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Volume 175
June 1, 2018

Asmark Institute Welcomes Gary Cornell

We welcome Gary Cornell as he becomes the newest member of the Asmark family on June 1st.  Gary will be the Training Center Manager for our training centers located in Bloomington, IL.  With over 43 years experience, Gary is a seasoned professional applicator who brings a wealth of knowledge to our training efforts.  Gary has actively provided training on numerous topics related to emergency response and first aid.  His experience with retail ag issues helps make him a diverse and valuable member of our team.  

Plans are for him to work alongside Greg Yoder as the new co-instructor for the existing Applicator Training Course for beginning operators.  Gary coming onboard will also help provide a second version of applicator course for more experienced operators.  This course is expected to launch this fall.  Register today for the applicator training course and meet Gary as he gets off to a fast start in Bloomington.  To register for the course, click here.

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Having trouble finding qualified professional applicators? The good news is the Asmark Institute and AGCO have joined forces to create a training program dedicated to educating and developing new professional applicators. The two lead instructors, Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, are both seasoned professional applicators with over 75 years combined experience.

The Applicator Training Course is a four-day course specifically designed for new applicators with zero to three years experience.  The course offers hands-on training where participants learn how to start and assess a field, develop a plan to manage drift, reinforces the importance of professionalism and so much more.  Applicators are often the staff person who have the most direct contact with the farmers, so they play a critical role in the success of your organization. 

Participants take part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, that will challenge them on the mile long all-weather track, which includes a bridge, narrow gateway, steep slopes, railroad crossing and a power line hazard - all in a safe and controlled environment.  The Ride-N-Drive fleet includes a new “C” series RoGator, TerraGator, John Deere, Case and Hagie.  Click here to experience the track for yourself.

“The class is top-notch and made me feel comfortable in learning how to become a professional applicator,” stated Garth Osborne of Ivesdale, IL.  “The experience and knowledge of the instructors made for a great interactive experience - I can’t imagine a better way to learn how to be an applicator.”

Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you. Click here to register.

MyScore Feature Kicks Off New Era

Almost thirty years ago we set out to help our clients comply with their regulatory requirements.  It was a simple mission, but soon it became clear that no one complies with the government regulations simply because the government says they have to.  While the goal for every business should be providing a safe workplace, liability and the desire to control it, is one of the primary motivations for risk management and ultimately culture.  If you've ever had to go to an employee's home to tell their spouse that their loved one won't be coming home again, your thought process is forever changed from "compliance" to "risk management" and beyond to improving the culture.  Regulatory fines are not what motivate most people to do the right thing.

As a client using the Asmark Institute system, reducing your risk, and liability is easier now than it has ever been.  With almost three decades of comprehensive tools and experience developed specifically to meet the needs of farm centers, retailers have everything at their fingertips to protect their employees and customers, as well as their community and the environment - all of which helps ensure the ongoing viability of the business.

We have helped our clients identify and control their risk with the introduction of numerous nationally-recognized tools such as the Snapshots Management Dashboard, Compliance Assessment Tool, Comprehensive Risk Evaluation (CoRE) and the Environmental, Safety, Security, Health & Insurability Index (ESSHII).  Since 2013, we have supported the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and recently renewed our commitment to the success of the program in the future.  Our goal is to have all eligible clients registered and actively participating with ResponsibleAg within the next three years.

July 1st kicks off the next generation of continuous improvement for our clients with the official launch of MyScore - a highly integrated tool that measures performance on a daily basis and applies logic to present a score.  MyScore replaces several of the tools launched earlier, and promotes participation in the ResponsibleAg program.  Users are able to view their daily score, as well as their historical scores for the past three years.  Scores are weighted heavily based on the requirements that are related to people and health - training, respiratory and drivers to name a few.  A benchmark score is provided as a total average of all clients.  MyScore is designed to promote the continuous, systematic process of proactively identifying and tracking your risk management efforts at retail agrichemical facilities.

MyScore represents a new era for the Asmark Institute in another way.  Gone are the days of simply not addressing your regulatory requirements, at a minimum.  Our systems of the past have identified issues that needed to be completed with the hopes the client would follow through.  Most do, but historically some don't.  For those that don't follow through and ensure a safe workplace, it increases the potential risk and liability involving a violation, loss or lawsuit.  Going forward, MyScore will be used to identify those clients who are excelling in their work, but also those that may need attention.

While 100% is our ultimate objective, we are excited to launch MyScore as a three-year initiative to genuinely raise all our clients’ scores to be a 90 or higher.  We recommend you login to Snapshots and check your MyScore.  It is located in the upper right corner.  Depending on your score, you may receive one of the new email notifications, a phone call from customer service with tips or a visit by one of our management team to help lay out a plan for improvement.

Warren Buffett says "risk comes from not knowing what you're doing." I wonder what he would say about the risks involved with knowing that you should be doing something - but choosing to do nothing?

Keep Carrying that Medical Card

DOT has indicated the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule that was scheduled to go into effect on June 22nd will now be delayed until June 22, 2021.  So drivers will need to continue to carry their medical cards for three more years.

The agency has concluded that it will not be able to electronically transmit Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) information from the National Registry to the State Driver's Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), nor will the SDLAs be able to electronically receive the MEC information from the National Registry for posting to the driver record, as intended.  Due to a number of delays, including an incident that occurred in December 2017, caused the agency to take the National Registry offline. This lead to interruptions in the development of the process for the electronic transmission of MEC information and medical variances. The final specifications for the electronic transmission of MEC information have not been completed.

DOT says postponing the implementation date will give sufficient time to make the necessary information technology programming changes. So make sure you carry your medical card to avoid any confusion or problems in the future.

International Roadcheck Set for June 5-7th

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place June 5-7, 2018.  Over the 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers.  Hours-of-service compliance will be this year's focus.

Inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both the driver and vehicle.  Drivers may be asked to provide their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation.  Inspectors will also be attentive to apparent drug or alcohol impairment and will check for seat belt usage.  If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle.  If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, they may place the driver or vehicle out of service.

Ammonia Technician Course Registration Now Open

Risk Management Program inspections are continuing this year, and one of the key factors for a successful audit is to ensure your employees are adequately trained.  Especially your employees that are responsible for the mechanical integrity and ongoing maintenance of your ammonia system.  If you have anhydrous ammonia at your facility and you don’t have someone currently trained, we are actively looking for you!

Ammonia Technician training is not available through your local state.  Consequently, the Asmark Institute created a one-of-a-kind course, specifically for the personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity of the equipment used to store, transport and apply anhydrous ammonia.  There are any number of courses that teach product safety and transfer procedures, but none that meet the specific needs for an ammonia technician responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and duties at an ammonia facility.

The participants who attend the ATC course offered in Bloomington, IL will receive a certificate valid for three years, which helps fulfill the training requirements for EPA’s RMP rule, OSHA’s PSM rule and DOT’s function-specific training for hazardous materials.

Classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date that is convenient for you.  Click here to register.

The Recipe for Great Training

Safety meetings shouldn’t be a dreaded event each month.  In fact, they should be interactive, interesting and informative.  As with any good recipe, great training begins with proper planning.  Finding creative ways to incorporate hands-on activities for employees to "touch and feel" will go a long way in bolstering the meeting’s effectiveness and will prove to be enjoyable for participants as well.  Other essential ingredients include credible  documentation backed by fresh content.   Credible documentation will reduce a company’s overall liability and fresh content will help keep the participant’s attention and increase their retention factor.

The Asmark Institute’s video team strives to keep their training topics fresh by updating 4-8 training topics each year.  Stay tuned for more information about this year’s updates to the Asmark Institute’s training videos.  If your facility would like to help the video team in expanding or updating training topics with fresh content this year, please contact Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 Ext. 230 or brian@asmark.org.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,085 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

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.  The 2018 auditor course is scheduled for June 19-22.  Register today to reserve your spot - only 5 seats left!   Click here to register.

AASA Inspections: Coming Soon

This summer, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is inspecting ag retail bulk crop protection facilities in 21 states: Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. AASA operates in all 50 states, working in a different region each year on a three year inspection cycle. The inspections are voluntary, but helps assure compliance with federal regulations pertaining to pesticide storage and handling, and it has helped retailers greatly improve their compliance over the past 12 years on USEPA regulations. If you are selected as a possible inspection site, you will receive advance notice of the inspection via a welcome letter. Actual inspections generally run from June through late August.

AASA inspectors work for the industry, not the government, and provide a friendly, face to face conduit of compliance information to agrichemical facilities throughout the USA. Participation is voluntary, and the facility manager will receive a copy of the inspection results. Retailers have embraced this program with nearly 100% participation.  For ag retailers, AASA is your partner in compliance, much like the ResponsibleAg (RA) program will also help you assure compliance with federal regulations pertaining to the storage and handling of fertilizers and crop protection inputs. Between AASA and RA, our industry has a direct avenue to education, assessment and improvement with regard to federal regulations. Our industry cares about compliance, safety and stewardship. The agrichemical facilities that voluntarily participate are to be commended, as they help assure a safe, compliant and prosperous future for our entire industry.

For more information on AASA, go to www.aginspect.org or contact Jean Payne at the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association at 309-827-2774.

Be Sure to Check Out CropLife’s Daily Dicamba Updates

Our friends at CropLife magazine have put together a wealth of information and useful tips on dicamba to help folks stay up-to-date during the spraying season.  With all eyes watching for off-target movement of dicamba, we encourage you to check out the CropLife Daily Dicamba Updates to stay informed.

As label requirements for dicamba products have tightened, these serve as great useful daily reminders with practical information. Remember, some states have set a specific calendar date or temperature cutoffs for when dicamba may be applied and as always, ensure you are following the current label for the product you are using.  Kudos to CropLife for creating this useful tool! Click here to check out today’s tip.

Billy Basham Jr. - On the Road Again...

Second only to Willie Nelson in the number of performances in a year, is the lead instructor for the mobile Emergency Response (HazWoper) Refresher Course, Billy Basham Jr.  He’s on the road for more than 18 weeks per year, traveling about 25,000 miles, where he presents refresher training at more than 70 remote locations across the country.  Imagine how many bad hotel breakfasts he endures.

Before Billy became the lead instructor for the HazWoper refresher course, he completed more than  2,000 hours of “train the trainer” training.  He underwent an intense education where he learned from the best - his dad, Bill Basham Sr., the lead instructor for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course, located in LaVergne, TN.  During his training, Billy encountered everything from a radiation leak at a hospital to all types of agrichemical spills.

Over the years Billy has had a few assistants who have helped with the HazWoper Refresher classes, one being his lovely wife Theresa. They have been married for 23 years and have two sons, Kimmyth and Christopher.

Billy is a dedicated safety instructor and when he’s not driving across the country and training at retail ag facilities, he is the assistant instructor for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course. Annually, between the two courses, Billy trains over 1,900 participants from the agricultural industry. 

As you are driving the highways of our nation and you see a big white truck with the Asmark logo, please slow down and wave at Billy as he heads into the sunset on the way to his next training location.

PSM Retail Exemption Clarified

OSHA issued an updated enforcement policy for its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, clarifying that it does not apply to “retail facilities.”  OSHA will not issue citations under the PSM standard for employers in the following North American Classification System (NAICS) codes:

  • 424510 - Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers
  • 424590 - Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers
  • 424910 - Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
This comes following the 2016 Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Agricultural Retailers Association v. US Department of Labor.  The court decision required OSHA to revert back to the original 1992 interpretation.  This memorandum was necessary to align the guidance with the current rule for its inspectors, the public and regulated community.

While the court decision was a setback for OSHA, it provides an opportunity for retailers to use this time wisely to continue to make mechanical integrity upgrades to their facilities, including the use of P&IDs and developing detailed written operating programs.  We continue to recommend our clients further develop and refine these aspects of their Risk Management Program (RMP) with the goal of substantial compliance with the maintenance and mechanical integrity requirements of their ammonia installation. This course of action will prove very beneficial when OSHA does rebound on the subject of PSM.

Pre-Rule Activities on the Horizon

Two topics to keep an eye on for future rulemaking are Emergency Response and Lockout Tagout.  Both are in the pre-rule stage, but may see announcements from OSHA this year.  Expect a request for information on technological advancements that employ computer-based controls of hazardous energy in relation to the lockout tagout standard.  As equipment manufacturers modernize designs, OSHA will be looking for input on the strengths and limitations of this new technology.  The emergency response update may include changes in performance specifications for protective clothing and equipment.  More details on these topics will become clear as the year unfolds.

New App Tool Available to Help Manage Dicamba Applications

Cropstream has released a new tool to help manage dicamba applications.  This new mobile app lets users view nearby crop tech traits to help manage the federal dicamba requirement of consulting a sensitive crop registry before spraying. “In less than one minute, growers can mark their field on a map and post information about the seed traits in their crops,” says company president Tim Aughenbaugh.  “A database of over 10,000 seed varieties makes posting traits as simple as selecting the brand and hybrid/variety planted and confirming the trait.”  To learn more about this new tool, click here.

Draft Pesticide Label Revisions on Respirators Announced

EPA is requesting public comment on revised respirator descriptions for pesticide labels.  EPA is making these revisions to make respirator descriptions on pesticide labels consistent with the current National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator language; ensure that pesticide handlers and their employers have the information they need to identify and buy the respirator required to provide needed protection; delete outdated statements referring to respirators that no longer exist; and clarify and update language to ensure easy compliance with the guidance.  For more information on the proposed revisions click here.

Minnesota Provides Emergency Hours of Service Relief

Due to late snowfalls and later than usual snowmelt, Minnesota is facing a delayed and shortened spring planting season.  Governor Mark Dayton has issued an emergency Executive Order to increase fertilizer access across the state.  This 30 day exemption is from hours of service for carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers obtaining or delivering fertilizer, including anhydrous ammonia.  This temporary relief will help retailers and farmers to complete planting.  For more details, click here to view the Executive Order.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.

Asmark Institute Welcomes Gary Cornell

We welcome Gary Cornell as he becomes the newest member of the Asmark family on June 1st.  Gary will be the Training Center Manager for our training centers located in Bloomington, IL.  With over 43 years experience, Gary is a seasoned professional applicator who brings a wealth of knowledge to our training efforts.  Gary has actively provided training on numerous topics related to emergency response and first aid.  His experience with retail ag issues helps make him a diverse and valuable member of our team.  

Plans are for him to work alongside Greg Yoder as the new co-instructor for the existing Applicator Training Course for beginning operators.  Gary coming onboard will also help provide a second version of applicator course for more experienced operators.  This course is expected to launch this fall.  Register today for the applicator training course and meet Gary as he gets off to a fast start in Bloomington.  To register for the course, click here.

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Having trouble finding qualified professional applicators? The good news is the Asmark Institute and AGCO have joined forces to create a training program dedicated to educating and developing new professional applicators. The two lead instructors, Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, are both seasoned professional applicators with over 75 years combined experience.

The Applicator Training Course is a four-day course specifically designed for new applicators with zero to three years experience.  The course offers hands-on training where participants learn how to start and assess a field, develop a plan to manage drift, reinforces the importance of professionalism and so much more.  Applicators are often the staff person who have the most direct contact with the farmers, so they play a critical role in the success of your organization. 

Participants take part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, that will challenge them on the mile long all-weather track, which includes a bridge, narrow gateway, steep slopes, railroad crossing and a power line hazard - all in a safe and controlled environment.  The Ride-N-Drive fleet includes a new “C” series RoGator, TerraGator, John Deere, Case and Hagie.  Click here to experience the track for yourself.

“The class is top-notch and made me feel comfortable in learning how to become a professional applicator,” stated Garth Osborne of Ivesdale, IL.  “The experience and knowledge of the instructors made for a great interactive experience - I can’t imagine a better way to learn how to be an applicator.”

Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date most convenient for you. Click here to register.

MyScore Feature Kicks Off New Era

Almost thirty years ago we set out to help our clients comply with their regulatory requirements.  It was a simple mission, but soon it became clear that no one complies with the government regulations simply because the government says they have to.  While the goal for every business should be providing a safe workplace, liability and the desire to control it, is one of the primary motivations for risk management and ultimately culture.  If you've ever had to go to an employee's home to tell their spouse that their loved one won't be coming home again, your thought process is forever changed from "compliance" to "risk management" and beyond to improving the culture.  Regulatory fines are not what motivate most people to do the right thing.

As a client using the Asmark Institute system, reducing your risk, and liability is easier now than it has ever been.  With almost three decades of comprehensive tools and experience developed specifically to meet the needs of farm centers, retailers have everything at their fingertips to protect their employees and customers, as well as their community and the environment - all of which helps ensure the ongoing viability of the business.

We have helped our clients identify and control their risk with the introduction of numerous nationally-recognized tools such as the Snapshots Management Dashboard, Compliance Assessment Tool, Comprehensive Risk Evaluation (CoRE) and the Environmental, Safety, Security, Health & Insurability Index (ESSHII).  Since 2013, we have supported the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and recently renewed our commitment to the success of the program in the future.  Our goal is to have all eligible clients registered and actively participating with ResponsibleAg within the next three years.

July 1st kicks off the next generation of continuous improvement for our clients with the official launch of MyScore - a highly integrated tool that measures performance on a daily basis and applies logic to present a score.  MyScore replaces several of the tools launched earlier, and promotes participation in the ResponsibleAg program.  Users are able to view their daily score, as well as their historical scores for the past three years.  Scores are weighted heavily based on the requirements that are related to people and health - training, respiratory and drivers to name a few.  A benchmark score is provided as a total average of all clients.  MyScore is designed to promote the continuous, systematic process of proactively identifying and tracking your risk management efforts at retail agrichemical facilities.

MyScore represents a new era for the Asmark Institute in another way.  Gone are the days of simply not addressing your regulatory requirements, at a minimum.  Our systems of the past have identified issues that needed to be completed with the hopes the client would follow through.  Most do, but historically some don't.  For those that don't follow through and ensure a safe workplace, it increases the potential risk and liability involving a violation, loss or lawsuit.  Going forward, MyScore will be used to identify those clients who are excelling in their work, but also those that may need attention.

While 100% is our ultimate objective, we are excited to launch MyScore as a three-year initiative to genuinely raise all our clients’ scores to be a 90 or higher.  We recommend you login to Snapshots and check your MyScore.  It is located in the upper right corner.  Depending on your score, you may receive one of the new email notifications, a phone call from customer service with tips or a visit by one of our management team to help lay out a plan for improvement.

Warren Buffett says "risk comes from not knowing what you're doing." I wonder what he would say about the risks involved with knowing that you should be doing something - but choosing to do nothing?

Keep Carrying that Medical Card

DOT has indicated the Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration final rule that was scheduled to go into effect on June 22nd will now be delayed until June 22, 2021.  So drivers will need to continue to carry their medical cards for three more years.

The agency has concluded that it will not be able to electronically transmit Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) information from the National Registry to the State Driver's Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), nor will the SDLAs be able to electronically receive the MEC information from the National Registry for posting to the driver record, as intended.  Due to a number of delays, including an incident that occurred in December 2017, caused the agency to take the National Registry offline. This lead to interruptions in the development of the process for the electronic transmission of MEC information and medical variances. The final specifications for the electronic transmission of MEC information have not been completed.

DOT says postponing the implementation date will give sufficient time to make the necessary information technology programming changes. So make sure you carry your medical card to avoid any confusion or problems in the future.

International Roadcheck Set for June 5-7th

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place June 5-7, 2018.  Over the 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers.  Hours-of-service compliance will be this year's focus.

Inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both the driver and vehicle.  Drivers may be asked to provide their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation.  Inspectors will also be attentive to apparent drug or alcohol impairment and will check for seat belt usage.  If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle.  If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, they may place the driver or vehicle out of service.

Ammonia Technician Course Registration Now Open

Risk Management Program inspections are continuing this year, and one of the key factors for a successful audit is to ensure your employees are adequately trained.  Especially your employees that are responsible for the mechanical integrity and ongoing maintenance of your ammonia system.  If you have anhydrous ammonia at your facility and you don’t have someone currently trained, we are actively looking for you!

Ammonia Technician training is not available through your local state.  Consequently, the Asmark Institute created a one-of-a-kind course, specifically for the personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity of the equipment used to store, transport and apply anhydrous ammonia.  There are any number of courses that teach product safety and transfer procedures, but none that meet the specific needs for an ammonia technician responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and duties at an ammonia facility.

The participants who attend the ATC course offered in Bloomington, IL will receive a certificate valid for three years, which helps fulfill the training requirements for EPA’s RMP rule, OSHA’s PSM rule and DOT’s function-specific training for hazardous materials.

Classes are limited to 22 participants, so register today to ensure you get the class date that is convenient for you.  Click here to register.

The Recipe for Great Training

Safety meetings shouldn’t be a dreaded event each month.  In fact, they should be interactive, interesting and informative.  As with any good recipe, great training begins with proper planning.  Finding creative ways to incorporate hands-on activities for employees to "touch and feel" will go a long way in bolstering the meeting’s effectiveness and will prove to be enjoyable for participants as well.  Other essential ingredients include credible  documentation backed by fresh content.   Credible documentation will reduce a company’s overall liability and fresh content will help keep the participant’s attention and increase their retention factor.

The Asmark Institute’s video team strives to keep their training topics fresh by updating 4-8 training topics each year.  Stay tuned for more information about this year’s updates to the Asmark Institute’s training videos.  If your facility would like to help the video team in expanding or updating training topics with fresh content this year, please contact Brian Mason at 270-926-4600 Ext. 230 or brian@asmark.org.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,085 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

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.  The 2018 auditor course is scheduled for June 19-22.  Register today to reserve your spot - only 5 seats left!   Click here to register.

AASA Inspections: Coming Soon

This summer, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is inspecting ag retail bulk crop protection facilities in 21 states: Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. AASA operates in all 50 states, working in a different region each year on a three year inspection cycle. The inspections are voluntary, but helps assure compliance with federal regulations pertaining to pesticide storage and handling, and it has helped retailers greatly improve their compliance over the past 12 years on USEPA regulations. If you are selected as a possible inspection site, you will receive advance notice of the inspection via a welcome letter. Actual inspections generally run from June through late August.

AASA inspectors work for the industry, not the government, and provide a friendly, face to face conduit of compliance information to agrichemical facilities throughout the USA. Participation is voluntary, and the facility manager will receive a copy of the inspection results. Retailers have embraced this program with nearly 100% participation.  For ag retailers, AASA is your partner in compliance, much like the ResponsibleAg (RA) program will also help you assure compliance with federal regulations pertaining to the storage and handling of fertilizers and crop protection inputs. Between AASA and RA, our industry has a direct avenue to education, assessment and improvement with regard to federal regulations. Our industry cares about compliance, safety and stewardship. The agrichemical facilities that voluntarily participate are to be commended, as they help assure a safe, compliant and prosperous future for our entire industry.

For more information on AASA, go to www.aginspect.org or contact Jean Payne at the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association at 309-827-2774.

Be Sure to Check Out CropLife’s Daily Dicamba Updates

Our friends at CropLife magazine have put together a wealth of information and useful tips on dicamba to help folks stay up-to-date during the spraying season.  With all eyes watching for off-target movement of dicamba, we encourage you to check out the CropLife Daily Dicamba Updates to stay informed.

As label requirements for dicamba products have tightened, these serve as great useful daily reminders with practical information. Remember, some states have set a specific calendar date or temperature cutoffs for when dicamba may be applied and as always, ensure you are following the current label for the product you are using.  Kudos to CropLife for creating this useful tool! Click here to check out today’s tip.

Billy Basham Jr. - On the Road Again...

Second only to Willie Nelson in the number of performances in a year, is the lead instructor for the mobile Emergency Response (HazWoper) Refresher Course, Billy Basham Jr.  He’s on the road for more than 18 weeks per year, traveling about 25,000 miles, where he presents refresher training at more than 70 remote locations across the country.  Imagine how many bad hotel breakfasts he endures.

Before Billy became the lead instructor for the HazWoper refresher course, he completed more than  2,000 hours of “train the trainer” training.  He underwent an intense education where he learned from the best - his dad, Bill Basham Sr., the lead instructor for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course, located in LaVergne, TN.  During his training, Billy encountered everything from a radiation leak at a hospital to all types of agrichemical spills.

Over the years Billy has had a few assistants who have helped with the HazWoper Refresher classes, one being his lovely wife Theresa. They have been married for 23 years and have two sons, Kimmyth and Christopher.

Billy is a dedicated safety instructor and when he’s not driving across the country and training at retail ag facilities, he is the assistant instructor for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course. Annually, between the two courses, Billy trains over 1,900 participants from the agricultural industry. 

As you are driving the highways of our nation and you see a big white truck with the Asmark logo, please slow down and wave at Billy as he heads into the sunset on the way to his next training location.

PSM Retail Exemption Clarified

OSHA issued an updated enforcement policy for its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, clarifying that it does not apply to “retail facilities.”  OSHA will not issue citations under the PSM standard for employers in the following North American Classification System (NAICS) codes:

  • 424510 - Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers
  • 424590 - Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers
  • 424910 - Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
This comes following the 2016 Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Agricultural Retailers Association v. US Department of Labor.  The court decision required OSHA to revert back to the original 1992 interpretation.  This memorandum was necessary to align the guidance with the current rule for its inspectors, the public and regulated community.

While the court decision was a setback for OSHA, it provides an opportunity for retailers to use this time wisely to continue to make mechanical integrity upgrades to their facilities, including the use of P&IDs and developing detailed written operating programs.  We continue to recommend our clients further develop and refine these aspects of their Risk Management Program (RMP) with the goal of substantial compliance with the maintenance and mechanical integrity requirements of their ammonia installation. This course of action will prove very beneficial when OSHA does rebound on the subject of PSM.

Pre-Rule Activities on the Horizon

Two topics to keep an eye on for future rulemaking are Emergency Response and Lockout Tagout.  Both are in the pre-rule stage, but may see announcements from OSHA this year.  Expect a request for information on technological advancements that employ computer-based controls of hazardous energy in relation to the lockout tagout standard.  As equipment manufacturers modernize designs, OSHA will be looking for input on the strengths and limitations of this new technology.  The emergency response update may include changes in performance specifications for protective clothing and equipment.  More details on these topics will become clear as the year unfolds.

New App Tool Available to Help Manage Dicamba Applications

Cropstream has released a new tool to help manage dicamba applications.  This new mobile app lets users view nearby crop tech traits to help manage the federal dicamba requirement of consulting a sensitive crop registry before spraying. “In less than one minute, growers can mark their field on a map and post information about the seed traits in their crops,” says company president Tim Aughenbaugh.  “A database of over 10,000 seed varieties makes posting traits as simple as selecting the brand and hybrid/variety planted and confirming the trait.”  To learn more about this new tool, click here.

Draft Pesticide Label Revisions on Respirators Announced

EPA is requesting public comment on revised respirator descriptions for pesticide labels.  EPA is making these revisions to make respirator descriptions on pesticide labels consistent with the current National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator language; ensure that pesticide handlers and their employers have the information they need to identify and buy the respirator required to provide needed protection; delete outdated statements referring to respirators that no longer exist; and clarify and update language to ensure easy compliance with the guidance.  For more information on the proposed revisions click here.

Minnesota Provides Emergency Hours of Service Relief

Due to late snowfalls and later than usual snowmelt, Minnesota is facing a delayed and shortened spring planting season.  Governor Mark Dayton has issued an emergency Executive Order to increase fertilizer access across the state.  This 30 day exemption is from hours of service for carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers obtaining or delivering fertilizer, including anhydrous ammonia.  This temporary relief will help retailers and farmers to complete planting.  For more details, click here to view the Executive Order.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.
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.