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Newsletter
Volume 204
November 2, 2020

Start Your Engines as Annual Compliance Season Revs Up!

With Compliance Season revving up, the Asmark Institute has been hard at work preparing the Compliance Wizard for the 2020 Annual Compliance Visits. Personalized to each facility, the Wizard organizes and leads you through the annual compliance parts & pieces with the goal of helping you submit the most complete and accurate data in a timely manner.  With this being the one time of year our clients are able to place a more concentrated focus on their compliance efforts, the pages in the Wizard have been geared toward providing a step-by-step process to allow for a clean and simple way of compiling data.  This data is needed to prepare and produce reports such as the annual SARA Tier II, Pesticide Production Report and Emergency Response/Action Plan (aka Handi-Plans) for your facility.

As you make your way to the starting line, we have included some helpful tips to ensure the Annual Visit runs as smoothly as possible:
  • Prepare your SARA and/or PPR worksheets ahead of time to save time in the Wizard.
  • If the person completing the Wizard is not the person who orders/handles product inventory, make sure to check with the person who does to provide the most accurate information.
  • Helpful Tips tabs are available on certain pages to offer additional guidance if needed.
  • New this year! Our new video streaming service, Asmark On Demand, is launching and you'll be able to participate if interested by indicating so in the Wizard.
We are always looking out for our clients in an effort to ensure accurate data is captured.  The Wizard cross-checks the data you submit as it's gathered and stored, using the best of technology and logic to confirm reports are completed accurately.  You might be surprised to learn that Anhydrous Ammonia is the most forgotten product on the SARA Tier II report for those locations that handle ammonia.  The facility receives a warning to proceed with caution, thanks to the checks and balances put into place.

Once you've reached the finish line and the Wizard is complete, you will receive an email with a summary of the Wizard actions taken.  The email will include a generated "To-Do" List outlining compliance efforts that need to be addressed throughout the upcoming year with a deadline date for completion.  New this year, we are also including a summarized list of the products and amounts entered for SARA Tier IIs and PPRs, if applicable.

Compliance Wizards opened on Monday, October 26, 2020 and the deadline for all Wizards to be complete is January 15, 2021. For those facilities that have EH&S team oversight, those folks will be reaching out to coordinate and schedule a "visit" with each location they are responsible for in this timeframe.  If you have any questions as you prepare for your Compliance Visit, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Keeping Us All Connected

Maintaining all types of equipment from web servers, copiers, desktop computers and laptops to phone and security systems, Tyler Marlman, our IT Hardware & Security Team Lead, takes care of them all.  If it plugs in, he's our "go-to-guy."  Tyler has been part of the Asmark Institute family since 2015 and has been responsible for helping us stay plugged in and connected to meet our clients' needs since day one.  When Covid hit in March, Tyler helped us all learn how to use Zoom, remote into our office computers and access our in-office phone system from home.  He helped us quickly pivot to stay open, while staying home to get our job done safely and remain healthy.  It was quite the task and he deserves a trophy for how smooth he made it all seem, despite the long days and late nights of helping 25 people stay connected to service our clients.

Tyler is responsible for maintaining and monitoring both physical and network security while keeping up-to-date on the latest technology used to keep things, people and data secure.  He handles everything on the hardware side of security for our four training facilities.  Any of the scenarios that have electronics involved with the Signature Training Courses, he maintains and handles their installations.  He has installed everything from cameras on the applicator machines to the technology involved in reproducing a train signal as participants in the applicator machines attempt to cross train tracks as part of one of the scenarios.  Prior to joining the Asmark team, Tyler spent seven years working at a call center as IT support.  He utilized a ticketing system to respond to the employees' needs when systems were not working right or user issues arose.  Learning from his previous experiences, he helped us develop a similar ticketing system in our office to help streamline and document IT-related troubles.  When Tyler isn't helping troubleshoot and solve problems, he spends his time researching technology advancements to help take Asmark to the next level.

Tyler is married to Jennifer, and they have two children, Preston and Asher. Even when at home with his family, Tyler is always ready and willing to assist if there are issues that need addressing outside of the normal work hours.  He's always looking out for the best interest of Asmark and our clients! We are very fortunate to have someone of Tyler's caliber on staff who is so resourceful! He helps us in more ways than we even realize.

EPA Announces Dicamba Registration Decision

On Wednesday, 10-28-2020, EPA approved new five-year registrations for XtendiMax and Engenia and extended the registration for Tavium through 2025.  "With today’s decision, farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders, we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment."  All three registrations include new control measures to ensure these products can be used effectively while protecting the environment.  These important control measures include:
  • Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent (also called a Volatility Reduction Agent or VRA) be tank mixed with "over-the-top" (OTT) dicamba products prior to all applications to control volatility.
  • Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed species are located.
  • Prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30.
  • Simplifying the label and use directions so that growers can more easily determine when and how to properly apply dicamba.

Asmark On Demand Streaming Service Now Available!

We are excited to announce one of the most requested services by our clients, Asmark on Demand streaming, was launched on Monday, October 26th.  Over the last few months, Roku and Fire Stick programmers have been putting the finishing touches on the Asmark On Demand app.  During that time, Asmark’s web programmers have also worked diligently to create yet another value-added feature within the Asmark On Demand service offering - the ability to view Asmark’s suite of safety videos using a web browser at AsmarkOnDemand.org. With this recent addition to the Asmark On Demand offering, Asmark’s clients will not only have the option of streaming to a TV for their safety meetings (via Roku & Fire Stick) but will also have the flexibility to view training videos using a computer and/or projector in facility conference rooms.

Our clients will have the option to sign up for a free trial of the Asmark On Demand service during this year’s Compliance Wizard, which also launched on Monday.  The goal of the trial is to allow clients to use the streaming service for an extended period of time to determine if it is a good fit for their facility before returning their set of DVDs.  Once a facility signs up, they can simply log in to the platform of their choice using their current login information for the Snapshots Management Dashboard to access the Asmark On Demand content.

EPA Continues Regulatory Review of Paraquat

As part of its regulatory review of paraquat dichloride, EPA is proposing new safety measures to better protect human health and the environment.  The proposed changes include:
  • Prohibiting aerial application for all uses except cotton desiccation;
  • Prohibiting pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer application methods on the label;
  • Limiting the maximum application rate for alfalfa to one pound of active ingredient per acre;
  • Requiring enclosed cabs if area treated in 24-hour period is more than 80 acres;
  • Requiring enclosed cabs or PF10 respirators if area treated in 24-hour period is 80 acres or less;
  • Requiring a residential area drift buffer and 7-day restricted entry interval (REI) for cotton desiccation;
  • Requiring a 48-hour REI for all crops and uses except cotton desiccation; and
  • Adding mandatory spray drift management label language.
In addition, EPA is proposing to allow truck drivers who are not certified applicators to transport paraquat when certain conditions are met. Comments must be received by December 22, 2020. Click here to read the proposed interim decision.

ESP Turns 10!

In 2010, we introduced our Electronic Service Program (ESP) for clients to receive correspondence electronically instead of by mail.  In the first year, we had about 30% participation and over the years it has steadily risen each and every year thereafter.  Today, over 85% of our clients utilize ESP - saving both time and money.  ESP clients receive notifications and prompts 3 to 4 days ahead of those still receiving things by mail and UPS.  On average, it saves close to $300 annually in postage and shipping as well.

Now is an excellent time for those still hanging on to old fashioned mail to make the switch and start getting their email notifications in a more timely fashion.  When COVID hit in March, more and more people were forced to work remotely from home in order to get their job done safely and remain healthy.  By participating in ESP, the Primary/ESP Contact will receive the email notification whenever anything is posted to Snapshots that requires attention, alleviating all of the pitfalls of sending things traditionally through the mail.  We continue to look for ways to to be efficient and timely in our communications to get clients information quickly so their compliance efforts remain top of mind.
If you have any questions about ESP or how to get signed up, feel free to contact our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

EPA Revises "List of Lists"

Dated August 2020, and just recently posted publicly, EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated "List of Lists" on their website.  The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting.  Asmark sent our Lighthouse Retainer Clients the revised version to replace the old version (dated June 2019) in their Compliance Filing System binders.

New Release! Railcar Safety Training Video

Despite numerous hurdles surrounding COVID-19 this year, the Asmark Video Team, AI Productions, was able to successfully shoot and produce Asmark's first-ever Railcar Safety Training Video.  Developed to teach workers at ag retail facilities how to safely work around railcars, the new safety video points out different safety precautions that apply for hopper cars and tank cars such as track inspection, using hand brakes, moving railcars, blue flag use, unloading tank cars, unloading hopper cars and pre-trip inspections.

The majority of the filming took place in the Pacific Northwest where the beautiful terrain is second to none.  Special thanks to Clark Capwell with The McGregor Company and Ryan Coleman with Superior Ag Resources Co-op for helping AI Productions with the filming process.  The new video will not be added to the Asmark DVD set but will be available to stream via Asmark On Demand, Asmark's new streaming service.  Options to stream include Roku, Fire Stick or AsmarkOnDemand.org.  Instructions for accessing the new video will be provided with each Railcar Safety Video training kit order.

Study Reveals the Top 10 Disabling Workplace Injuries

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety has released its 2020 Workplace Safety Index identifying the leading causes of the most disabling US workplace injuries, which amounted to more than $59 billion in direct costs to employers, based on medical and lost-wage expenses.  The most serious workplace injuries included are those causing an employee to miss work for more than 5 days.  As in previous years, overexertion tops the list.  This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects.

The overall number of serious workplace injuries has decreased, while the medical costs have increased above overall inflation.  The ten leading causes of the most disabling workplace injuries in 2020 (in billions) according to Liberty Mutual are:
  • Overexertion                         $13.98
  • Fall on same level                 $10.84
  • Struck by object                      $6.12
  • Falls to lower level                  $5.71
  • Bodily reactions*                    $4.69
  • Roadway incident                   $3.56
  • Slip or trip without fall           $2.06
  • Repetitive motions                 $2.05
  • Struck against object              $2.00
  • Caught in/compressed by      $1.92
*Injuries from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling.

ResponsibleAg  - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,570 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and close to 3,600 audits have been completed, many in their second and third audit cycles.  We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Click here to read why your peers are in the program.  If you aren't registered, don't delay - register today!

ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies.  The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.

Why Do We Have ERGs?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) published the first Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) in 1973 to aid first responders who arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving hazardous materials.  The ERG provides the first responders the information they need to protect themselves and the community during the initial phase of that incident.  By regulation, drivers are required to have emergency response information with them when transporting most hazardous materials.  A copy of the ERG in your trucks complies with this regulation.  The DOT updates the ERG every four years.

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.

Start Your Engines as Annual Compliance Season Revs Up!

With Compliance Season revving up, the Asmark Institute has been hard at work preparing the Compliance Wizard for the 2020 Annual Compliance Visits. Personalized to each facility, the Wizard organizes and leads you through the annual compliance parts & pieces with the goal of helping you submit the most complete and accurate data in a timely manner.  With this being the one time of year our clients are able to place a more concentrated focus on their compliance efforts, the pages in the Wizard have been geared toward providing a step-by-step process to allow for a clean and simple way of compiling data.  This data is needed to prepare and produce reports such as the annual SARA Tier II, Pesticide Production Report and Emergency Response/Action Plan (aka Handi-Plans) for your facility.

As you make your way to the starting line, we have included some helpful tips to ensure the Annual Visit runs as smoothly as possible:
  • Prepare your SARA and/or PPR worksheets ahead of time to save time in the Wizard.
  • If the person completing the Wizard is not the person who orders/handles product inventory, make sure to check with the person who does to provide the most accurate information.
  • Helpful Tips tabs are available on certain pages to offer additional guidance if needed.
  • New this year! Our new video streaming service, Asmark On Demand, is launching and you'll be able to participate if interested by indicating so in the Wizard.
We are always looking out for our clients in an effort to ensure accurate data is captured.  The Wizard cross-checks the data you submit as it's gathered and stored, using the best of technology and logic to confirm reports are completed accurately.  You might be surprised to learn that Anhydrous Ammonia is the most forgotten product on the SARA Tier II report for those locations that handle ammonia.  The facility receives a warning to proceed with caution, thanks to the checks and balances put into place.

Once you've reached the finish line and the Wizard is complete, you will receive an email with a summary of the Wizard actions taken.  The email will include a generated "To-Do" List outlining compliance efforts that need to be addressed throughout the upcoming year with a deadline date for completion.  New this year, we are also including a summarized list of the products and amounts entered for SARA Tier IIs and PPRs, if applicable.

Compliance Wizards opened on Monday, October 26, 2020 and the deadline for all Wizards to be complete is January 15, 2021. For those facilities that have EH&S team oversight, those folks will be reaching out to coordinate and schedule a "visit" with each location they are responsible for in this timeframe.  If you have any questions as you prepare for your Compliance Visit, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

Keeping Us All Connected

Maintaining all types of equipment from web servers, copiers, desktop computers and laptops to phone and security systems, Tyler Marlman, our IT Hardware & Security Team Lead, takes care of them all.  If it plugs in, he's our "go-to-guy."  Tyler has been part of the Asmark Institute family since 2015 and has been responsible for helping us stay plugged in and connected to meet our clients' needs since day one.  When Covid hit in March, Tyler helped us all learn how to use Zoom, remote into our office computers and access our in-office phone system from home.  He helped us quickly pivot to stay open, while staying home to get our job done safely and remain healthy.  It was quite the task and he deserves a trophy for how smooth he made it all seem, despite the long days and late nights of helping 25 people stay connected to service our clients.

Tyler is responsible for maintaining and monitoring both physical and network security while keeping up-to-date on the latest technology used to keep things, people and data secure.  He handles everything on the hardware side of security for our four training facilities.  Any of the scenarios that have electronics involved with the Signature Training Courses, he maintains and handles their installations.  He has installed everything from cameras on the applicator machines to the technology involved in reproducing a train signal as participants in the applicator machines attempt to cross train tracks as part of one of the scenarios.  Prior to joining the Asmark team, Tyler spent seven years working at a call center as IT support.  He utilized a ticketing system to respond to the employees' needs when systems were not working right or user issues arose.  Learning from his previous experiences, he helped us develop a similar ticketing system in our office to help streamline and document IT-related troubles.  When Tyler isn't helping troubleshoot and solve problems, he spends his time researching technology advancements to help take Asmark to the next level.

Tyler is married to Jennifer, and they have two children, Preston and Asher. Even when at home with his family, Tyler is always ready and willing to assist if there are issues that need addressing outside of the normal work hours.  He's always looking out for the best interest of Asmark and our clients! We are very fortunate to have someone of Tyler's caliber on staff who is so resourceful! He helps us in more ways than we even realize.

EPA Announces Dicamba Registration Decision

On Wednesday, 10-28-2020, EPA approved new five-year registrations for XtendiMax and Engenia and extended the registration for Tavium through 2025.  "With today’s decision, farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders, we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment."  All three registrations include new control measures to ensure these products can be used effectively while protecting the environment.  These important control measures include:
  • Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent (also called a Volatility Reduction Agent or VRA) be tank mixed with "over-the-top" (OTT) dicamba products prior to all applications to control volatility.
  • Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed species are located.
  • Prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30.
  • Simplifying the label and use directions so that growers can more easily determine when and how to properly apply dicamba.

Asmark On Demand Streaming Service Now Available!

We are excited to announce one of the most requested services by our clients, Asmark on Demand streaming, was launched on Monday, October 26th.  Over the last few months, Roku and Fire Stick programmers have been putting the finishing touches on the Asmark On Demand app.  During that time, Asmark’s web programmers have also worked diligently to create yet another value-added feature within the Asmark On Demand service offering - the ability to view Asmark’s suite of safety videos using a web browser at AsmarkOnDemand.org. With this recent addition to the Asmark On Demand offering, Asmark’s clients will not only have the option of streaming to a TV for their safety meetings (via Roku & Fire Stick) but will also have the flexibility to view training videos using a computer and/or projector in facility conference rooms.

Our clients will have the option to sign up for a free trial of the Asmark On Demand service during this year’s Compliance Wizard, which also launched on Monday.  The goal of the trial is to allow clients to use the streaming service for an extended period of time to determine if it is a good fit for their facility before returning their set of DVDs.  Once a facility signs up, they can simply log in to the platform of their choice using their current login information for the Snapshots Management Dashboard to access the Asmark On Demand content.

EPA Continues Regulatory Review of Paraquat

As part of its regulatory review of paraquat dichloride, EPA is proposing new safety measures to better protect human health and the environment.  The proposed changes include:
  • Prohibiting aerial application for all uses except cotton desiccation;
  • Prohibiting pressurized handgun and backpack sprayer application methods on the label;
  • Limiting the maximum application rate for alfalfa to one pound of active ingredient per acre;
  • Requiring enclosed cabs if area treated in 24-hour period is more than 80 acres;
  • Requiring enclosed cabs or PF10 respirators if area treated in 24-hour period is 80 acres or less;
  • Requiring a residential area drift buffer and 7-day restricted entry interval (REI) for cotton desiccation;
  • Requiring a 48-hour REI for all crops and uses except cotton desiccation; and
  • Adding mandatory spray drift management label language.
In addition, EPA is proposing to allow truck drivers who are not certified applicators to transport paraquat when certain conditions are met. Comments must be received by December 22, 2020. Click here to read the proposed interim decision.

ESP Turns 10!

In 2010, we introduced our Electronic Service Program (ESP) for clients to receive correspondence electronically instead of by mail.  In the first year, we had about 30% participation and over the years it has steadily risen each and every year thereafter.  Today, over 85% of our clients utilize ESP - saving both time and money.  ESP clients receive notifications and prompts 3 to 4 days ahead of those still receiving things by mail and UPS.  On average, it saves close to $300 annually in postage and shipping as well.

Now is an excellent time for those still hanging on to old fashioned mail to make the switch and start getting their email notifications in a more timely fashion.  When COVID hit in March, more and more people were forced to work remotely from home in order to get their job done safely and remain healthy.  By participating in ESP, the Primary/ESP Contact will receive the email notification whenever anything is posted to Snapshots that requires attention, alleviating all of the pitfalls of sending things traditionally through the mail.  We continue to look for ways to to be efficient and timely in our communications to get clients information quickly so their compliance efforts remain top of mind.
If you have any questions about ESP or how to get signed up, feel free to contact our Customer Service Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 506 or customerservice@asmark.org.

EPA Revises "List of Lists"

Dated August 2020, and just recently posted publicly, EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated "List of Lists" on their website.  The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting.  Asmark sent our Lighthouse Retainer Clients the revised version to replace the old version (dated June 2019) in their Compliance Filing System binders.

New Release! Railcar Safety Training Video

Despite numerous hurdles surrounding COVID-19 this year, the Asmark Video Team, AI Productions, was able to successfully shoot and produce Asmark's first-ever Railcar Safety Training Video.  Developed to teach workers at ag retail facilities how to safely work around railcars, the new safety video points out different safety precautions that apply for hopper cars and tank cars such as track inspection, using hand brakes, moving railcars, blue flag use, unloading tank cars, unloading hopper cars and pre-trip inspections.

The majority of the filming took place in the Pacific Northwest where the beautiful terrain is second to none.  Special thanks to Clark Capwell with The McGregor Company and Ryan Coleman with Superior Ag Resources Co-op for helping AI Productions with the filming process.  The new video will not be added to the Asmark DVD set but will be available to stream via Asmark On Demand, Asmark's new streaming service.  Options to stream include Roku, Fire Stick or AsmarkOnDemand.org.  Instructions for accessing the new video will be provided with each Railcar Safety Video training kit order.

Study Reveals the Top 10 Disabling Workplace Injuries

The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety has released its 2020 Workplace Safety Index identifying the leading causes of the most disabling US workplace injuries, which amounted to more than $59 billion in direct costs to employers, based on medical and lost-wage expenses.  The most serious workplace injuries included are those causing an employee to miss work for more than 5 days.  As in previous years, overexertion tops the list.  This includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing objects.

The overall number of serious workplace injuries has decreased, while the medical costs have increased above overall inflation.  The ten leading causes of the most disabling workplace injuries in 2020 (in billions) according to Liberty Mutual are:
  • Overexertion                         $13.98
  • Fall on same level                 $10.84
  • Struck by object                      $6.12
  • Falls to lower level                  $5.71
  • Bodily reactions*                    $4.69
  • Roadway incident                   $3.56
  • Slip or trip without fall           $2.06
  • Repetitive motions                 $2.05
  • Struck against object              $2.00
  • Caught in/compressed by      $1.92
*Injuries from bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling.

ResponsibleAg  - Committed. Compliant. Safe.

Over 2,570 facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program and close to 3,600 audits have been completed, many in their second and third audit cycles.  We encourage you to visit responsibleag.org to learn more and see the list of participating members.  Click here to read why your peers are in the program.  If you aren't registered, don't delay - register today!

ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies.  The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.

Why Do We Have ERGs?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) published the first Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) in 1973 to aid first responders who arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving hazardous materials.  The ERG provides the first responders the information they need to protect themselves and the community during the initial phase of that incident.  By regulation, drivers are required to have emergency response information with them when transporting most hazardous materials.  A copy of the ERG in your trucks complies with this regulation.  The DOT updates the ERG every four years.

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.