International Clients
Australia
Canada
South America
×
<
 
List
 
>
Newsletter
Volume 191
October 1, 2019

Happy Retirement Wishes to the "J's"!

As one chapter ends, another begins, and for Jim Fitzgerald, Jeff Case, Joe Neal Hampton and Jim Byrum (pictured from left to right), this couldn't be more true.  At the recent annual State Association Out of Focus meeting in Cambridge, Maryland, all four of these gentlemen were recognized celebrating their upcoming retirements.

Jim Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Far West Agribusiness Association (FWAA), Jeff Case, Senior Director, Government Affairs with Crop Life America, Joe Neal Hampton, President/CEO of the Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association (OARA) and Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) have spent their careers as advocates for the agriculture industry.  With more than a century of experience between the four retirees, their wisdom will be greatly missed.  We wish them all well in their future endeavors and a happy and healthy retirement!

US EPA Region 5 Conducting RMP Audits

The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association recently alerted us that an auditor from Region 5 in Chicago was inspecting ag retail facilities in Illinois. The audit involves reviewing compliance with the Risk Management Program (RMP) for anhydrous ammonia storage.  RMP auditors will be looking for the following documentation, at a minimum:
  • Current Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for anhydrous ammonia.
  • Maximum intended inventory amount of anhydrous ammonia stored on site.
  • Data plate information pertaining to the storage tanks.
  • The two most recent Hazard Reviews, including recommendations and resolution to those recommendations.
  • Current Written Operating Procedures.
  • Training records of the employees involved in operating the ammonia system.
  • Maintenance schedule for the storage tanks, including inspections, testing and equipment specifications.
  • The two most recent Compliance Audits, including recommendations and resolution to any deficiencies noted.
  • Any anhydrous ammonia incident investigations (if applicable) conducted in the last 5 years.
For more information, access the MyRMP Suite of Guidance Materials.  If you need help or have questions, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 203.

Bridging the Gap

At the Asmark Institute, there has always been a focus on how to bridge the gap between what the client experiences on our website to how it is affected by the databases on the internal side.  Nick Lawrence, a member of our IT team, plays an integral part in understanding the relationship between the website and over 80 databases.  From a very young age, Nick has always been a part of Asmark.  Nick's father, Randy Lawrence, was one of the original owners, so Nick has been a part of the Asmark team since he was 10-12 years old.  One of his first jobs was assembling large packages full of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items that were shipped to various locations.  Fun Fact to Know – Asmark’s first office was built next door to founders, Allen and Susan Summers; if there was time after assembling the boxes, he would go next door and ride go-carts around their home.  As a sophomore in high school, he took an Auto Cad class, and was then given the task designing a cover for the anhydrous ammonia binder.  The summer after high school, Nick was busy scanning MSDS pages to be compiled to produce the annual edition of the MSDS Manual.  Needless to say, Nick has been involved in Asmark from the very beginning and grew up with us.

While away at college, Nick met his future wife, Karyn, and eventually moved to Chicago.  When they found themselves having the first of their two sons, they decided they wanted to be closer to family and moved back to Owensboro in 2009.  He picked up right where he had previously left off, joining the Asmark Institute family once again.  At that time, Asmark had only one website programmer, so Nick began training on website programming to be a backup.  Over the years, Nick has helped with the Pesticide Producing Reports (PPRs), drawn site plans for overall consistency, designed and developed the Progressive Ag website and been involved in many other design projects using his graphic design training and talents.  His knowledge of all of the systems here at Asmark has helped him bridge the gap between website and databases, ensuring that our clients have the best experience when using the website while maintaining data integrity.

Nick celebrated his official ten years as an Asmark employee back in April, so to commemorate this milestone he and Karyn are on vacation touring Cornwall, London and Paris.  We appreciate Nick for all of his years of service and look forward to the next ten years to see how his talents will continue to be utilized!

ARA and TFI Make Recommendations on CFATS

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) provided six main recommendations to consider as Congress works to reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.  In a letter addressed to the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, the following recommendations are detailed:
  • Recognition of industry stewardship programs such as ResponsibleAg.
  • Maintain CFATS focus on site security.
  • Enhance transparency between DHS and the regulated community.
  • Any updates or modifications to Appendix A should be subject to a comprehensive notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Facility owner and operators should retain discretion to determine how site security information is shared.
  • The personnel surety program (PSP) should not be expanded to risk groups Tier 3 and Tier 4.
Our thanks to ARA and TFI for continuing to promote industry stewardship programs like ResponsibleAg to ensure facilities are taking the necessary steps to be secure and compliant with current federal regulations.

ResponsibleAg - It's Time to Participate!

ResponsibleAg recently celebrated its 3,000th Audit at Alabama Farmers' Coop - West Geneva County Cooperative!  Congrats for reaching this impressive milestone as we continue to see growth in this industry-led initiative.  If you aren't already a member, we strongly encourage participation in the program. There's no better way to demonstrate you are committed, compliant and safe!  More than 2,600 facilities are participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program with 1,335 facilities already receiving their certification.  For more information and to register, go to ResponsibleAg.org today.

WOTUS Final Rule Repealed

US EPA and the Department of the Army recently announced they have signed a final rule repealing the 2015 waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, an Obama-era rule that had expanded the number of waterways classified as waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.  The final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 rule.

In this action, EPA and the Army jointly concluded that the 2015 Rule:
  • Did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agencies’ authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress and reflected in Supreme Court cases.
  • Failed to adequately recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of states to manage their own land and water resources.
  • Approached the limits of the agencies’ constitutional and statutory authority absent a clear statement from Congress.
  • Suffered from certain procedural errors and a lack of adequate record support as it relates to the 2015 Rule’s distance-based limitations.
This rule is the first step - Step 1 - in a two-step rule making process to define the scope of “waters of the United States” regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  In December 2018, EPA and the Army proposed a new definition - Step 2 - defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends in accordance with the CWA and Supreme Court precedent.  In the proposal, the agencies provide a clear definition of the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters under state authority.

Additional information is available at www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.

New Protocols for Qualitative Fit Testing

OSHA issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly.  The new protocols are the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.  Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration and a more streamlined sampling sequence.

These two quantitative methods add to the four existing in Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, which contains mandatory respirator fit-testing protocols that employers must choose from to protect employees from hazardous airborne contaminants.  The rule does not require employers to update or replace their current fit testing methods. These changes do not affect the methods for qualitative fit testing such as banana oil, saccharin, bitrex or irritant smoke.

Experienced Applicator Training Course - Registration Now Open!

The Asmark Institute and AGCO Corporation have teamed up to offer the Experienced Applicators Training Course,  to help applicators hone their skills, allowing them to become the best professional applicators possible.  Not to be confused with the 4-day course for beginners, this 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.  The 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:
  • 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 
  • Weed Identification
  • Tabletop Scenarios
The Experienced Applicator Training course is a very hands-on course held in a classroom filled with scenarios, demonstrations and exercises.  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 participant's knowledge-base, and over the progression of the two days creates a comprehensive thought process. Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 234.

Hub Uploads Increase

Since introducing the Hub, a new feature within EZ Update nearly a year ago, we have seen a continuous increase in electronic returns of documents. The Hub allows for both employee-related and facility-related documents to be uploaded with the click of a button.  This saves both time and money in returning documents to Asmark, while maintaining a high level of efficiency on our end.

Most documents sent to the locations are time-sensitive and have a deadline for being returned; those returned through the Hub continue to be more timely than the documents returned via the postal service.  With the driver file annual reviews in full swing, a majority of our clients are using this feature to upload their signed Certification of Violations forms.  The annual reviews are a DOT requirement, and the forms must be completed and signed by the location's deadline date to avoid disqualification of their drivers.  There have been some facilities that returned completed documents through the postal service, which did not arrive on time resulting in driver disqualifications. While snail mail started off being the best way to relay correspondence, times have changed and new technologies, such as the Hub feature, continue to pave the way for more efficiencies.

This time of year especially, we see an increase in uploads through the Hub, as it helps to speed up the process of returning the drivers' forms in a timely manner and ensures your drivers stay qualified and on the road.  If you have any questions regarding uploading documents via the Hub, please contact Customer Service at Ext 506.

Eight Years Later...and Still a Big Hit!

The LifeCycle Tank Management feature first debuted back in 2011, and was designed to help retailers manage and monitor their aging tanks, especially poly tanks.  This feature allows a facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures.  It has specifications for more than 850 different tanks, making entry fast, easy and accurate.

Not all tanks are created equal and they do have weaknesses and can fail; they are designed to hold certain liquids at certain weights, so it is important to understand what your facility is using each tank for. Poly tanks are relatively cheap and are a very popular tank to use, but they are still plastic and will break down over time.  There are many reasons the tank can fail; they do not come with an expiration date and there is no guarantee for how long they will last.  LifeCycle helps you track the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and prompts notification in the form of a reminder when a tank should be inspected or removed from service.  To learn more about tanks and their potential weaknesses, watch The Shattering Tank on Video 2 of your Legacy Series DVDs.

Since the good ole American baseball bat is the tool of choice for testing the integrity of poly tanks, a Special Edition imprinted bat is sent to each location that registers to use LifeCycle and enters their tanks to be tracked.  If you have any questions or would like to know more about the LifeCycle Tank Management feature, please feel free to call or email Cassandra at 270-926-4600 Ext 212 or cassandra@asmark.org and she will be glad to help you.

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.

Happy Retirement Wishes to the "J's"!

As one chapter ends, another begins, and for Jim Fitzgerald, Jeff Case, Joe Neal Hampton and Jim Byrum (pictured from left to right), this couldn't be more true.  At the recent annual State Association Out of Focus meeting in Cambridge, Maryland, all four of these gentlemen were recognized celebrating their upcoming retirements.

Jim Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the Far West Agribusiness Association (FWAA), Jeff Case, Senior Director, Government Affairs with Crop Life America, Joe Neal Hampton, President/CEO of the Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association (OARA) and Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) have spent their careers as advocates for the agriculture industry.  With more than a century of experience between the four retirees, their wisdom will be greatly missed.  We wish them all well in their future endeavors and a happy and healthy retirement!

US EPA Region 5 Conducting RMP Audits

The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association recently alerted us that an auditor from Region 5 in Chicago was inspecting ag retail facilities in Illinois. The audit involves reviewing compliance with the Risk Management Program (RMP) for anhydrous ammonia storage.  RMP auditors will be looking for the following documentation, at a minimum:
  • Current Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for anhydrous ammonia.
  • Maximum intended inventory amount of anhydrous ammonia stored on site.
  • Data plate information pertaining to the storage tanks.
  • The two most recent Hazard Reviews, including recommendations and resolution to those recommendations.
  • Current Written Operating Procedures.
  • Training records of the employees involved in operating the ammonia system.
  • Maintenance schedule for the storage tanks, including inspections, testing and equipment specifications.
  • The two most recent Compliance Audits, including recommendations and resolution to any deficiencies noted.
  • Any anhydrous ammonia incident investigations (if applicable) conducted in the last 5 years.
For more information, access the MyRMP Suite of Guidance Materials.  If you need help or have questions, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 203.

Bridging the Gap

At the Asmark Institute, there has always been a focus on how to bridge the gap between what the client experiences on our website to how it is affected by the databases on the internal side.  Nick Lawrence, a member of our IT team, plays an integral part in understanding the relationship between the website and over 80 databases.  From a very young age, Nick has always been a part of Asmark.  Nick's father, Randy Lawrence, was one of the original owners, so Nick has been a part of the Asmark team since he was 10-12 years old.  One of his first jobs was assembling large packages full of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items that were shipped to various locations.  Fun Fact to Know – Asmark’s first office was built next door to founders, Allen and Susan Summers; if there was time after assembling the boxes, he would go next door and ride go-carts around their home.  As a sophomore in high school, he took an Auto Cad class, and was then given the task designing a cover for the anhydrous ammonia binder.  The summer after high school, Nick was busy scanning MSDS pages to be compiled to produce the annual edition of the MSDS Manual.  Needless to say, Nick has been involved in Asmark from the very beginning and grew up with us.

While away at college, Nick met his future wife, Karyn, and eventually moved to Chicago.  When they found themselves having the first of their two sons, they decided they wanted to be closer to family and moved back to Owensboro in 2009.  He picked up right where he had previously left off, joining the Asmark Institute family once again.  At that time, Asmark had only one website programmer, so Nick began training on website programming to be a backup.  Over the years, Nick has helped with the Pesticide Producing Reports (PPRs), drawn site plans for overall consistency, designed and developed the Progressive Ag website and been involved in many other design projects using his graphic design training and talents.  His knowledge of all of the systems here at Asmark has helped him bridge the gap between website and databases, ensuring that our clients have the best experience when using the website while maintaining data integrity.

Nick celebrated his official ten years as an Asmark employee back in April, so to commemorate this milestone he and Karyn are on vacation touring Cornwall, London and Paris.  We appreciate Nick for all of his years of service and look forward to the next ten years to see how his talents will continue to be utilized!

ARA and TFI Make Recommendations on CFATS

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) provided six main recommendations to consider as Congress works to reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.  In a letter addressed to the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, the following recommendations are detailed:
  • Recognition of industry stewardship programs such as ResponsibleAg.
  • Maintain CFATS focus on site security.
  • Enhance transparency between DHS and the regulated community.
  • Any updates or modifications to Appendix A should be subject to a comprehensive notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Facility owner and operators should retain discretion to determine how site security information is shared.
  • The personnel surety program (PSP) should not be expanded to risk groups Tier 3 and Tier 4.
Our thanks to ARA and TFI for continuing to promote industry stewardship programs like ResponsibleAg to ensure facilities are taking the necessary steps to be secure and compliant with current federal regulations.

ResponsibleAg - It's Time to Participate!

ResponsibleAg recently celebrated its 3,000th Audit at Alabama Farmers' Coop - West Geneva County Cooperative!  Congrats for reaching this impressive milestone as we continue to see growth in this industry-led initiative.  If you aren't already a member, we strongly encourage participation in the program. There's no better way to demonstrate you are committed, compliant and safe!  More than 2,600 facilities are participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program with 1,335 facilities already receiving their certification.  For more information and to register, go to ResponsibleAg.org today.

WOTUS Final Rule Repealed

US EPA and the Department of the Army recently announced they have signed a final rule repealing the 2015 waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, an Obama-era rule that had expanded the number of waterways classified as waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.  The final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 rule.

In this action, EPA and the Army jointly concluded that the 2015 Rule:
  • Did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agencies’ authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress and reflected in Supreme Court cases.
  • Failed to adequately recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of states to manage their own land and water resources.
  • Approached the limits of the agencies’ constitutional and statutory authority absent a clear statement from Congress.
  • Suffered from certain procedural errors and a lack of adequate record support as it relates to the 2015 Rule’s distance-based limitations.
This rule is the first step - Step 1 - in a two-step rule making process to define the scope of “waters of the United States” regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  In December 2018, EPA and the Army proposed a new definition - Step 2 - defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends in accordance with the CWA and Supreme Court precedent.  In the proposal, the agencies provide a clear definition of the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters under state authority.

Additional information is available at www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.

New Protocols for Qualitative Fit Testing

OSHA issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly.  The new protocols are the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.  Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration and a more streamlined sampling sequence.

These two quantitative methods add to the four existing in Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, which contains mandatory respirator fit-testing protocols that employers must choose from to protect employees from hazardous airborne contaminants.  The rule does not require employers to update or replace their current fit testing methods. These changes do not affect the methods for qualitative fit testing such as banana oil, saccharin, bitrex or irritant smoke.

Experienced Applicator Training Course - Registration Now Open!

The Asmark Institute and AGCO Corporation have teamed up to offer the Experienced Applicators Training Course,  to help applicators hone their skills, allowing them to become the best professional applicators possible.  Not to be confused with the 4-day course for beginners, this 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.  The 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:
  • 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 
  • Weed Identification
  • Tabletop Scenarios
The Experienced Applicator Training course is a very hands-on course held in a classroom filled with scenarios, demonstrations and exercises.  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 participant's knowledge-base, and over the progression of the two days creates a comprehensive thought process. Classes are limited to 21 participants, so register today. For more information or questions, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext 234.

Hub Uploads Increase

Since introducing the Hub, a new feature within EZ Update nearly a year ago, we have seen a continuous increase in electronic returns of documents. The Hub allows for both employee-related and facility-related documents to be uploaded with the click of a button.  This saves both time and money in returning documents to Asmark, while maintaining a high level of efficiency on our end.

Most documents sent to the locations are time-sensitive and have a deadline for being returned; those returned through the Hub continue to be more timely than the documents returned via the postal service.  With the driver file annual reviews in full swing, a majority of our clients are using this feature to upload their signed Certification of Violations forms.  The annual reviews are a DOT requirement, and the forms must be completed and signed by the location's deadline date to avoid disqualification of their drivers.  There have been some facilities that returned completed documents through the postal service, which did not arrive on time resulting in driver disqualifications. While snail mail started off being the best way to relay correspondence, times have changed and new technologies, such as the Hub feature, continue to pave the way for more efficiencies.

This time of year especially, we see an increase in uploads through the Hub, as it helps to speed up the process of returning the drivers' forms in a timely manner and ensures your drivers stay qualified and on the road.  If you have any questions regarding uploading documents via the Hub, please contact Customer Service at Ext 506.

Eight Years Later...and Still a Big Hit!

The LifeCycle Tank Management feature first debuted back in 2011, and was designed to help retailers manage and monitor their aging tanks, especially poly tanks.  This feature allows a facility to select their tanks from a pre-populated database containing dimensions, spec sheets and even pictures.  It has specifications for more than 850 different tanks, making entry fast, easy and accurate.

Not all tanks are created equal and they do have weaknesses and can fail; they are designed to hold certain liquids at certain weights, so it is important to understand what your facility is using each tank for. Poly tanks are relatively cheap and are a very popular tank to use, but they are still plastic and will break down over time.  There are many reasons the tank can fail; they do not come with an expiration date and there is no guarantee for how long they will last.  LifeCycle helps you track the status of each tank using the colorful stoplight feature and prompts notification in the form of a reminder when a tank should be inspected or removed from service.  To learn more about tanks and their potential weaknesses, watch The Shattering Tank on Video 2 of your Legacy Series DVDs.

Since the good ole American baseball bat is the tool of choice for testing the integrity of poly tanks, a Special Edition imprinted bat is sent to each location that registers to use LifeCycle and enters their tanks to be tracked.  If you have any questions or would like to know more about the LifeCycle Tank Management feature, please feel free to call or email Cassandra at 270-926-4600 Ext 212 or cassandra@asmark.org and she will be glad to help you.

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.