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Newsletter
Volume 181
December 3, 2018

Season's Greetings!

As we enter into the holiday season, all of us at the Asmark Institute would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. We appreciate the relationship that has been developed between our organizations over the years and especially the opportunity to have worked with you in 2018!

Willard’s Honored with ARA Distinguished Service Award

William F. Willard, Sr. (Billy) and Bob Willard were awarded the Distinguished Service Award by ARA at the 2018 ARA Conference and Expo.  The Willard’s have been a pillar in the ag retail industry since their father De Willard founded Willard Agri-Service in 1970. They operate one of the most highly respected and successful ag retail organizations in the nation.  Although located in the northeast, the Willard’s are known nationally for being the gold standard and raising the bar in our industry, making them truly distinguished.  Congratulations to Billy and Bob for receiving this honor!

Larry Yargus Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award
Our sincerest congratulations to Larry Yargus for being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 ARA Conference and Expo!  Larry is a true leader in our industry and throughout his career has been a champion for ag retailers. His family business, Yargus Manufacturing located in Marshall, IL, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and its major success can be attributed to Larry’s vision, hard work and even the advocacy work he does on behalf of ag retailers. There isn’t a more deserving individual for this award than Larry!

Annual Compliance Visit Reminder: December 31, 2018
As a friendly reminder, please make note of the deadline to have completed your annual compliance visit.

Pirkle Solutions, Inc. Launches

J. Billy Pirkle announced the launch of his new consulting business, Pirkle Solutions, Inc. earlier this month.  Billy retired in October after 28 years serving in leadership roles within EHS&S at IMC Fertilizer, Royster-Clark Inc., Crop Production Services and most recently Nutrien Ag Solutions.  Pirkle Solutions, Inc. will provide expertise in regulatory compliance, operational management and agency interaction to support the crop production industry at all levels of the supply chain.  Billy will continue to serve on the Asmark Institute Board of Directors as he has since 2005.  We congratulate Billy on his new venture and wish him great success as he embarks on this new adventure!

Heads Up: DVD Exchange Underway

Clients should soon be receiving their new DVD Number 2 as part of our annual update and exchange.  Please watch for the package and follow the instructions to complete the exchange by the deadline.  DVD Number 2 includes an updated Worker Protection Standard topic that has been approved by EPA.  The video covers the expanded content that is required to train pesticide handlers beginning December 19, 2018. Our thanks goes to all the farm centers and participants that made this update possible.

Also, included is the second edition of the Legacy Series featuring Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is included by using a custom-made case that features room for a second DVD.  Dustin Warder and Brian Mason, on our video team, have been working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible before he retires sometime down the road.  The preservation and addition of these new topics underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have access to the best training in the industry.  The new Legacy Series DVD contains four new topics to help support your overall training program.  The topics include:

Don’t Freeze Up
Helps agricultural professionals develop a plan for end-of-season maintenance on spray equipment.  Discusses how to inspect hoses for wear and deterioration.  Shows the process of winterizing spray equipment, including how to choose the right type of antifreeze.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guest Greg Yoder at the Asmark Applicator Training Center. This is a 42 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Preparing Spray Equipment for Winter Storage and Spring Startup: How Maintenance and Winterization Can Extend the Life of Sprayers and Keep You Working” (PPP No. 121) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

Keep It Pinned
Examines the science to keeping an implement safely connected by a hitch pin to a truck or tractor allowing operators to maintain control of their implements and loads.  Provides a detailed look at hitch pin strength and how to select the right hitch pin for the load.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 34 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “The Tractor Hitch Pin, A Critical Component in Keeping Control of Implements” (PPP No. 094) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

The Flying Clevis
Shows that there is more to extracting stuck equipment than just hooking up and pulling.  Walks through the zones of extraction and forces of resistance.  Examines how to choose the right connecting equipment as well as explaining the difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 40 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Extracting Stuck Equipment Safely - How to Avoid Expensive and Painful Incidents” (PPP No. 098) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

The Shattering Tank
Presents the need for poly tanks to be inspected and maintained to avoid catastrophic failures.  Discusses tank material and design differences for poly tanks.  Shows how to conduct tests with a water soluble marker as well as hitting an empty tank with a baseball bat.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 28 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Poly Tanks For Farms and Businesses” (PPP No. 077) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

Instructor Spotlight - Brian Miller

Coming from the ag industry, the number of letters after one’s name is typically not a good indication of a great trainer, but with more than 35 years experience in agriculture, Brian Miller is one of the most well qualified, yet humble trainers we have ever met.  Brian is the lead instructor for the OSHA AG 30 course, one of the most popular Asmark Institute Signature Training courses.  Brian is also the lead instructor for the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Course.  As far as the letters behind his name, Brian was one of the first in the industry to earn the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation.  He is also a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA).  Graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University, Brian began his career with Crop Production Services (CPS) in 1983.  Starting as a Crop Consultant, he worked his way up to farm center manager and later took the role of supporting other CPS farm centers in EH&S, which included compliance auditing.  In 2000, he transferred to the role of Environmental Auditing Manager where he was in charge of the Agrium Retail Auditing Program for over 400 retail locations in 30 states.

Brian retired in 2016 and started his own company, Miller Risk Management.  The term retired is used very loosely, as Brian probably works just as hard now as he did with his corporate position.  Brian has a special gift when it comes to teaching auditing or OSHA AG-30.  There is a human side to helping people understand the rules, especially when it comes to auditing.  Brian turns stories from his past experiences into teachable moments.  This personal, but very accurate approach is what separates him from most other trainers.  Brian is a member of the Croplife Ambassadors Network, which takes him as a volunteer to speaking engagements for elementary students on the topic of agriculture.  When he’s not teaching, performing audits, or volunteering, Brian enjoys working on his farm and spending time with his family.  Brian and Marie have been married for 19 years and have five children (four boys and a girl).  One of Brian’s claims to fame is that he was once sat on by a camel.  So if you wish to meet the man under the camel and hear more about this story and many more, we encourage you to register for one of the OSHA AG 30 courses and meet Brian for yourself.

Court Breaks Delay of RMP Changes

In 2017, rule changes to the EPA Risk Management Program (RMP) were delayed by legal wrangling. A recent DC Court decision made some of the changes effective immediately. The changes that became effective immediately are as follows. Portions of the changes that EPA is proposing to revise are not included in the list below.

Emergency Coordination
  • Facility must coordinate at least annually with LEPC and document activities.
  • Facility must provide LEPC with: 
    • emergency response plan, if one exists,
    • emergency action plan,
    • emergency contact information, and
    • any other pertinent information. 
Emergency Response Program
  • Reinforces need to inform Federal and state emergency response agencies about accidental releases.
  • Reinforces need to review and update emergency response plan.
  • Reinforces need to inform employees of the changes to the emergency response plan.
Prevention Program
  • Include findings from incident investigations in the Hazard Review.
  • Employee training requirements also apply to supervisors.
  • Compliance Audits must be conducted for each covered process at least every three years.
Incident Investigation Reports, previously called summaries, are required even when a catastrophic release results in the affected process being decommissioned. The phrase “near miss” was added to describe incidents that could reasonably have resulted in a catastrophic release. Incident Investigation Reports must be completed within 12 months of the incident. The content of the report has been expanded significantly.

Process Safety Information - Program 3
  • Reinforces need to keep process safety information up-to-date.
Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) - Program 3
  • Include findings from incident investigations in the Process Hazard Analysis, as well as any other potential failure scenarios.
Note: We are working on plans to roll out updates next year. One update will be to include documentation of the Compliance Audit by process. Also, expect added features to the emergency plan suitable for distribution to emergency responders and additions to the Incident Investigation Report. By the time the 2019 annual compliance season rolls around we will have tools to help you comply with these new requirements.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,254 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Walking and Working Surfaces Deadline: Fixed Ladders

Part of OSHA’s Walking and Working Surfaces (WWS) rule includes requirements for fall protection to be incorporated into ladders over 24 feet tall.  After November 19, 2018 all new fixed ladders must include a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system.  In the past, fixed ladders over 20 feet were required to have a safety cage.  The cage itself being considered the fall protection for those ladders under the previous rule.  Cages alone are no longer considered fall protection.

Start complying today and your path towards complying with the WWS will be a lot easier and the expense can be broken down over a number of years.  As existing fixed ladders need repair or replacement, upgrade by installing the required personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system.  By November 19, 2036 all fixed ladders over 24 feet with cages must have a ladder climbing device or personal fall arrest system installed.  While this may seem like a long way out right now, we recommend you begin incorporating these changes into your repair, maintenance and construction projects rather than waiting to do them all at the last minute.

Watch for EPA's Reminder on Pesticide-Production Reports

EPA has sent their reminder on PPRs and we want to remind you that if any of your locations receive this email from EPA, please assure them that there is no action required on their part. What EPA is sending is simply a reminder to complete your Annual Pesticides Report for Pesticide Producing Establishments. We will file your annual report with EPA ahead of the March 1, 2018 deadline and send you a copy with tracking documentation to verify receipt. If you or your facilities have any questions, please contact Tiffany at 270-926-4600 Ext. 209 or tiffany@asmark.org.

Missouri Farmer Charged in Dicamba Indictment

A Missouri farmer from Parma, has been accused of providing false documentation and making false statements about his use of dicamba when the Missouri Department of Agriculture investigated crop damage reported by several neighboring farmers in June 2016.  The federal indictment against the farmer alleges 49 instances of misapplication of a pesticide, a false statement and three acts of obstruction of justice.  "Although weed killers like dicamba have been around for decades, it is critical that applicators follow manufacturer instructions when applying them," EPA agent Jeffrey Martinez said in a statement. "The misuse of this product has resulted in significant crop damage at neighboring farms."  If found guilty, the farmer faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Bulk Bag Safety

Bulk bag storage of seed increases this time of year, so it is especially important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for properly stacking bulk bags.  One suggestion that was recently discussed in our OSHA AG-30 class was to put a piece of plywood between bags when direct stacking is allowed.  Never allow an employee to position themselves between bags or rows of bags.

Bags should be stacked as straight as possible and forklift operators should be trained on the proper way to stack bulk bags.  If placing bulk bags on racks, be sure not to exceed the load capacity of the rack.  If bags are leaning, isolate the area to keep employees away until they can be safely restacked.  Maintain plenty of space between stacked bags and door or high-traffic areas as bags may shift and collapse.  Bottom-line is caution should be used when stacking seed bags to prevent them from collapsing and risking the safety of employees and potentially causing them injury.

Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual survey of the average cost of Thanksgiving Dinner found that this year’s feast was down 22 cents from $49.12 to $48.90 for 10, less than $5 per person. The average cost has steadily declined since 2015 and this year’s cost was the lowest since 2010.

AFBF has been conducting the annual survey since 1986. The shopping list for determining cost is based on a traditional Thanksgiving meal which includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk - all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers.

2018 HazWoper Season Wraps-Up

Another successful training year wrapped up this month for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents (HazWoper) Full Course, led by instructors Bill Basham Sr and Billy Basham Jr in LaVergne, TN. Over 240 participants from 32 states were trained using 3600 lbs. of agsorb, 200 lbs. of kitty litter, 16 rolls of duct tape, 97 golf tees and many other unexpected materials. These may sound like an odd combination of materials used along with hands-on training exercises, but the results are eye opening as anyone who's ever attended the course would attest to.

Participants take part in many real life scenarios and problem solving exercises, where they are trained to approach the point of release to plug, patch or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.  They also learn the many valuable skills required to coordinate the scene of a hazardous release.  Upon completion of this one-of-a-kind course, participants earn Technician and Incident Commander Levels credentials.

Registration for the 2019 HazWoper courses is now open. To register, click here.  For more information or questions please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Heads Up: Ammonium Sulfate

Locations that use the fertilizer Ammonium Sulfate should watch out for any talk about considering it a pollutant.  In July 2017, Ammonium Sulfate was listed by the Washington State Department of Ecology as a toxic air pollutant.  Far West Agribusiness Association filed a petition for its removal.  As part of the process to remove it, there will be a public stakeholders meeting on December 10.  Even though this is just for Washington State right now, the idea could move to other states, so you’ll want to keep this on your radar for any signs of spreading.  Click here for additional resources.

Annual Compliance Season Reminder

Every piece of information that is entered into the Asmark system is tracked and linked to a specific facility.  Each account is identified by the facility's physical location.  This is especially important to understand during annual compliance visit season as you are completing the compliance wizard for your facilities. The data being entered, reviewed and confirmed is for the physical location of the facility which you are logged in for.

The "Conditions of Use" page you see each time you login is designed to help ensure you are logging into the correct physical location. This checks and balances is an added measure to help keep you from entering information for a facility that you aren't logged in as. It's never a good feeling when you spend half an hour populating compliance information just to realize you're doing it for the wrong facility.  So before you start filling out the necessary information during your visit, be sure to take an extra second to glance over your facility’s address on the “Conditions of Use” page once you log in to Snapshots.

USPS Proposes Rate Increase

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed raising the price of a first-class stamp by 10% to 55 cents and increasing rates on Parcel Select, a popular option used by Amazon.com Inc. and other shippers by more than 12% as the agency seeks to shore up its finances. The increase on first-class stamps would be the largest on a percentage basis in more than three decades. The prices will be reviewed by postal regulators over the next few weeks. They are proposed to go into effect January 27, 2019.

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.

Season's Greetings!

As we enter into the holiday season, all of us at the Asmark Institute would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. We appreciate the relationship that has been developed between our organizations over the years and especially the opportunity to have worked with you in 2018!

Willard’s Honored with ARA Distinguished Service Award

William F. Willard, Sr. (Billy) and Bob Willard were awarded the Distinguished Service Award by ARA at the 2018 ARA Conference and Expo.  The Willard’s have been a pillar in the ag retail industry since their father De Willard founded Willard Agri-Service in 1970. They operate one of the most highly respected and successful ag retail organizations in the nation.  Although located in the northeast, the Willard’s are known nationally for being the gold standard and raising the bar in our industry, making them truly distinguished.  Congratulations to Billy and Bob for receiving this honor!

Larry Yargus Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award
Our sincerest congratulations to Larry Yargus for being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 ARA Conference and Expo!  Larry is a true leader in our industry and throughout his career has been a champion for ag retailers. His family business, Yargus Manufacturing located in Marshall, IL, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and its major success can be attributed to Larry’s vision, hard work and even the advocacy work he does on behalf of ag retailers. There isn’t a more deserving individual for this award than Larry!

Annual Compliance Visit Reminder: December 31, 2018
As a friendly reminder, please make note of the deadline to have completed your annual compliance visit.

Pirkle Solutions, Inc. Launches

J. Billy Pirkle announced the launch of his new consulting business, Pirkle Solutions, Inc. earlier this month.  Billy retired in October after 28 years serving in leadership roles within EHS&S at IMC Fertilizer, Royster-Clark Inc., Crop Production Services and most recently Nutrien Ag Solutions.  Pirkle Solutions, Inc. will provide expertise in regulatory compliance, operational management and agency interaction to support the crop production industry at all levels of the supply chain.  Billy will continue to serve on the Asmark Institute Board of Directors as he has since 2005.  We congratulate Billy on his new venture and wish him great success as he embarks on this new adventure!

Heads Up: DVD Exchange Underway

Clients should soon be receiving their new DVD Number 2 as part of our annual update and exchange.  Please watch for the package and follow the instructions to complete the exchange by the deadline.  DVD Number 2 includes an updated Worker Protection Standard topic that has been approved by EPA.  The video covers the expanded content that is required to train pesticide handlers beginning December 19, 2018. Our thanks goes to all the farm centers and participants that made this update possible.

Also, included is the second edition of the Legacy Series featuring Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is included by using a custom-made case that features room for a second DVD.  Dustin Warder and Brian Mason, on our video team, have been working with Dr. Whitford to preserve as many of his highly sought-out presentations as possible before he retires sometime down the road.  The preservation and addition of these new topics underscores our commitment to ensuring our clients have access to the best training in the industry.  The new Legacy Series DVD contains four new topics to help support your overall training program.  The topics include:

Don’t Freeze Up
Helps agricultural professionals develop a plan for end-of-season maintenance on spray equipment.  Discusses how to inspect hoses for wear and deterioration.  Shows the process of winterizing spray equipment, including how to choose the right type of antifreeze.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley, Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University and special guest Greg Yoder at the Asmark Applicator Training Center. This is a 42 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Preparing Spray Equipment for Winter Storage and Spring Startup: How Maintenance and Winterization Can Extend the Life of Sprayers and Keep You Working” (PPP No. 121) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

Keep It Pinned
Examines the science to keeping an implement safely connected by a hitch pin to a truck or tractor allowing operators to maintain control of their implements and loads.  Provides a detailed look at hitch pin strength and how to select the right hitch pin for the load.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 34 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “The Tractor Hitch Pin, A Critical Component in Keeping Control of Implements” (PPP No. 094) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

The Flying Clevis
Shows that there is more to extracting stuck equipment than just hooking up and pulling.  Walks through the zones of extraction and forces of resistance.  Examines how to choose the right connecting equipment as well as explaining the difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 40 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Extracting Stuck Equipment Safely - How to Avoid Expensive and Painful Incidents” (PPP No. 098) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

The Shattering Tank
Presents the need for poly tanks to be inspected and maintained to avoid catastrophic failures.  Discusses tank material and design differences for poly tanks.  Shows how to conduct tests with a water soluble marker as well as hitting an empty tank with a baseball bat.  Produced by the Asmark Institute DVD team with host Jeff Nalley and Dr. Fred Whitford of Purdue University.  This is a 28 minute program.  To further enhance your training experience on this topic, click here to obtain a copy of Dr. Whitford’s publication “Poly Tanks For Farms and Businesses” (PPP No. 077) from the Purdue Extension Publications Website.

Instructor Spotlight - Brian Miller

Coming from the ag industry, the number of letters after one’s name is typically not a good indication of a great trainer, but with more than 35 years experience in agriculture, Brian Miller is one of the most well qualified, yet humble trainers we have ever met.  Brian is the lead instructor for the OSHA AG 30 course, one of the most popular Asmark Institute Signature Training courses.  Brian is also the lead instructor for the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Course.  As far as the letters behind his name, Brian was one of the first in the industry to earn the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation.  He is also a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA).  Graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University, Brian began his career with Crop Production Services (CPS) in 1983.  Starting as a Crop Consultant, he worked his way up to farm center manager and later took the role of supporting other CPS farm centers in EH&S, which included compliance auditing.  In 2000, he transferred to the role of Environmental Auditing Manager where he was in charge of the Agrium Retail Auditing Program for over 400 retail locations in 30 states.

Brian retired in 2016 and started his own company, Miller Risk Management.  The term retired is used very loosely, as Brian probably works just as hard now as he did with his corporate position.  Brian has a special gift when it comes to teaching auditing or OSHA AG-30.  There is a human side to helping people understand the rules, especially when it comes to auditing.  Brian turns stories from his past experiences into teachable moments.  This personal, but very accurate approach is what separates him from most other trainers.  Brian is a member of the Croplife Ambassadors Network, which takes him as a volunteer to speaking engagements for elementary students on the topic of agriculture.  When he’s not teaching, performing audits, or volunteering, Brian enjoys working on his farm and spending time with his family.  Brian and Marie have been married for 19 years and have five children (four boys and a girl).  One of Brian’s claims to fame is that he was once sat on by a camel.  So if you wish to meet the man under the camel and hear more about this story and many more, we encourage you to register for one of the OSHA AG 30 courses and meet Brian for yourself.

Court Breaks Delay of RMP Changes

In 2017, rule changes to the EPA Risk Management Program (RMP) were delayed by legal wrangling. A recent DC Court decision made some of the changes effective immediately. The changes that became effective immediately are as follows. Portions of the changes that EPA is proposing to revise are not included in the list below.

Emergency Coordination
  • Facility must coordinate at least annually with LEPC and document activities.
  • Facility must provide LEPC with: 
    • emergency response plan, if one exists,
    • emergency action plan,
    • emergency contact information, and
    • any other pertinent information. 
Emergency Response Program
  • Reinforces need to inform Federal and state emergency response agencies about accidental releases.
  • Reinforces need to review and update emergency response plan.
  • Reinforces need to inform employees of the changes to the emergency response plan.
Prevention Program
  • Include findings from incident investigations in the Hazard Review.
  • Employee training requirements also apply to supervisors.
  • Compliance Audits must be conducted for each covered process at least every three years.
Incident Investigation Reports, previously called summaries, are required even when a catastrophic release results in the affected process being decommissioned. The phrase “near miss” was added to describe incidents that could reasonably have resulted in a catastrophic release. Incident Investigation Reports must be completed within 12 months of the incident. The content of the report has been expanded significantly.

Process Safety Information - Program 3
  • Reinforces need to keep process safety information up-to-date.
Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) - Program 3
  • Include findings from incident investigations in the Process Hazard Analysis, as well as any other potential failure scenarios.
Note: We are working on plans to roll out updates next year. One update will be to include documentation of the Compliance Audit by process. Also, expect added features to the emergency plan suitable for distribution to emergency responders and additions to the Incident Investigation Report. By the time the 2019 annual compliance season rolls around we will have tools to help you comply with these new requirements.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,254 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Walking and Working Surfaces Deadline: Fixed Ladders

Part of OSHA’s Walking and Working Surfaces (WWS) rule includes requirements for fall protection to be incorporated into ladders over 24 feet tall.  After November 19, 2018 all new fixed ladders must include a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system.  In the past, fixed ladders over 20 feet were required to have a safety cage.  The cage itself being considered the fall protection for those ladders under the previous rule.  Cages alone are no longer considered fall protection.

Start complying today and your path towards complying with the WWS will be a lot easier and the expense can be broken down over a number of years.  As existing fixed ladders need repair or replacement, upgrade by installing the required personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system.  By November 19, 2036 all fixed ladders over 24 feet with cages must have a ladder climbing device or personal fall arrest system installed.  While this may seem like a long way out right now, we recommend you begin incorporating these changes into your repair, maintenance and construction projects rather than waiting to do them all at the last minute.

Watch for EPA's Reminder on Pesticide-Production Reports

EPA has sent their reminder on PPRs and we want to remind you that if any of your locations receive this email from EPA, please assure them that there is no action required on their part. What EPA is sending is simply a reminder to complete your Annual Pesticides Report for Pesticide Producing Establishments. We will file your annual report with EPA ahead of the March 1, 2018 deadline and send you a copy with tracking documentation to verify receipt. If you or your facilities have any questions, please contact Tiffany at 270-926-4600 Ext. 209 or tiffany@asmark.org.

Missouri Farmer Charged in Dicamba Indictment

A Missouri farmer from Parma, has been accused of providing false documentation and making false statements about his use of dicamba when the Missouri Department of Agriculture investigated crop damage reported by several neighboring farmers in June 2016.  The federal indictment against the farmer alleges 49 instances of misapplication of a pesticide, a false statement and three acts of obstruction of justice.  "Although weed killers like dicamba have been around for decades, it is critical that applicators follow manufacturer instructions when applying them," EPA agent Jeffrey Martinez said in a statement. "The misuse of this product has resulted in significant crop damage at neighboring farms."  If found guilty, the farmer faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Bulk Bag Safety

Bulk bag storage of seed increases this time of year, so it is especially important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for properly stacking bulk bags.  One suggestion that was recently discussed in our OSHA AG-30 class was to put a piece of plywood between bags when direct stacking is allowed.  Never allow an employee to position themselves between bags or rows of bags.

Bags should be stacked as straight as possible and forklift operators should be trained on the proper way to stack bulk bags.  If placing bulk bags on racks, be sure not to exceed the load capacity of the rack.  If bags are leaning, isolate the area to keep employees away until they can be safely restacked.  Maintain plenty of space between stacked bags and door or high-traffic areas as bags may shift and collapse.  Bottom-line is caution should be used when stacking seed bags to prevent them from collapsing and risking the safety of employees and potentially causing them injury.

Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual survey of the average cost of Thanksgiving Dinner found that this year’s feast was down 22 cents from $49.12 to $48.90 for 10, less than $5 per person. The average cost has steadily declined since 2015 and this year’s cost was the lowest since 2010.

AFBF has been conducting the annual survey since 1986. The shopping list for determining cost is based on a traditional Thanksgiving meal which includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk - all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty of leftovers.

2018 HazWoper Season Wraps-Up

Another successful training year wrapped up this month for the Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents (HazWoper) Full Course, led by instructors Bill Basham Sr and Billy Basham Jr in LaVergne, TN. Over 240 participants from 32 states were trained using 3600 lbs. of agsorb, 200 lbs. of kitty litter, 16 rolls of duct tape, 97 golf tees and many other unexpected materials. These may sound like an odd combination of materials used along with hands-on training exercises, but the results are eye opening as anyone who's ever attended the course would attest to.

Participants take part in many real life scenarios and problem solving exercises, where they are trained to approach the point of release to plug, patch or otherwise stop the release of a hazardous substance.  They also learn the many valuable skills required to coordinate the scene of a hazardous release.  Upon completion of this one-of-a-kind course, participants earn Technician and Incident Commander Levels credentials.

Registration for the 2019 HazWoper courses is now open. To register, click here.  For more information or questions please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Heads Up: Ammonium Sulfate

Locations that use the fertilizer Ammonium Sulfate should watch out for any talk about considering it a pollutant.  In July 2017, Ammonium Sulfate was listed by the Washington State Department of Ecology as a toxic air pollutant.  Far West Agribusiness Association filed a petition for its removal.  As part of the process to remove it, there will be a public stakeholders meeting on December 10.  Even though this is just for Washington State right now, the idea could move to other states, so you’ll want to keep this on your radar for any signs of spreading.  Click here for additional resources.

Annual Compliance Season Reminder

Every piece of information that is entered into the Asmark system is tracked and linked to a specific facility.  Each account is identified by the facility's physical location.  This is especially important to understand during annual compliance visit season as you are completing the compliance wizard for your facilities. The data being entered, reviewed and confirmed is for the physical location of the facility which you are logged in for.

The "Conditions of Use" page you see each time you login is designed to help ensure you are logging into the correct physical location. This checks and balances is an added measure to help keep you from entering information for a facility that you aren't logged in as. It's never a good feeling when you spend half an hour populating compliance information just to realize you're doing it for the wrong facility.  So before you start filling out the necessary information during your visit, be sure to take an extra second to glance over your facility’s address on the “Conditions of Use” page once you log in to Snapshots.

USPS Proposes Rate Increase

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed raising the price of a first-class stamp by 10% to 55 cents and increasing rates on Parcel Select, a popular option used by Amazon.com Inc. and other shippers by more than 12% as the agency seeks to shore up its finances. The increase on first-class stamps would be the largest on a percentage basis in more than three decades. The prices will be reviewed by postal regulators over the next few weeks. They are proposed to go into effect January 27, 2019.

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.