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Newsletter
Volume 183
February 1, 2019

Gary Grant Retires from Ohio Valley Ag

We extend our heartiest congratulations to Gary Grant on his recent retirement from Ohio Valley Ag!  Gary was instrumental in helping us to build and develop Asmark Institute's Ammonia Technician Course. In fact, Gary was the course instructor when the course was held in Owensboro, KY before being moved to Bloomington, IL in 2012.  Gary's career spanned over three decades with Ohio Valley Ag and he has been a tremendous resource to our industry.  We wish Gary the very best in his retirement!

Pesticide Production Report Update

Reminder: Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients. All clients' reports are currently out for proof and should be returned as soon as possible. Tiffany is responsible for this process and can be contacted at tiffany@asmark.org or by phone at 270-926-4600, Ext 209. Plans are to file all annual reports on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by the March 1st deadline. For the third year, we will utilize the CDX system to electronically file all reports. We have worked closely with U.S. EPA to help develop this system over the past few years.

Encamp SARA Tier II Report Submissions

The number one request we’ve received over the years during reporting season is, “Can you please file my Tier II report for me?” Over the past several years more and more states have switched their submission processes to be electronic, opening the door to make it possible for us to help with the submission process.  Last year, the Asmark Institute entered into a unique partnership with Encamp, a leading provider of SARA Tier II software submission technology. Through that partnership, Asmark is able to utilize Encamp’s report submission technology to submit our client's SARA Tier II Report to:
  • The State
  • The LEPC
  • The Fire Department
The data for the SARA report is gathered as usual during the annual compliance visit using the compliance wizard, proofed by both the facility and Asmark Institute personnel and then transmitted to Encamp for submission to the appropriate authorities.  The cost per facility for this service is $47.50, unless it has 2 or less products reported, which reduces the fee to $27.50.  Encamp worked with us to significantly reduce their standard filing fee based on volume. For states that have a fee structure, Encamp will pay those fees when submitting, while grouping submissions by company to reduce state fees when possible. Encamp will then pass all fees on to Asmark which will show up on each location’s monthly invoice.

The Encamp Submission process is being rolled out over a three year period, starting with the states that cause the most difficulty for our clients to report.

For 2018 (Year One), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients in the following states:

Delaware Illinois Indiana
Louisiana Massachusetts Maryland
Michigan Minnesota Nevada
Ohio Pennsylvania Texas
Wisconsin West Virginia
Encamp Rollout
For 2019 (Year Two), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients above and including the following states:

Arkansas Arizona Colorado
Connecticut Hawaii Iowa
Idaho Kansas Kentucky
Maine Missouri North Dakota
Nebraska New Jersey New Mexico
Oklahoma South Dakota Utah
Virginia Vermont Washington
Wyoming

For 2020 (Year Three), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients above and including the following states:

Alabama Florida Georgia
Mississippi New York North Carolina
South Carolina Tennessee

For those who are not in Encamp Year One submission states: As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with; however, the penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the upcoming deadline. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report will have received either a Master Report and/or a Zip File to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or the packet of traditional hard copies to be signed, certified and submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.

Note: We will once again ask that you send us a file copy of your Tier II documentation filed with the State. We review the documentation for completeness, then scan and archive the final version on Snapshots. We provide this extra level of service because we find that more than 20% of the reports have never been acknowledged by the State - so the facility believes they have submitted when the State doesn't have any record of it.  Facilities that are in Encamp Year One submission states will receive a file copy of what was submitted by Encamp for their records and a copy will be posted in Snapshots Archives as well.

OSHA REP Mock Inspection Video Released

OSHA, the Fertilizer Institute (TFI), Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and ResponsibleAg recently collaborated on creating and producing a video to help ag retailers prepare for OSHA's new Regional Emphasis Program (REP).   Released this week, the video which was shot on site at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY where ResponsibleAg Auditor training is conducted, is designed to explain the OSHA inspection process for those who haven't had one in the past. Click here to watch the video.  Click here to read more about OSHA's REP.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,135 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A

It's time to complete your 2018 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted.  Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form.  A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.

New for 2019:  OSHA has eliminated the requirement for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301 but has retained the requirement for companies of certain sizes to submit the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).  All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit Form 300A no later than March 2, as well as, establishments between 20-249 employees in certain industries, including "warehousing and storage."  One new requirement is that covered employers must submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This will make the data more useful to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tabulates an annual summary of US employee injuries and fatalities.

Instructor Spotlight - John Rebholz

With a career spanning more than three decades, John Rebholz’s philosophy in working with retailers and operators has always been that if he does a good job educating, there would be less reason to regulate. After serving 28 years with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, John accepted a position with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) as the Director of Safety and Education.  Shortly thereafter, he became the lead instructor for the Asmark Institute's Ammonia Technician Course and Nurse Tank “CT” Inspection Course (NTIP).

As a young boy, John grew up in Chatsworth, Illinois, a small farming community in Central Illinois.  He earned a B.S. in Agriculture Education from Southern Illinois University, where he met Anita, his wife of thirty years.  They have two adult children, son Eric and daughter Elana.  His first job out of college was working for an ag retailer in Northern Illinois, where he loaded and delivered anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks.  In 1988, John accepted a position with the IL Department of Ag as a Plant and Pesticide Specialist.  During this time he inspected and regulated anhydrous ammonia storage facilities, nurse tanks and application equipment.

John is well-versed on OSHA regulations that impact agrichemical facilities, and has been recognized throughout the Midwest for his work on anhydrous ammonia installations and mobile equipment.  He has always had a solid reputation for assisting the ag community and he continued to show his dedication when he traveled north across the border into Canada to learn more about their regulations.  He has taught several classes geared specifically to helping Canadian clients with their own unique set of regulations.

John is passionate about his job and the people he encounters.  He recently stated, “I have really enjoyed meeting ag retailers from all over the U.S. and Canada who attend the ATC and NTIP courses.  The one thing they all have in common is they have a great work ethic and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.”  You will often find people seek out John and want to interact with him, hoping to ask for advice and share in his expertise. Agriculture has played a huge role in John’s life, which is evident in his collection of vintage signs from all across the industry.  When John isn’t working, he can be found supporting the Chicago Cubs, Southern Illinois University (Saluki) basketball or playing golf.

Experienced Applicator Training - Don't Delay, Register Today!

The Asmark Institute and AGCO Corporation have teamed up to offer a second new training course designed to help experienced applicators become the most professional applicators possible.  Not to be confused with the 4-day course for beginners, this new 2-day course is designed specifically for applicators with three or more years of experience, and is dedicated to continuing the development and education of professional applicators.  This cutting edge course is led by Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, who have a combined total of 90 years of experience in the field.  Both instructors started their careers as professional applicators and bring a wealth of knowledge to the course.

This course is essentially a refresher and “re-boot” experience for seasoned applicators. Over the past two decades, operators have developed skills limited to certain products such as glyphosate.  Currently, we are entering an era of prescription weed control, where every field could require a different tank mix to control pesticide-resistant weeds.  Applicators need to be armed with all the skills and knowledge possible to perform their duties as a professional applicator.  This course will cover the following topics and help provide the tools necessary to accomplish this.
Topics Covered
 
  • Weed Identification
  • Assessing Each Field
  • Safety on the Road
  • Maintenance
  • Understanding Product Labels
  • Field Math
  • Measurements
  • Calibration - Liquid and Dry
  • New Chemistry & Challenges
  • Difference in Tank Additives
  • Drift Management Options & Strategies
  • Tank Cleanout
  • Recordkeeping
  • Tabletop Scenarios
 
The Experienced Applicator Training course is a very hands-on course held in a classroom filled with scenarios, demonstrations and exercises.  During the 2-day course participants will learn and build upon their experience to become proficient in the skills required of a professional applicator.  Each part of the course builds the participants' knowledge-base and over the progression of the two days, creates a comprehensive thought process.  To learn more about the new course and to register, click here. Seats are filling up fast so don't delay, register today while there's still time!

Second Asmark University Course Scheduled

The Asmark Institute has scheduled its second Asmark University course for March 12 - 14, 2019. Launched in 2018, this 3-day course was developed to provide participants with a better understanding of how our system works. The course is designed for EHS&S professionals with responsibilities for locations and State Association personnel with member service responsibilities that include providing help on regulatory issues. After graduation, students will be prepared to support each location they are responsible for as they use the Institute’s system, multiplying their efforts and increasing their efficiency. Throughout the course, discovering newfound synergies will be inevitable, resulting in quicker turnarounds and happier clients.

Literally every employee of the Asmark Institute is involved in teaching this truly interactive course. Each employee, known as “professors,” will alternate between the website and any of the more than fifty databases used throughout the system providing students with a good understanding of each process. Using New Hire Kits as an example, students will benefit from being able to see the information for a new hire entered into the website and follow it through the complete process until finished - led by the staff responsible for each step along the way.

Risk management is an area where knowledge is crucial. Knowledge means understanding your resources so thoroughly that you are able to help any client when they need it. Asmark University is designed to provide a wider knowledge that is more in-depth. The possibilities are limitless as to how this course could be used in the future. For more information about the course click here.

Consolidation Chart Updated to Reflect 2018

Accurately tracking the consolidation within ag retail is challenging, but thanks to CropLife magazine's Top 100 list, along with hours of research, the Consolidation Chart has been updated to visually portray its heritage. Initially released in 2011, the chart includes all the mergers/acquisitions among CropLife 100 retailers that have taken place since 1984. To view a full version of this poster, please click here. For more information, contact Donna at 270-926-4600 Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.

CFATS Program Extended 15 Months

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was set to expire this month but has been extended for an additional 15 months.  The extension makes no program changes but provides time for Congress to work on a long term reauthorization and to include reforms to the program such as the recognition of industry stewardship programs like ResponsibleAg.  The extension authorizes the program through April 18, 2020.

Handmade Handi-Plans: From Our Hands to Yours

As annual compliance visits have wrapped up, the production of 2019 Handi-Plans are well underway.  A team of five employees made up of Morgan, Patricia, Mandy, Brittany and Joann, are busy printing, collating, binding, crimping and packaging, with several proofing processes in between each step to ensure product quality.  Over 16,000 Handi-Plans are printed and produced from November to March.  Click here to watch how Handi-Plans are made.

An emergency can strike at any time, so we developed this very concise, colorful and extremely handy emergency plan, designed specifically for your facilities.  Always handy - hence the name - they are designed to hang near a phone, exit or even be kept in a vehicle, so they are readily available in case of an emergency.  The “flip chart” format provides quick and easy navigation.  Underestimating the importance of emergency preparedness can have devastating effects on a business, which is why we take extra care when creating Handi-Plans customized for your facility!

Congratulations to the 2019 4R Advocates

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently named five retailer and farmer pairs as 4R Advocates for 2019.  Our congratulations go out to these duos who demonstrated implementation of innovative and sustainable 4R fertilizer management practices on the farm to increase agriculture production while reducing environmental impact.

The 2019 Advocates are Dustin Grooms, Plant City, FL and Jerrod Parker - Chemical Dynamics, Inc., Plant City, FL; Michael Ganschow, Walnut, IL and Malcolm Stambaugh - AgView FS, Walnut, IL; Danny Basham, Jr., Madisonville, KY and Phillip Osborn - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Clay, KY; Jonathan Quinn, Warwick, MD and Kenny Glenn - Southern States Cooperative, Middletown, DE; and Brian Herbek, Deweese, NE and Bill Nejezchleb - Fairfield Non Stock Coop, Fairfield, NE.   Asmark Institute clients are denoted in red.  The 4R Advocates will be honored in March during a ceremony at the Commodity Classic. To learn more about TFI's 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program, click here.

USPS and UPS Rates Continue to Rise

The Postal Service implemented a postage rate increase on Sunday, January 27, 2019. There are a number of products and services affected by the rate increase but the most commonly used services in our industry are listed below:
  • First-Class Mail Letter rate increased from $0.50 to $0.55 for a 1 oz. envelope.  The rate for each additional ounce is $0.15, down from $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Flat Envelope rate remained the same at $1.00 for a 1 oz. envelope.  The rate for each additional ounce is $0.15, down from $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Postcard rate remained the same at $0.35.
As usual, the United Parcel Service increased its prices by 4.9% toward the end of 2018.  UPS is known for increasing their rates about this much on an annual basis.

With the North American paper industry in rapid decline and the cost of mailing and shipping rates increasing every year, there is no better time than now to sign up for the Electronic Service Program (ESP). Click here to review the ESP program and sign up today!

States Get the Word Out on Dicamba Training

If you plan to use dicamba products this spring, make sure you are familiar with any additional state restrictions and receive updated training.  State changes for the 2019 growing season could include larger buffer zones, cutoff dates, new record-keeping rules and state-specific training requirements.  Make plans today to attend a dicamba training session in your area.  For a fast start, click on the state of your choice Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin.

OSHA Issues Citations Related to Grain Bin Entry

OSHA has cited a Nebraska company for failing to develop and implement safety and health programs related to grain bin entry after an employee suffered fatal injuries.  OSHA inspectors determined that an operating sweep auger lacerated an employee’s leg as he attempted to remove corn from inside a grain bin.  OSHA cited the company for eight serious violations of the grain bin safety standard, and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality within the required eight hours.

“Mechanical equipment inside grain storage structures present serious hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Area Office Acting Director Matthew Thurlby, in Omaha.  “This employer’s failure to follow safety requirements led to a tragedy that could have been prevented.”  The company faces penalties totaling $78,899.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2018

Preliminary data for OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations for fiscal year 2018 was announced at the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Houston, Texas.  The list is always a good place to start to identify hazards in the workplace.  It was largely unchanged from last year, with the only new item being Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection coming in at number 10.
  1. Fall Protection (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  6. Ladders (1926.1053)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection - Training Requirements (1926.503)
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  10. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)

EPA Transitions from Enforcement to Compliance Initiatives

Recognizing the need to focus resources to achieve environmental law compliance, EPA is transitioning from National Enforcement Initiatives (NEIs) to National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs).  NEIs have always focused on improving compliance and reducing pollution, and have often used not only enforcement actions but also compliance assistance and compliance alerts.  The transition to NCIs better conveys the message that increased compliance is the goal and enforcement actions are not the only tool for achieving the goal.  For 2019, the NCI priorities are:
  • Keeping industrial pollutant out of the nation’s waters.
  • Preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and ground water.
  • Keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of our nation’s waters.
  • Reducing air pollution from the largest sources.
  • Reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.
  • Cutting Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).
  • Ensuring energy extraction activities comply with environmental laws.
  • Reducing toxic air emissions from hazardous waste facilities.

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.

Gary Grant Retires from Ohio Valley Ag

We extend our heartiest congratulations to Gary Grant on his recent retirement from Ohio Valley Ag!  Gary was instrumental in helping us to build and develop Asmark Institute's Ammonia Technician Course. In fact, Gary was the course instructor when the course was held in Owensboro, KY before being moved to Bloomington, IL in 2012.  Gary's career spanned over three decades with Ohio Valley Ag and he has been a tremendous resource to our industry.  We wish Gary the very best in his retirement!

Pesticide Production Report Update

Reminder: Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt of the Pesticide Production Report by U.S. EPA for each of our clients. All clients' reports are currently out for proof and should be returned as soon as possible. Tiffany is responsible for this process and can be contacted at tiffany@asmark.org or by phone at 270-926-4600, Ext 209. Plans are to file all annual reports on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by the March 1st deadline. For the third year, we will utilize the CDX system to electronically file all reports. We have worked closely with U.S. EPA to help develop this system over the past few years.

Encamp SARA Tier II Report Submissions

The number one request we’ve received over the years during reporting season is, “Can you please file my Tier II report for me?” Over the past several years more and more states have switched their submission processes to be electronic, opening the door to make it possible for us to help with the submission process.  Last year, the Asmark Institute entered into a unique partnership with Encamp, a leading provider of SARA Tier II software submission technology. Through that partnership, Asmark is able to utilize Encamp’s report submission technology to submit our client's SARA Tier II Report to:
  • The State
  • The LEPC
  • The Fire Department
The data for the SARA report is gathered as usual during the annual compliance visit using the compliance wizard, proofed by both the facility and Asmark Institute personnel and then transmitted to Encamp for submission to the appropriate authorities.  The cost per facility for this service is $47.50, unless it has 2 or less products reported, which reduces the fee to $27.50.  Encamp worked with us to significantly reduce their standard filing fee based on volume. For states that have a fee structure, Encamp will pay those fees when submitting, while grouping submissions by company to reduce state fees when possible. Encamp will then pass all fees on to Asmark which will show up on each location’s monthly invoice.

The Encamp Submission process is being rolled out over a three year period, starting with the states that cause the most difficulty for our clients to report.

For 2018 (Year One), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients in the following states:

Delaware Illinois Indiana
Louisiana Massachusetts Maryland
Michigan Minnesota Nevada
Ohio Pennsylvania Texas
Wisconsin West Virginia
Encamp Rollout
For 2019 (Year Two), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients above and including the following states:

Arkansas Arizona Colorado
Connecticut Hawaii Iowa
Idaho Kansas Kentucky
Maine Missouri North Dakota
Nebraska New Jersey New Mexico
Oklahoma South Dakota Utah
Virginia Vermont Washington
Wyoming

For 2020 (Year Three), Encamp will submit all SARA Tier II reports for our clients above and including the following states:

Alabama Florida Georgia
Mississippi New York North Carolina
South Carolina Tennessee

For those who are not in Encamp Year One submission states: As a reminder worth mentioning, SARA Tier II submissions are due on March 1st. These are annual requirements that most retailers are familiar with; however, the penalties have become quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the upcoming deadline. Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report will have received either a Master Report and/or a Zip File to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or the packet of traditional hard copies to be signed, certified and submitted to their State Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Commission and Fire Department. Don't forget to follow your state's instructions to pay any applicable fees.

Note: We will once again ask that you send us a file copy of your Tier II documentation filed with the State. We review the documentation for completeness, then scan and archive the final version on Snapshots. We provide this extra level of service because we find that more than 20% of the reports have never been acknowledged by the State - so the facility believes they have submitted when the State doesn't have any record of it.  Facilities that are in Encamp Year One submission states will receive a file copy of what was submitted by Encamp for their records and a copy will be posted in Snapshots Archives as well.

OSHA REP Mock Inspection Video Released

OSHA, the Fertilizer Institute (TFI), Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and ResponsibleAg recently collaborated on creating and producing a video to help ag retailers prepare for OSHA's new Regional Emphasis Program (REP).   Released this week, the video which was shot on site at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY where ResponsibleAg Auditor training is conducted, is designed to explain the OSHA inspection process for those who haven't had one in the past. Click here to watch the video.  Click here to read more about OSHA's REP.

It's Time to Register With ResponsibleAg

More than 2,500 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program, with 1,135 facilities already receiving their certification. We encourage you to register your facilities today! For more information and to register, go to: www.responsibleag.org

Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A

It's time to complete your 2018 injury and illness recordkeeping obligations by posting the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A). OSHA requires that the notice be displayed from February 1st to April 30th of each year in a conspicuous place where employee notices are customarily posted.  Businesses with no injuries or illnesses for the year must still post the form.  A company official must certify the information in Form 300A was examined and is believed to be correct and complete. Click here to access the form and instructions.

New for 2019:  OSHA has eliminated the requirement for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301 but has retained the requirement for companies of certain sizes to submit the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).  All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit Form 300A no later than March 2, as well as, establishments between 20-249 employees in certain industries, including "warehousing and storage."  One new requirement is that covered employers must submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This will make the data more useful to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tabulates an annual summary of US employee injuries and fatalities.

Instructor Spotlight - John Rebholz

With a career spanning more than three decades, John Rebholz’s philosophy in working with retailers and operators has always been that if he does a good job educating, there would be less reason to regulate. After serving 28 years with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, John accepted a position with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) as the Director of Safety and Education.  Shortly thereafter, he became the lead instructor for the Asmark Institute's Ammonia Technician Course and Nurse Tank “CT” Inspection Course (NTIP).

As a young boy, John grew up in Chatsworth, Illinois, a small farming community in Central Illinois.  He earned a B.S. in Agriculture Education from Southern Illinois University, where he met Anita, his wife of thirty years.  They have two adult children, son Eric and daughter Elana.  His first job out of college was working for an ag retailer in Northern Illinois, where he loaded and delivered anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks.  In 1988, John accepted a position with the IL Department of Ag as a Plant and Pesticide Specialist.  During this time he inspected and regulated anhydrous ammonia storage facilities, nurse tanks and application equipment.

John is well-versed on OSHA regulations that impact agrichemical facilities, and has been recognized throughout the Midwest for his work on anhydrous ammonia installations and mobile equipment.  He has always had a solid reputation for assisting the ag community and he continued to show his dedication when he traveled north across the border into Canada to learn more about their regulations.  He has taught several classes geared specifically to helping Canadian clients with their own unique set of regulations.

John is passionate about his job and the people he encounters.  He recently stated, “I have really enjoyed meeting ag retailers from all over the U.S. and Canada who attend the ATC and NTIP courses.  The one thing they all have in common is they have a great work ethic and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.”  You will often find people seek out John and want to interact with him, hoping to ask for advice and share in his expertise. Agriculture has played a huge role in John’s life, which is evident in his collection of vintage signs from all across the industry.  When John isn’t working, he can be found supporting the Chicago Cubs, Southern Illinois University (Saluki) basketball or playing golf.

Experienced Applicator Training - Don't Delay, Register Today!

The Asmark Institute and AGCO Corporation have teamed up to offer a second new training course designed to help experienced applicators become the most professional applicators possible.  Not to be confused with the 4-day course for beginners, this new 2-day course is designed specifically for applicators with three or more years of experience, and is dedicated to continuing the development and education of professional applicators.  This cutting edge course is led by Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, who have a combined total of 90 years of experience in the field.  Both instructors started their careers as professional applicators and bring a wealth of knowledge to the course.

This course is essentially a refresher and “re-boot” experience for seasoned applicators. Over the past two decades, operators have developed skills limited to certain products such as glyphosate.  Currently, we are entering an era of prescription weed control, where every field could require a different tank mix to control pesticide-resistant weeds.  Applicators need to be armed with all the skills and knowledge possible to perform their duties as a professional applicator.  This course will cover the following topics and help provide the tools necessary to accomplish this.
Topics Covered
 
  • Weed Identification
  • Assessing Each Field
  • Safety on the Road
  • Maintenance
  • Understanding Product Labels
  • Field Math
  • Measurements
  • Calibration - Liquid and Dry
  • New Chemistry & Challenges
  • Difference in Tank Additives
  • Drift Management Options & Strategies
  • Tank Cleanout
  • Recordkeeping
  • Tabletop Scenarios
 
The Experienced Applicator Training course is a very hands-on course held in a classroom filled with scenarios, demonstrations and exercises.  During the 2-day course participants will learn and build upon their experience to become proficient in the skills required of a professional applicator.  Each part of the course builds the participants' knowledge-base and over the progression of the two days, creates a comprehensive thought process.  To learn more about the new course and to register, click here. Seats are filling up fast so don't delay, register today while there's still time!

Second Asmark University Course Scheduled

The Asmark Institute has scheduled its second Asmark University course for March 12 - 14, 2019. Launched in 2018, this 3-day course was developed to provide participants with a better understanding of how our system works. The course is designed for EHS&S professionals with responsibilities for locations and State Association personnel with member service responsibilities that include providing help on regulatory issues. After graduation, students will be prepared to support each location they are responsible for as they use the Institute’s system, multiplying their efforts and increasing their efficiency. Throughout the course, discovering newfound synergies will be inevitable, resulting in quicker turnarounds and happier clients.

Literally every employee of the Asmark Institute is involved in teaching this truly interactive course. Each employee, known as “professors,” will alternate between the website and any of the more than fifty databases used throughout the system providing students with a good understanding of each process. Using New Hire Kits as an example, students will benefit from being able to see the information for a new hire entered into the website and follow it through the complete process until finished - led by the staff responsible for each step along the way.

Risk management is an area where knowledge is crucial. Knowledge means understanding your resources so thoroughly that you are able to help any client when they need it. Asmark University is designed to provide a wider knowledge that is more in-depth. The possibilities are limitless as to how this course could be used in the future. For more information about the course click here.

Consolidation Chart Updated to Reflect 2018

Accurately tracking the consolidation within ag retail is challenging, but thanks to CropLife magazine's Top 100 list, along with hours of research, the Consolidation Chart has been updated to visually portray its heritage. Initially released in 2011, the chart includes all the mergers/acquisitions among CropLife 100 retailers that have taken place since 1984. To view a full version of this poster, please click here. For more information, contact Donna at 270-926-4600 Ext 205 or by email at donna@asmark.org.

CFATS Program Extended 15 Months

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program was set to expire this month but has been extended for an additional 15 months.  The extension makes no program changes but provides time for Congress to work on a long term reauthorization and to include reforms to the program such as the recognition of industry stewardship programs like ResponsibleAg.  The extension authorizes the program through April 18, 2020.

Handmade Handi-Plans: From Our Hands to Yours

As annual compliance visits have wrapped up, the production of 2019 Handi-Plans are well underway.  A team of five employees made up of Morgan, Patricia, Mandy, Brittany and Joann, are busy printing, collating, binding, crimping and packaging, with several proofing processes in between each step to ensure product quality.  Over 16,000 Handi-Plans are printed and produced from November to March.  Click here to watch how Handi-Plans are made.

An emergency can strike at any time, so we developed this very concise, colorful and extremely handy emergency plan, designed specifically for your facilities.  Always handy - hence the name - they are designed to hang near a phone, exit or even be kept in a vehicle, so they are readily available in case of an emergency.  The “flip chart” format provides quick and easy navigation.  Underestimating the importance of emergency preparedness can have devastating effects on a business, which is why we take extra care when creating Handi-Plans customized for your facility!

Congratulations to the 2019 4R Advocates

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently named five retailer and farmer pairs as 4R Advocates for 2019.  Our congratulations go out to these duos who demonstrated implementation of innovative and sustainable 4R fertilizer management practices on the farm to increase agriculture production while reducing environmental impact.

The 2019 Advocates are Dustin Grooms, Plant City, FL and Jerrod Parker - Chemical Dynamics, Inc., Plant City, FL; Michael Ganschow, Walnut, IL and Malcolm Stambaugh - AgView FS, Walnut, IL; Danny Basham, Jr., Madisonville, KY and Phillip Osborn - Nutrien Ag Solutions, Clay, KY; Jonathan Quinn, Warwick, MD and Kenny Glenn - Southern States Cooperative, Middletown, DE; and Brian Herbek, Deweese, NE and Bill Nejezchleb - Fairfield Non Stock Coop, Fairfield, NE.   Asmark Institute clients are denoted in red.  The 4R Advocates will be honored in March during a ceremony at the Commodity Classic. To learn more about TFI's 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program, click here.

USPS and UPS Rates Continue to Rise

The Postal Service implemented a postage rate increase on Sunday, January 27, 2019. There are a number of products and services affected by the rate increase but the most commonly used services in our industry are listed below:
  • First-Class Mail Letter rate increased from $0.50 to $0.55 for a 1 oz. envelope.  The rate for each additional ounce is $0.15, down from $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Flat Envelope rate remained the same at $1.00 for a 1 oz. envelope.  The rate for each additional ounce is $0.15, down from $0.21.
  • First Class Mail Postcard rate remained the same at $0.35.
As usual, the United Parcel Service increased its prices by 4.9% toward the end of 2018.  UPS is known for increasing their rates about this much on an annual basis.

With the North American paper industry in rapid decline and the cost of mailing and shipping rates increasing every year, there is no better time than now to sign up for the Electronic Service Program (ESP). Click here to review the ESP program and sign up today!

States Get the Word Out on Dicamba Training

If you plan to use dicamba products this spring, make sure you are familiar with any additional state restrictions and receive updated training.  State changes for the 2019 growing season could include larger buffer zones, cutoff dates, new record-keeping rules and state-specific training requirements.  Make plans today to attend a dicamba training session in your area.  For a fast start, click on the state of your choice Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin.

OSHA Issues Citations Related to Grain Bin Entry

OSHA has cited a Nebraska company for failing to develop and implement safety and health programs related to grain bin entry after an employee suffered fatal injuries.  OSHA inspectors determined that an operating sweep auger lacerated an employee’s leg as he attempted to remove corn from inside a grain bin.  OSHA cited the company for eight serious violations of the grain bin safety standard, and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality within the required eight hours.

“Mechanical equipment inside grain storage structures present serious hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Area Office Acting Director Matthew Thurlby, in Omaha.  “This employer’s failure to follow safety requirements led to a tragedy that could have been prevented.”  The company faces penalties totaling $78,899.

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2018

Preliminary data for OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations for fiscal year 2018 was announced at the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Houston, Texas.  The list is always a good place to start to identify hazards in the workplace.  It was largely unchanged from last year, with the only new item being Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection coming in at number 10.
  1. Fall Protection (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  6. Ladders (1926.1053)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection - Training Requirements (1926.503)
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  10. Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment - Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)

EPA Transitions from Enforcement to Compliance Initiatives

Recognizing the need to focus resources to achieve environmental law compliance, EPA is transitioning from National Enforcement Initiatives (NEIs) to National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs).  NEIs have always focused on improving compliance and reducing pollution, and have often used not only enforcement actions but also compliance assistance and compliance alerts.  The transition to NCIs better conveys the message that increased compliance is the goal and enforcement actions are not the only tool for achieving the goal.  For 2019, the NCI priorities are:
  • Keeping industrial pollutant out of the nation’s waters.
  • Preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and ground water.
  • Keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of our nation’s waters.
  • Reducing air pollution from the largest sources.
  • Reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.
  • Cutting Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).
  • Ensuring energy extraction activities comply with environmental laws.
  • Reducing toxic air emissions from hazardous waste facilities.

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.