2002 with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act. Facilities were to update their information when changes occurred however compliance was limited. As a result, the law was changed to require facilities re-register and update their information every two years.
Note: To avoid any surprises, if you store, handle, sell or process any component that may make its way into the food chain, go to the FDA website and find out if you fall under their definition of a "food facility."
Retiring Senator Boxer Wants Stricter Safety Requirements for Fertilizer Facilities
Senator Barbara Boxer (D, CA), who retires from Congress at the end of this session, recently called for EPA to toughen its proposed modernization of safety regulations governing chemical facilities, and that includes fertilizer plants. She said it should be EPA's policy to mandate use of best possible technologies whenever possible. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Boxer said the agency's new rule should increase requirements for companies to assess the availability of safer storage and incident prevention technologies and apply those requirements to all chemical facilities, not just the 12% covered by the agency's proposed rule. She also wants chemical companies to increase their communications with neighboring communities by sharing their safety risk assessments. Boxer pushed hard during her tenure as both chair and ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee for tougher safety standards after the explosion at West (Texas) Fertilizer Company in 2013.
OSHA Reaches Out to Grain Handling Industry in Response to Recent Tragedies
Grain Silo Engulfment
Since January, grain-handling facilities in Nebraska and Kansas have had four preventable incidents that resulted in two deaths. In March, a superintendent at a grain-handling site in Prosser, Nebraska, suffered fatal injuries caused by an operating auger as he drew grain from a bin. In May, a maintenance worker in West Point, Nebraska, died from injuries suffered when a wall of corn product in a grain bin collapsed and engulfed him. Other incidents also involved workers becoming trapped in a grain bin or injured by augers, including the amputation of a worker's leg in Ellsworth, Kansas. OSHA urges industry employers and workers to implement safety and health programs to avoid similar tragedies. OSHA officials spoke at several grain and feed association meetings in Nebraska and Kansas on the most common hazards in the grain industry, which include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, "struck by," combustible dust explosions and electrocution. Click here to see the news release.
OSHA Final Rule On Walking & Working Surfaces, Personal Fall Protection Systems
We have been advised this new rule has cleared the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and will be published in the Federal Register in the near future. This will have a substantial effect on agricultural retailers and we will cover this update in a future edition of the newsletter.
Federal Search Warrants Issued in Missouri
Farmers were warned of the legal consequences of spraying dicamba earlier this year. Problems arose when farmers decided to use existing formulations such as Banvel and Clarity, which tend to be volatile in nature, particularly in warmer temperatures that can be associated with a later, post emergence spray window. Extension weed scientists have reported the crop injury resulted from a mixture of off-target scenarios that included physical drift, off-target movement as a result of volatility, spray inversions and sprayer tank contamination. EPA confirmed that it executed federal search warrants at several southeastern Missouri locations as part of an investigation into alleged misuse or misapplication of dicamba onto herbicide-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Click here to see the DTN/Progessive Farmer article in its entirety.
Call 811 Before You Dig -- APPLIES TO SOIL PROBING in Montana
Our affiliate in Montana, the Montana Agricultural Business Association (MABA), recently became aware that all soil testing is required, by Federal Law, to be called in to 811 prior to conducting the sampling. As of October 1st, the Federal government has taken over the enforcement of these provisions because the State statutes don't meet or exceed federal law. There is a coalition of folks that have been working on redoing Montana's statutes so that the state will be the enforcing entity. MABA Staff became involved in these discussions as soon as they were made aware of their existence. Our thanks to Krista Lee Evans, Executive Director of MABA for her work on this issue.
EPA "How to Comply" with the Revised WPS Requirements Published
The updated and highly anticipated 2016 WPS How to Comply Manual will supersede the 2005 version. Changes to the standard have made the 2005 version obsolete, so old copies need to be discarded. The new "How to Comply" manual includes:
  • Details to help you determine if the WPS requirements apply to you;
  • Information on how to comply with the WPS requirements, including exceptions, restrictions, exemptions, options and examples;
  • "Quick Reference Guide"- a list of the basic requirements (excluding exemptions, exceptions, etc.);
  • New or revised definitions that may affect your WPS responsibilities; and
  • Explanations to help you better understand the WPS requirements and how they may apply to you.
Read the Pesticide Worker Protection Standard "How to Comply" Manual. For information about ongoing activities in the Office of Pesticide Programs, visit their homepage by clicking here.
DOT Issues Final Rule on Windshield-mounted Safety Devices
DOT issued a final rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations allowing the voluntary mounting of certain devices on the interior of the windshields of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including placement within the area that is swept by the windshield wipers. Section 5301 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) directs the Agency to amend the regulations to allow devices to be mounted on the windshield that utilize vehicle safety technology.
Vehicle safety technology includes a fleet-related incident management system, performance or behavior management system, speed management system, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning or mitigation system, active cruise control system and transponder. In addition, section 5301 states that all windshield-mounted devices and technologies with a limited two-year exemption in effect on the date of enactment shall be considered to meet the equivalent-or-greater safety standard required for the initial exemption.
Cooperative Income Up 14%, Sets 2015 Record; CHS Retains Number One Spot
The nation's agricultural cooperatives - farmer, rancher and fishery operations - increased net income in 2015 by 14%, hitting a record $7 billion, USDA recently reported. While total business volume for the top 100 cooperatives fell from $177 billion in 2014 to $149 billion last year, USDA said, net income rose from $4.3 billion to $4.9 billion.
CHS Inc., Inver Grove Heights, MN, remains the nation's largest co-op, with total business volume in 2015 of $34.7 billion. Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, MO, came in second with $13.9 billion in total revenue, with Land O'Lakes, St. Paul, MN, third at $13.1 billion.
Iowa retained its status as the home state of most top 100 cooperatives, with 15. Minnesota is home to 11 of the top 100, with Nebraska home to 9, California and Illinois boasting six and Wisconsin home to five of the top 100.
EWG Unveils New Database on Who Gets How Much from Federal Programs
Likely to cause as much angst among conservation program participants as a similar operation causes for those who get federal farm program checks, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently unveiled its new searchable database on who gets how much from Uncle Sam for participating in federal conservation programs. The conservation payment database joins EWG's farm subsidies database launched several years ago. That database tracks $322 billion in farm subsidies from commodity, crop insurance, disaster programs and other program payments paid between 1995 and 2014, and is searchable by name, state, county and program. It was EWG's subsidies database that first identified by name and corporate entity those non-farmers who receive subsidy payments, causing a major uproar at the time. Both databases can be accessed by going to www.ewg.org.
The 2017 Environmental Respect Awards Program is Open
Honor your company, your employees and your staff by completing a self-audit of your facility. To enter or learn more about the program, now in its 27th year honoring environmental stewardship and safety among ag retailers and distributors worldwide, click here. The application deadline is March 13, 2017.
Federal Wage and Labor Law Poster Updates
FEDERAL POSTER***
FLSA and POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT (Effective date: July 2016) - The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), aka Minimum Wage, notice has been revised based on upcoming changes to the rules. Among other minor revisions are three major revisions. First, the new notice advises that nursing mothers who are subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA be provided reasonable break time to express breast milk and a place to do so, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public. Second, the enforcement provisions have been significantly revised explaining additional penalties for violations of the law. Third, the new notice addresses the misclassification of workers as "independent contractors" when they should be considered employees under the law.
The Polygraph Protection Act notice has also been revised. There is a new QR Code and other cosmetic changes. Despite the lack of significance of these changes, the Department is deeming it a mandatory update. Projected availability: The week of August 8th. This is a substantive change and an updated Federal V2.0 poster is required.
***Note: We are working towards a huge group purchase of the federal poster to be shipped in November. Each client will receive the opportunity to opt-in to this special group purchase. The federal poster is typically $17.02 (includes shipping) and we may be able to save substantially if we place an order for all clients at one time. We may also include the state poster. Watch your mail!
FLORIDA
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Florida has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.10 an hour for non-tipped employees and $5.08 for tipped employees. Projected availability: The week of Oct 24th. This is a substantive change and an updated Florida poster is required. Click here to order.
MONTANA
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Montana has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.15 an hour. Projected availability: Currently. This is a substantive change and an updated Montana poster is required. Click here to order.
OHIO
Minimum Wage (Effective date: Jan 01, 2017) - Ohio has released their Minimum Wage for 2017. The new wage will be $8.15 an hour for non-tipped employees and $4.08 for tipped employees. Projected availability: Currently. This is a substantive change and an updated Ohio poster is required. Click here to order.
Quoteworthy: "When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I'm beginning to believe it." said Clarence Darrow, an American lawyer and member of the American Civil Liberties Union.
2016 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.