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Newsletter
Volume 174
May 1, 2018

TFC's Knox Farmers Co-op Hosts Visit with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue 

Knox Farmers Co-op, part of the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) family, hosted a visit with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as part of a Tax Day Town Hall event on April 17th in Knoxville, TN.  The Agricultural Retailers Association worked with Sonny Perdue's office to schedule the visit where he discussed the Tax Reform package and how it's helping farmers across the country. 

Secretary Perdue addressed a standing room only crowd  about the possible 2018 Farm Bill, regulatory reform, rural broadband, trade negotiations and an ag exemption for electronic logging devices.

Welcome New TAPA Executive Secretary!

Tennessee Agricultural Production Association (TAPA) recently named Jo Gillilan as Executive Secretary.  Jo has been involved in the agricultural industry for the past 15 years, working at Winfield United as Research Manager for the past five. She was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Tennessee, so she’s no stranger to ag. Jo has worked with retired TAPA Executive Secretary, Ron Akin, since February to ensure a smooth transition.  We look forward to working with Jo and extend our congratulations on her new role!

Does that Nurse Wagon have Lights?

Don’t be surprised the next time you go to purchase a new wagon for an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank that it comes equipped with tail and turn lights.  Originally reported in our August 2016 newsletter, changes for the lighting and marking of agricultural equipment have hit the field - causing quite a ruckus.  Beginning June 22, 2017, the rule issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) applies to equipment manufactured by the original manufacturer (OEM) and requires the equipment to be built with lighting and markings that meet the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers (ASABE) standard 279.14.  Remember, retrofitting equipment made before June 22, 2017 is not required.

Heads-Up!  If you think lights will be hard to maintain, you should be particularly interested that last month ASABE announced that they have initiated the development of five new standards regarding the braking of agricultural equipment.  Part 4 will be requirements for equipment braking on towed equipment.  These proposed standards could result in significant changes for manufacturers, and ultimately the end user when it comes to repair and maintenance.

NHTSA deemed it unnecessary to provide a public notice of the lighting rule and headed directly for issuing a final federal rule.  This, and the fact our industry was not adequately represented on the ASABE  committee and throughout this process, would seem to cry out for better transparency.  If you feel you could be adversely affected by the ASABE lighting and braking standards, we encourage you to reach out to your state agribusiness association, your affiliated national association and your legislators.

Stay tuned for more developments...

MyScore: Showing Your Efforts at a Glance

One of the greatest benefits of the Snapshots Management Dashboard is the transparency it offers to each client.  You can see what you’ve done, what you haven’t done, and what you need to do.  With the real-time information, you always know where your facility stands, in every department you're involved with.  To keep with that transparent trend, we added a section for MyScore. 

MyScore is a feature that tracks your activities and produces a daily and yearly score of your performance.  It will also show your performance benchmarked against all our other clients, so you know where you stand in the industry.  This feature allows our clients to see the whole picture, at a glance, whenever they want.  It is meant to bring attention to how well you think you’re doing, versus, how well you are actually doing.  Your MyScore is displayed for you to see in the top right corner of your Snapshots page, and you can find your historical scores at the very bottom of the page.  There you will see your day-by-day score, and ultimately your average score for the previous 3 years.

ELD Enforcement in Full Swing

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) confirms that property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating their vehicle without a required registered electronic logging device (ELD), or a grandfathered automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD), will be placed out of service for 10 hours.

In addition, failing to have a required electronic record of duty status will appear on the roadside inspection report and a ticket or civil penalty may be given to the driver.  All ELD violations appearing on a roadside inspection report will be counted against a motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which will drive selection for investigation within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.  FMCSA will determine appropriate action against non-compliant motor carriers.

After 10 hours out of service, the driver may continue to their final destination if the driver has accurately documented their hours-of-service requirements using a paper record of duty status and has a copy of the inspection report and/or citation.  If the driver is stopped again before reaching their final destination, the driver must provide the safety official with a copy of the inspection report and proof that they are still on the continuation of the original trip.  This may be satisfied using a bill of lading.

After reaching their final destination, if the driver is re-dispatched again without obtaining a compliant ELD, they will again be subject to the out-of-service process, unless the driver is traveling back to the principle place of business or terminal empty to obtain an ELD.  Remember, the ELD mandate does not change the underlying hours-of-service requirements.

FieldWatch Celebrates 10 Years!

Congratulations to FieldWatch, Inc, a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers, communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship. FieldWatch offers an online national registry and tools that facilitate communication between commercial applicators and growers of sensitive crops and beekeepers. In 2018, FieldWatch welcomed five new states to its ranks; South Dakota, Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas and Tennessee came on board, joining 14 other states.

FieldWatch operates two voluntary mapping tools that are free for all users: DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site and BeeCheck Apiary Registry. The sites feature an easy-to-use Google Maps interface that clearly shows pesticide applicators the locations of registered areas (sensitive crops or beehives) so they can use this information to make informed decisions before they spray. Go to www.FieldWatch.com and check out their two new mobile apps that make it easier for members to access and input data. FieldCheck is designed to give applicators more functionality from their mobile device while in the field. BeeCheck™ is designed specifically for beekeepers and will make changing the entered location of beehives easier and faster for the beekeepers.

Environmental Respect Awards 2018 - Deadline June 7

The Environmental Respect Awards are the industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers.  The awards are sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agricultural Division of DowDuPont, and presented by CropLife magazine each year.  The stewardship program, which began in 1990, is designed to honor outstanding work in preserving the environment through safe, responsible business practices. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts that judge each applicant based on categories such as environmental stewardship, safety education for employees, professional excellence, leadership in compliance, innovative technology and community outreach.  New for this year, seed agents and distributors can also enter.  The deadline to enter is June 7, 2018.  To learn more and to enter click here.

ResponsibleAg Auditor Training - Register Today!

Several organizations 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 185 people have already participated in the training, with 108 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Two classes are offered per year. Reserve your seat in the upcoming June course now. Click here to register.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,065 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

FMCSA Top Five Violations for 2017

FMCSA issued their top five violations as cited at roadside inspections in 2017.  The following table lists the top five for the driver, vehicle and hazardous materials categories:

Rank Code Description Violations
2017 Roadside Inspections - Driver Violations
1 395.8 Log violation: general/form and manner 170,721
2 392.2S Speeding 120,176
3 391.41(a) Driving without a valid medical certificate 77,257
4 395.8(f)(1) Driver’s log not current 71,004
5 392.16 Failing to use a seatbelt 62,324
2017 Roadside Inspections - Vehicle Violations
1 393.9 Required lamp(s) not operable 488,895
2 396.5(b) Oil and/or grease leak 199,359
3 393.47(e)-(f) Brake(s) out of adjustment 181,433
4 393.11 Missing/Defective lighting or reflectivedevices 177,272
5 396.3(a)(1) General inspection/repair/maintenance 168,011
2017 Roadside Inspections - Hazmat Violations
1 177.834(a) Package not secure in vehicle 4,241
2 107.620(b) No copy of USDOT hazmat registration number 2,993
3 177.817(e) Shipping paper accessibility 2,506
4 172.504(a) Vehicle not placarded as required 2,164
5 172.516(c)(6) Placard damaged, deteriorated, or obscured 2,112

Pick Your DOT Physician Wisely!

An Alabama chiropractor, and two of his employees, may face 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges brought against them.  The three were indicted by a federal grand jury in regard to an alleged scheme regarding the medical qualifications of commercial drivers. The indictment alleges the chiropractor, acting as a medical examiner in accordance with 49 CFR Part 391, and two associates submitted false medical qualification documents to the DOT.  After performing driver medical examinations that were not up to DOT standards, the medical examiner and his staff allegedly sent forms to the DOT that falsely certified the truck drivers had passed all the physical exam requirements. 

The defendants are charged with making false statements and falsification of federal records and face conspiracy, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges.  If convicted of the most serious charges, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.  They also face substantial monetary penalties and restitution.  An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  A commercial driver found to be involved in a scheme such as this also risks monetary penalties, possible imprisonment and loss of their CDL forever.

Online Dicamba Training Available

As most states have wrapped up their classroom dicamba training, online training modules may be an option for people who missed the classroom training, changed their minds about applying dicamba, got hired prior to season as an applicator or just want a refresher.  Check your state’s requirements to see if the Monsanto, BASF or Dupont online training modules are accepted.  All will provide a certificate of training at the completion of the module and you choose from any of the three.

You Are Here...But Are You Sure?

The only thing worse than passing through a validation screen, is to fill out 10 pages of information just to realize you were logged in to the wrong facility account.  When you have multiple logins for a website, this can easily happen.  Our “Conditions of Use” page can help you confirm which facility account you are about to login to, because it lists the facility and address information that is tied to that username.  You see this page every time you login to Snapshots, and you have to continue through it before you make it to your facility’s account information.

Although this page adds an extra step to your login, it proves to be worthwhile in the long run, especially when you have multiple usernames that you have to go back and forth between.  It also comes in particularly handy this time of year as New Hire season is in full swing and facilities are submitting 100+ New Hires per day.  You want to be sure when you submit a New Hire, that you are logged in to the right facility where your new employee will be located.  So the next time you login to Snapshots, take an extra second to glance over your facility’s information to make sure you’re headed to the right account.

Emergency Response Refresher Training Heading to a Town Near You

For our clients who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents course - Watch your mail for your personalized invitation to the 8-hour Refresher Course.  This summer we are offering training at 57 remote locations around the country.  This course has been a great success since beginning in 2001 when there were only 17 of these classes offered throughout the U.S.  Today more than 1700 people are trained annually with just over 70 choices of Refresher Training locations.  Classes are limited to 30 participants, so register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice.  Click here to register.

Look Out Below

Elevated work areas are getting new attention that could effect our industry.  The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is seeking public comments in response to its proposed new standard on Dropped Object Prevention.  ISEA 121 seeks to establish minimum design, performance and labeling requirements for solutions that reduce dropped objects incidents in industrial and occupational settings.  Dropped objects include hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that have to be transferred and used at heights.  In the coming years this could be adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and eventually referenced by OSHA.

The Asmark Institute Professors Delivered!

The first ever Asmark University course kicked off on March 27th to a full house of EHS professionals.  Clients from all four corners of the United States, and areas in-between, gathered at the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture to participate in the special inaugural class. “We have received numerous requests over the years to do a workshop to help provide a better understanding and leverage our client’s knowledge of how our system works,” said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.  “We couldn’t be happier with the level of participation and response from the first class.”  The risk management professionals on hand for the course are tasked broadly with responsibility for their facilities and returned home better prepared to support their locations.

Virtually every Asmark Institute employee, known as a “professor,” presented their area of expertise during the class.  Participants had access to their own computer and were encouraged to follow along on the website as the class moved through the topics.  Alternating between the website and more than fifty databases, participants were walked through practically every process offered by the Institute.  Feedback from the evaluations scored the professors high and indicated the participants enjoyed the variety of presenters and felt they benefited from meeting the staff members and seeing the process.  Seeing how everything was related behind the scenes was another popular aspect cited by the participants. 

As one student put it, “I loved the positive, collaborative culture I experienced this week.”  Asmark University may have showcased the comprehensive offering of products and services built over the past 28 years, but more importantly the class heard stories of clients that needed help and saw firsthand what an organization did to respond to those needs - and the consensus was that it made for a very interesting and worthwhile week.  As always when we gather as a group, new ideas emerge to make the next class even better.  Plans are to offer this unique course a couple of times per year going forward.

D.O.T. Has Ag Retailers M.A.D.

Spring season is upon us and depending on where you are located in the U.S. the relative degree of difficulty is different based on the weather, availability of product, logistics, driver pool, etc.  One degree of difficulty no one should ever have to face is the obstacle the state and federal government agencies pose when they stand in the way of compliance - of their own rules. 
Motor carriers have witnessed a significant increase in the requirements and processes for qualifying drivers of commercial motor vehicles over the past decade.  The heart of the issue revolves around multiple facets of the Department of Transportation launching its journey into the world of technology.  The result has created a severe driver shortage and added multiple layers of bureaucratic red tape. 

Shortly after the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) system was launched in 2010, Congress intervened, pointing out the program was particularly unfair for small carriers and owner-operators.  Despite popular belief, CSA is not a set of rules or regulations, but rather an initiative designed to improve the efficiency of DOT's enforcement and compliance program. The aim of CSA is to measure carrier safety performance, identify potentially unsafe carriers and prioritize them for enforcement. 

CSA, like many of the new requirements, all start with good intentions, but because government simply cannot keep up with the speed of business, they wind up making compliance more difficult for the regulated community.

We support the objectives to help safe, responsible carriers distinguish themselves from carriers that don't place the same emphasis on safety, but we have genuine concerns when we routinely encounter the following failures by the regulators to meet their most basic of obligations:
  • Overarching flaws in the CSA program are mostly centered on the methodology DOT uses to ultimately impact carriers' safety ratings, however if one of your trucks is rear-ended, mistakenly confused with another motor carrier, the victim of inaccurate data entry or winds up with violation(s) being thrown out of court - best of luck in trying to get your CSA score corrected. 

  • The Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) requires every driver to update their Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the state authority where they are responsible for entering it into their system, so the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for the driver will show him or her as qualified.  Not a day passes that we don't encounter a state that cannot provide the most recent MVR - sometimes for up to 2-3 weeks - because they are backlogged.

  • The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) was established to assure medical examinations were performed by competent, qualified physicians.  Motor carriers are now required to visit the national registry website to document the physician used for each driver is listed as approved - despite the look-up feature on the website has been down since December of 2017 after being hacked.

  • DOT erroneously sent notification to several Medical Examiners in early February stating they would be removed from the national registry because the system indicated his or her state medical license was expired or was due to expire shortly.  DOT had to correct their mistake saying they "were not currently planning to remove any Medical Examiners from the national registry based on outdated information." DOT said they would notify all Medical Examiners when the website is restored.  Medical Examiners were instructed to segregate all examinations completed during the time the website was down and be prepared to upload them when the website is back online - with no penalties.

  • Soon every participant passing through DOT’s Drug & Alcohol program will be databased in yet another national DOT database called the clearinghouse.  Once established, motor carriers will be required to query the system for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prevents them from operating a commercial motor vehicle.  It also requires employers and medical review officers to report drug and alcohol testing program violations.

Why would this be concerning?  An appeals case challenging the accuracy of a similar database, the DOT’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) database, was found in favor of DOT.  In the January 12, 2018 decision, the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the drivers, whose data was found to be inaccurate, were unharmed by the mere existence of the inaccurate information in the government’s database.  The Court stated that the dissemination of the information is not imminent, therefore the drivers suffered no concrete injury sufficient enough to bring the lawsuit. Imagine the nightmare these two unsuspecting drivers have been subjected to - since someone “mishandled” their data.

  • If you are the unfortunate recipient of being lost, misplaced or your data mis-keyed in any of the new-fangled systems above, then you will need to brace yourself for weeks, months or perhaps a year of getting things straightened out.
  • The examples above are real situations that affect livelihoods, careers and possibly the futures of people - real people.  A motor carrier whose truck is struck while parked, or is rear-ended while sitting at a red light, still has those accidents included in its CSA crash scores.  As a result, those scores don't accurately reflect the carrier’s true safety.  Once added to a carrier’s safety history, violations are almost impossible to remove, even if they are out-of-date or incorrect.  Small businesses and drivers continue to be penalized for citations that are dismissed in court.
Particularly in cases where a driver or carrier is not responsible for causing an accident, it's reasonable to fear that plaintiff attorneys will use whatever data is available - accurate or not - to show the driver or motor carrier in question has experienced violations to cast doubt on their safety records.

So here we are, kind of stuck in the middle with a "partner" that is not only - not carrying their share of the workload, but actively contributing to lost or mis-entered data, reports that are incorrect, reported wrong or whatever the case may be.   It makes it harder for the regulated community to comply.  Those affected by these types of situations come away wondering how does an agency of a state or federal government have more authority than the court of the land?  Nothing should be reported that was dismissed and cleared by a court of law.  And one would hope that before a state or federal government proposed inserting themselves in the pathway to compliance, they would first take measures to assure the agency is up to the task.

Does anyone know who to call when a regulatory agency should receive a violation for "dropping the ball" and failing in a way that makes it harder or impossible for the regulated community to comply?

Grain Cooperative Fined After Fatal Silo Engulfment

Iowa OSHA issued 11 citations and $306,500 in penalties to a grain cooperative in Waterloo for exposing workers to amputation and engulfment hazards.  Iowa OSHA inspected the facility following a fatal incident when a worker was engulfed in flowing grain.  Inspectors found that the cooperative failed to provide workers entering grain bins with secured body harnesses, install machine guards on grain handling equipment and train workers on proper grain bin entry conditions.

Even Older Equipment Can Benefit from New Technology

Sensors are taking deeper roots in our lives every day.  One new sensor that can be used on older equipment is essentially a “smart” oil cap that fits on an engine, replacing the existing oil cap.  Called SmartCap, from Perkins, this sensor monitors your engine and can link to a smartphone app.  The cap monitors when the engine is on and off.  When combined with the app, users have access to engine running hours, service reminders, a service log and location information.  More advanced ways to track equipment can support the maintenance, service and repair of your investment.

TFC's Knox Farmers Co-op Hosts Visit with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue 

Knox Farmers Co-op, part of the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) family, hosted a visit with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as part of a Tax Day Town Hall event on April 17th in Knoxville, TN.  The Agricultural Retailers Association worked with Sonny Perdue's office to schedule the visit where he discussed the Tax Reform package and how it's helping farmers across the country. 

Secretary Perdue addressed a standing room only crowd  about the possible 2018 Farm Bill, regulatory reform, rural broadband, trade negotiations and an ag exemption for electronic logging devices.

Welcome New TAPA Executive Secretary!

Tennessee Agricultural Production Association (TAPA) recently named Jo Gillilan as Executive Secretary.  Jo has been involved in the agricultural industry for the past 15 years, working at Winfield United as Research Manager for the past five. She was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Tennessee, so she’s no stranger to ag. Jo has worked with retired TAPA Executive Secretary, Ron Akin, since February to ensure a smooth transition.  We look forward to working with Jo and extend our congratulations on her new role!

Does that Nurse Wagon have Lights?

Don’t be surprised the next time you go to purchase a new wagon for an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank that it comes equipped with tail and turn lights.  Originally reported in our August 2016 newsletter, changes for the lighting and marking of agricultural equipment have hit the field - causing quite a ruckus.  Beginning June 22, 2017, the rule issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) applies to equipment manufactured by the original manufacturer (OEM) and requires the equipment to be built with lighting and markings that meet the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers (ASABE) standard 279.14.  Remember, retrofitting equipment made before June 22, 2017 is not required.

Heads-Up!  If you think lights will be hard to maintain, you should be particularly interested that last month ASABE announced that they have initiated the development of five new standards regarding the braking of agricultural equipment.  Part 4 will be requirements for equipment braking on towed equipment.  These proposed standards could result in significant changes for manufacturers, and ultimately the end user when it comes to repair and maintenance.

NHTSA deemed it unnecessary to provide a public notice of the lighting rule and headed directly for issuing a final federal rule.  This, and the fact our industry was not adequately represented on the ASABE  committee and throughout this process, would seem to cry out for better transparency.  If you feel you could be adversely affected by the ASABE lighting and braking standards, we encourage you to reach out to your state agribusiness association, your affiliated national association and your legislators.

Stay tuned for more developments...

MyScore: Showing Your Efforts at a Glance

One of the greatest benefits of the Snapshots Management Dashboard is the transparency it offers to each client.  You can see what you’ve done, what you haven’t done, and what you need to do.  With the real-time information, you always know where your facility stands, in every department you're involved with.  To keep with that transparent trend, we added a section for MyScore. 

MyScore is a feature that tracks your activities and produces a daily and yearly score of your performance.  It will also show your performance benchmarked against all our other clients, so you know where you stand in the industry.  This feature allows our clients to see the whole picture, at a glance, whenever they want.  It is meant to bring attention to how well you think you’re doing, versus, how well you are actually doing.  Your MyScore is displayed for you to see in the top right corner of your Snapshots page, and you can find your historical scores at the very bottom of the page.  There you will see your day-by-day score, and ultimately your average score for the previous 3 years.

ELD Enforcement in Full Swing

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) confirms that property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating their vehicle without a required registered electronic logging device (ELD), or a grandfathered automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD), will be placed out of service for 10 hours.

In addition, failing to have a required electronic record of duty status will appear on the roadside inspection report and a ticket or civil penalty may be given to the driver.  All ELD violations appearing on a roadside inspection report will be counted against a motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which will drive selection for investigation within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.  FMCSA will determine appropriate action against non-compliant motor carriers.

After 10 hours out of service, the driver may continue to their final destination if the driver has accurately documented their hours-of-service requirements using a paper record of duty status and has a copy of the inspection report and/or citation.  If the driver is stopped again before reaching their final destination, the driver must provide the safety official with a copy of the inspection report and proof that they are still on the continuation of the original trip.  This may be satisfied using a bill of lading.

After reaching their final destination, if the driver is re-dispatched again without obtaining a compliant ELD, they will again be subject to the out-of-service process, unless the driver is traveling back to the principle place of business or terminal empty to obtain an ELD.  Remember, the ELD mandate does not change the underlying hours-of-service requirements.

FieldWatch Celebrates 10 Years!

Congratulations to FieldWatch, Inc, a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers, communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship. FieldWatch offers an online national registry and tools that facilitate communication between commercial applicators and growers of sensitive crops and beekeepers. In 2018, FieldWatch welcomed five new states to its ranks; South Dakota, Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas and Tennessee came on board, joining 14 other states.

FieldWatch operates two voluntary mapping tools that are free for all users: DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site and BeeCheck Apiary Registry. The sites feature an easy-to-use Google Maps interface that clearly shows pesticide applicators the locations of registered areas (sensitive crops or beehives) so they can use this information to make informed decisions before they spray. Go to www.FieldWatch.com and check out their two new mobile apps that make it easier for members to access and input data. FieldCheck is designed to give applicators more functionality from their mobile device while in the field. BeeCheck™ is designed specifically for beekeepers and will make changing the entered location of beehives easier and faster for the beekeepers.

Environmental Respect Awards 2018 - Deadline June 7

The Environmental Respect Awards are the industry’s highest recognition for environmental stewardship among U.S. agricultural retailers.  The awards are sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Agricultural Division of DowDuPont, and presented by CropLife magazine each year.  The stewardship program, which began in 1990, is designed to honor outstanding work in preserving the environment through safe, responsible business practices. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts that judge each applicant based on categories such as environmental stewardship, safety education for employees, professional excellence, leadership in compliance, innovative technology and community outreach.  New for this year, seed agents and distributors can also enter.  The deadline to enter is June 7, 2018.  To learn more and to enter click here.

ResponsibleAg Auditor Training - Register Today!

Several organizations 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 185 people have already participated in the training, with 108 choosing to become credentialed by ResponsibleAg. To become a ResponsibleAg auditor, the first step is to attend the training. Two classes are offered per year. Reserve your seat in the upcoming June course now. Click here to register.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,065 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

FMCSA Top Five Violations for 2017

FMCSA issued their top five violations as cited at roadside inspections in 2017.  The following table lists the top five for the driver, vehicle and hazardous materials categories:

Rank Code Description Violations
2017 Roadside Inspections - Driver Violations
1 395.8 Log violation: general/form and manner 170,721
2 392.2S Speeding 120,176
3 391.41(a) Driving without a valid medical certificate 77,257
4 395.8(f)(1) Driver’s log not current 71,004
5 392.16 Failing to use a seatbelt 62,324
2017 Roadside Inspections - Vehicle Violations
1 393.9 Required lamp(s) not operable 488,895
2 396.5(b) Oil and/or grease leak 199,359
3 393.47(e)-(f) Brake(s) out of adjustment 181,433
4 393.11 Missing/Defective lighting or reflectivedevices 177,272
5 396.3(a)(1) General inspection/repair/maintenance 168,011
2017 Roadside Inspections - Hazmat Violations
1 177.834(a) Package not secure in vehicle 4,241
2 107.620(b) No copy of USDOT hazmat registration number 2,993
3 177.817(e) Shipping paper accessibility 2,506
4 172.504(a) Vehicle not placarded as required 2,164
5 172.516(c)(6) Placard damaged, deteriorated, or obscured 2,112

Pick Your DOT Physician Wisely!

An Alabama chiropractor, and two of his employees, may face 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges brought against them.  The three were indicted by a federal grand jury in regard to an alleged scheme regarding the medical qualifications of commercial drivers. The indictment alleges the chiropractor, acting as a medical examiner in accordance with 49 CFR Part 391, and two associates submitted false medical qualification documents to the DOT.  After performing driver medical examinations that were not up to DOT standards, the medical examiner and his staff allegedly sent forms to the DOT that falsely certified the truck drivers had passed all the physical exam requirements. 

The defendants are charged with making false statements and falsification of federal records and face conspiracy, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges.  If convicted of the most serious charges, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.  They also face substantial monetary penalties and restitution.  An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  A commercial driver found to be involved in a scheme such as this also risks monetary penalties, possible imprisonment and loss of their CDL forever.

Online Dicamba Training Available

As most states have wrapped up their classroom dicamba training, online training modules may be an option for people who missed the classroom training, changed their minds about applying dicamba, got hired prior to season as an applicator or just want a refresher.  Check your state’s requirements to see if the Monsanto, BASF or Dupont online training modules are accepted.  All will provide a certificate of training at the completion of the module and you choose from any of the three.

You Are Here...But Are You Sure?

The only thing worse than passing through a validation screen, is to fill out 10 pages of information just to realize you were logged in to the wrong facility account.  When you have multiple logins for a website, this can easily happen.  Our “Conditions of Use” page can help you confirm which facility account you are about to login to, because it lists the facility and address information that is tied to that username.  You see this page every time you login to Snapshots, and you have to continue through it before you make it to your facility’s account information.

Although this page adds an extra step to your login, it proves to be worthwhile in the long run, especially when you have multiple usernames that you have to go back and forth between.  It also comes in particularly handy this time of year as New Hire season is in full swing and facilities are submitting 100+ New Hires per day.  You want to be sure when you submit a New Hire, that you are logged in to the right facility where your new employee will be located.  So the next time you login to Snapshots, take an extra second to glance over your facility’s information to make sure you’re headed to the right account.

Emergency Response Refresher Training Heading to a Town Near You

For our clients who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents course - Watch your mail for your personalized invitation to the 8-hour Refresher Course.  This summer we are offering training at 57 remote locations around the country.  This course has been a great success since beginning in 2001 when there were only 17 of these classes offered throughout the U.S.  Today more than 1700 people are trained annually with just over 70 choices of Refresher Training locations.  Classes are limited to 30 participants, so register today to ensure space is available for the class of your choice.  Click here to register.

Look Out Below

Elevated work areas are getting new attention that could effect our industry.  The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is seeking public comments in response to its proposed new standard on Dropped Object Prevention.  ISEA 121 seeks to establish minimum design, performance and labeling requirements for solutions that reduce dropped objects incidents in industrial and occupational settings.  Dropped objects include hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that have to be transferred and used at heights.  In the coming years this could be adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and eventually referenced by OSHA.

The Asmark Institute Professors Delivered!

The first ever Asmark University course kicked off on March 27th to a full house of EHS professionals.  Clients from all four corners of the United States, and areas in-between, gathered at the Ford West Center for Responsible Agriculture to participate in the special inaugural class. “We have received numerous requests over the years to do a workshop to help provide a better understanding and leverage our client’s knowledge of how our system works,” said Allen Summers, President of the Asmark Institute.  “We couldn’t be happier with the level of participation and response from the first class.”  The risk management professionals on hand for the course are tasked broadly with responsibility for their facilities and returned home better prepared to support their locations.

Virtually every Asmark Institute employee, known as a “professor,” presented their area of expertise during the class.  Participants had access to their own computer and were encouraged to follow along on the website as the class moved through the topics.  Alternating between the website and more than fifty databases, participants were walked through practically every process offered by the Institute.  Feedback from the evaluations scored the professors high and indicated the participants enjoyed the variety of presenters and felt they benefited from meeting the staff members and seeing the process.  Seeing how everything was related behind the scenes was another popular aspect cited by the participants. 

As one student put it, “I loved the positive, collaborative culture I experienced this week.”  Asmark University may have showcased the comprehensive offering of products and services built over the past 28 years, but more importantly the class heard stories of clients that needed help and saw firsthand what an organization did to respond to those needs - and the consensus was that it made for a very interesting and worthwhile week.  As always when we gather as a group, new ideas emerge to make the next class even better.  Plans are to offer this unique course a couple of times per year going forward.

D.O.T. Has Ag Retailers M.A.D.

Spring season is upon us and depending on where you are located in the U.S. the relative degree of difficulty is different based on the weather, availability of product, logistics, driver pool, etc.  One degree of difficulty no one should ever have to face is the obstacle the state and federal government agencies pose when they stand in the way of compliance - of their own rules. 
Motor carriers have witnessed a significant increase in the requirements and processes for qualifying drivers of commercial motor vehicles over the past decade.  The heart of the issue revolves around multiple facets of the Department of Transportation launching its journey into the world of technology.  The result has created a severe driver shortage and added multiple layers of bureaucratic red tape. 

Shortly after the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) system was launched in 2010, Congress intervened, pointing out the program was particularly unfair for small carriers and owner-operators.  Despite popular belief, CSA is not a set of rules or regulations, but rather an initiative designed to improve the efficiency of DOT's enforcement and compliance program. The aim of CSA is to measure carrier safety performance, identify potentially unsafe carriers and prioritize them for enforcement. 

CSA, like many of the new requirements, all start with good intentions, but because government simply cannot keep up with the speed of business, they wind up making compliance more difficult for the regulated community.

We support the objectives to help safe, responsible carriers distinguish themselves from carriers that don't place the same emphasis on safety, but we have genuine concerns when we routinely encounter the following failures by the regulators to meet their most basic of obligations:
  • Overarching flaws in the CSA program are mostly centered on the methodology DOT uses to ultimately impact carriers' safety ratings, however if one of your trucks is rear-ended, mistakenly confused with another motor carrier, the victim of inaccurate data entry or winds up with violation(s) being thrown out of court - best of luck in trying to get your CSA score corrected. 

  • The Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) requires every driver to update their Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the state authority where they are responsible for entering it into their system, so the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for the driver will show him or her as qualified.  Not a day passes that we don't encounter a state that cannot provide the most recent MVR - sometimes for up to 2-3 weeks - because they are backlogged.

  • The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) was established to assure medical examinations were performed by competent, qualified physicians.  Motor carriers are now required to visit the national registry website to document the physician used for each driver is listed as approved - despite the look-up feature on the website has been down since December of 2017 after being hacked.

  • DOT erroneously sent notification to several Medical Examiners in early February stating they would be removed from the national registry because the system indicated his or her state medical license was expired or was due to expire shortly.  DOT had to correct their mistake saying they "were not currently planning to remove any Medical Examiners from the national registry based on outdated information." DOT said they would notify all Medical Examiners when the website is restored.  Medical Examiners were instructed to segregate all examinations completed during the time the website was down and be prepared to upload them when the website is back online - with no penalties.

  • Soon every participant passing through DOT’s Drug & Alcohol program will be databased in yet another national DOT database called the clearinghouse.  Once established, motor carriers will be required to query the system for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prevents them from operating a commercial motor vehicle.  It also requires employers and medical review officers to report drug and alcohol testing program violations.

Why would this be concerning?  An appeals case challenging the accuracy of a similar database, the DOT’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) database, was found in favor of DOT.  In the January 12, 2018 decision, the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the drivers, whose data was found to be inaccurate, were unharmed by the mere existence of the inaccurate information in the government’s database.  The Court stated that the dissemination of the information is not imminent, therefore the drivers suffered no concrete injury sufficient enough to bring the lawsuit. Imagine the nightmare these two unsuspecting drivers have been subjected to - since someone “mishandled” their data.

  • If you are the unfortunate recipient of being lost, misplaced or your data mis-keyed in any of the new-fangled systems above, then you will need to brace yourself for weeks, months or perhaps a year of getting things straightened out.
  • The examples above are real situations that affect livelihoods, careers and possibly the futures of people - real people.  A motor carrier whose truck is struck while parked, or is rear-ended while sitting at a red light, still has those accidents included in its CSA crash scores.  As a result, those scores don't accurately reflect the carrier’s true safety.  Once added to a carrier’s safety history, violations are almost impossible to remove, even if they are out-of-date or incorrect.  Small businesses and drivers continue to be penalized for citations that are dismissed in court.
Particularly in cases where a driver or carrier is not responsible for causing an accident, it's reasonable to fear that plaintiff attorneys will use whatever data is available - accurate or not - to show the driver or motor carrier in question has experienced violations to cast doubt on their safety records.

So here we are, kind of stuck in the middle with a "partner" that is not only - not carrying their share of the workload, but actively contributing to lost or mis-entered data, reports that are incorrect, reported wrong or whatever the case may be.   It makes it harder for the regulated community to comply.  Those affected by these types of situations come away wondering how does an agency of a state or federal government have more authority than the court of the land?  Nothing should be reported that was dismissed and cleared by a court of law.  And one would hope that before a state or federal government proposed inserting themselves in the pathway to compliance, they would first take measures to assure the agency is up to the task.

Does anyone know who to call when a regulatory agency should receive a violation for "dropping the ball" and failing in a way that makes it harder or impossible for the regulated community to comply?

Grain Cooperative Fined After Fatal Silo Engulfment

Iowa OSHA issued 11 citations and $306,500 in penalties to a grain cooperative in Waterloo for exposing workers to amputation and engulfment hazards.  Iowa OSHA inspected the facility following a fatal incident when a worker was engulfed in flowing grain.  Inspectors found that the cooperative failed to provide workers entering grain bins with secured body harnesses, install machine guards on grain handling equipment and train workers on proper grain bin entry conditions.

Even Older Equipment Can Benefit from New Technology

Sensors are taking deeper roots in our lives every day.  One new sensor that can be used on older equipment is essentially a “smart” oil cap that fits on an engine, replacing the existing oil cap.  Called SmartCap, from Perkins, this sensor monitors your engine and can link to a smartphone app.  The cap monitors when the engine is on and off.  When combined with the app, users have access to engine running hours, service reminders, a service log and location information.  More advanced ways to track equipment can support the maintenance, service and repair of your investment.
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.