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Newsletter
Volume 211
June 1, 2021

Asmark Institute Welcomes New Board Members

The Asmark Institute Board of Directors recently welcomed three new members.

Chris Henney is the President and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) based out of Columbus, Ohio. Chris has been with OABA since May 2011 and directs the vision, mission and strategy of the organization. OABA has been an Asmark affiliated state association since 2006.

Luke Jacobs is CEO and Co-founder of Encamp based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Encamp, created in 2017, uses modern technology to file SARA Tier IIs and streamline  the annual filing requirement. The Asmark + Encamp Tier II process was developed in 2018 to help close the gap from data collection and product information to submission of the filing through the various state systems creating a one-and-done process for Asmark's retainer clients.

Kellie Bray, Chief of Staff with CropLife America, has joined as an advisor to serve alongside the other national associations.  Kellie has been with CropLife America since 2008. Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and CropLife America (CLA) serve as advisors to the eight directors on Asmark Institute's Board.

All three new members bring uniquely valuable perspectives adding to the diversity of the Asmark Institute Board of Directors.  Welcome Chris, Luke and Kellie!

Tennessee Farmers Coop CEO Bart Krisle Set to Retire

Bart Krisle, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) CEO, will be retiring on June 4th after a career spanning 38 years.  Bart has served as CEO for the last 14 years.  He joined the TFC staff in 1983 as a field auditor and has served in various capacities within the cooperative through the years. In 1987, he was named to the Internal Auditing Department staff and in 1988 became manager of the Member Support Department in the information services area. Bart was named Region 2 operations specialist in 1992 and held that position until being selected to fill the role of chief operating officer in 1999.

Asmark has had the pleasure of working with TFC since 2003.  Through our relationship with TFC, Asmark moved the Emergency Response for Agricultural Incidents Training Course to LaVergne, TN in 2009. This was made possible when Bart graciously offered a building they weren't utilizing to Asmark to lease and use.  Being only 20 minutes from the Nashville airport, the location has been ideal for Asmark and our training course instructor and participants.  To date, 3,178 participants have been trained at the LaVergne Training Center due to this collaborative effort.

Shannon Huff has been selected by the TFC Board of Directors to succeed Bart as CEO.  Huff served as TFC CFO since 2006 before being appointed CEO. Congrats to both Bart and Shannon on the next stage in their careers!  We wish Bart the very best in his retirement and are excited to work alongside Shannon for years to come.

OSHA AG-30 Hour Course - Registration Open!

Registration is now open for a limited number of Summer and Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses.  Register now and reserve a spot before seats fill up!  The OSHA AG-30 Hour Course is the only ag specific OSHA training in the country, and is an OSHA approved outreach training program.

Lead instructor, Brian Miller, President of Miller Risk Management, has more than 35 years experience.  Brian holds a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation, is a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA) and is OSHA-authorized to provide this training.  Brian has a talent for turning what could potentially be a boring subject, into training that grabs your attention and keeps you engaged.

Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives.  Upon completion of the course, the participants will receive a 30 Hour General Industry Health and Safety OSHA card.  Classes are limited to 24 participants, so register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Driver's License Tracking System Expanded

Asmark has begun collecting and tracking Non-Traditional CDLs (Permit and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal), in addition to the Operator License/CDL that we already maintain.  This additional information is collected through New Hire/Re-hire submissions and EZ Update's Change DOT Driver License under the Employee section.

Tracking this additional license type information will help Asmark's ability to more accurately maintain the driver qualification files for those who hold CDL Permits or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDLs, keeping them up-to-date and in compliance.  It will also add a layer of ease for our clients, so that they do not have to track these temporary CDLs, as it allows for logic to be applied to this tracking system that will automatically switch a driver's license type in our system without our Driver File Team having to be notified the day of the issue or expiration.  As usual, when a license type is changed to any type of CDL, we will continue to prompt for a DOT Federal Drug Screen and FMCSA Clearinghouse Pre-employment Query.

Aside from the traditional Operator License/CDL info that is already in our system, the additional license information for the Non-Traditional CDLs (Permits and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal) that we will collect includes:
  1. Type of CDL
  2. Issue Date*
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Copy of Documentation (can be uploaded through the Hub or emailed to dqf@asmark.org)
*A future date can be entered for a Non-Traditional CDL (Permit or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDL).  If a future issue date is entered, we will not prompt for the necessary DOT requirements that go along with holding a CDL, until just before the issue date is reached.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Driver File Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501 or dqf@asmark.org.

COVID Waiver Rolls On

DOT has extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) and permits, as well as Non-CDL licenses for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, until August 31, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Some CMV drivers have been unable to renew their licenses and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies, due to the states experiencing backlogs or reduced hours of operation.  The pace of return to normal operations has varied across the country.  DOT intends to review the status of this waiver as of July 1, 2021 and may act to terminate the waiver sooner if conditions warrant.

Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificate.  Asmark will continue to mark drivers that fall within the specified timeframe of the waiver as "Attention Needed" on both Snapshots and the monthly status reports.  Drivers are still encouraged to obtain their renewed licenses and medical certificates as soon as possible.

OSHA Proposes WWS Clarifications

OSHA is proposing updates in the handrail and stair rail system requirements for the Walking-Working Surfaces (WWS) standard.  Since the final rule in 2016, the agency has received numerous questions asking when handrails are required, and about the height requirements for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems. One clarification is that a stair rail system with a handrail is required on the open side of certain stairways.  Another eases a restriction on previously-installed stair rail systems by allowing the top rail of those systems to serve as a handrail when it is as low as 30 inches.

This proposed rule does not reopen any of the regulatory decisions made in the 2016 rulemaking for discussion.  It only seeks to clarify the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems finalized in 2016, and provide flexibility in the transition to OSHA’s newer requirements.  Any comments on the proposal must be submitted by July 19.

Emergency Response Refresher Training  - On the Road Again!

After a year hiatus due to COVID-19, we are excited to announce we are ready to get back out on the road.  Registration for the summer Annual Refresher Training is now open.  Invitations to attend the annual 8-hour Refresher Course have been mailed out to those who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course.  There are several location changes this year.  Check out the location calendar to find the location most convenient.

Covid-19 Precautions - Participant safety is a top priority.  Our goal is to provide the required training safely, while following the guidelines of local, state and national agencies.  More information will be provided in the confirmation packet materials.  If you have questions or need more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.  She'll be happy to help!

EPA Procedures Questioned in 2018 Dicamba Registration Decision

The EPA Office of Inspector General recently released a report detailing how EPA deviated from typical procedures in its 2018 dicamba pesticide registration decision.  Report highlights conclude that EPA did not conduct the required internal peer reviews of scientific documents created to support the dicamba decision and staff felt constrained or muted in sharing their concerns about the registrations.  The report recommendations and planned agency corrective actions are:
  • Implement a procedure requiring senior managers or policy makers to document changes to scientific opinions, analyses, and conclusions in pesticide registration decisions as well as their basis for such changes.
  • Require verification from EPA administrators that Scientific Integrity Policy requirements were reviewed and followed during pesticide registration decisions.

  • Annually conduct training for all staff on the agency’s commitment to the Scientific Integrity Policy.

Annual Fit Test Delay Extended Until September

Due to the continued concerns regarding personal protective equipment shortages, EPA is extending the "annual fit test delay" to September 30, 2021 as part of the previously issued guidance on respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers.

This revision is in alignment with OSHA memos on respirators and addresses Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requirements.  If there is a delay of an annual fit test caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, handlers must have received an annual fit test during calendar year 2019 or 2020 on the specific make and model of respirator they will continue to use.  Handlers must have not had a physiological change that affects the seal between the face-piece and the user’s face.  The employer must demonstrate that the handler has received respirator training in the previous 12 months and inform the handler of the time-limited change to the annual fit test requirement.

Independent Contractor Rule Withdrawn

Just months after being issued, the Department of Labor is officially withdrawing the prior administration's independent contractor rule.  Now that the rule has been withdrawn, employers must utilize the seven-factor economic realities test that was used previously to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.  These factors are:
  1. The extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the principal’s business.
  2. The permanency of the relationship.
  3. The amount of the alleged contractor’s investment in facilities and equipment.
  4. The nature and degree of control by the principal.
  5. The alleged contractor’s opportunities for profit and loss.
  6. The amount of initiative, judgment or foresight in open market competition with others required for the success of the claimed independent contractor.
  7. The degree of independent business organization and operation.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

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

Asmark Institute Welcomes New Board Members

The Asmark Institute Board of Directors recently welcomed three new members.

Chris Henney is the President and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) based out of Columbus, Ohio. Chris has been with OABA since May 2011 and directs the vision, mission and strategy of the organization. OABA has been an Asmark affiliated state association since 2006.

Luke Jacobs is CEO and Co-founder of Encamp based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Encamp, created in 2017, uses modern technology to file SARA Tier IIs and streamline  the annual filing requirement. The Asmark + Encamp Tier II process was developed in 2018 to help close the gap from data collection and product information to submission of the filing through the various state systems creating a one-and-done process for Asmark's retainer clients.

Kellie Bray, Chief of Staff with CropLife America, has joined as an advisor to serve alongside the other national associations.  Kellie has been with CropLife America since 2008. Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and CropLife America (CLA) serve as advisors to the eight directors on Asmark Institute's Board.

All three new members bring uniquely valuable perspectives adding to the diversity of the Asmark Institute Board of Directors.  Welcome Chris, Luke and Kellie!

Tennessee Farmers Coop CEO Bart Krisle Set to Retire

Bart Krisle, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) CEO, will be retiring on June 4th after a career spanning 38 years.  Bart has served as CEO for the last 14 years.  He joined the TFC staff in 1983 as a field auditor and has served in various capacities within the cooperative through the years. In 1987, he was named to the Internal Auditing Department staff and in 1988 became manager of the Member Support Department in the information services area. Bart was named Region 2 operations specialist in 1992 and held that position until being selected to fill the role of chief operating officer in 1999.

Asmark has had the pleasure of working with TFC since 2003.  Through our relationship with TFC, Asmark moved the Emergency Response for Agricultural Incidents Training Course to LaVergne, TN in 2009. This was made possible when Bart graciously offered a building they weren't utilizing to Asmark to lease and use.  Being only 20 minutes from the Nashville airport, the location has been ideal for Asmark and our training course instructor and participants.  To date, 3,178 participants have been trained at the LaVergne Training Center due to this collaborative effort.

Shannon Huff has been selected by the TFC Board of Directors to succeed Bart as CEO.  Huff served as TFC CFO since 2006 before being appointed CEO. Congrats to both Bart and Shannon on the next stage in their careers!  We wish Bart the very best in his retirement and are excited to work alongside Shannon for years to come.

OSHA AG-30 Hour Course - Registration Open!

Registration is now open for a limited number of Summer and Fall OSHA AG-30 Hour Courses.  Register now and reserve a spot before seats fill up!  The OSHA AG-30 Hour Course is the only ag specific OSHA training in the country, and is an OSHA approved outreach training program.

Lead instructor, Brian Miller, President of Miller Risk Management, has more than 35 years experience.  Brian holds a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation, is a Certified Professional EHS Auditor (CPEA) and is OSHA-authorized to provide this training.  Brian has a talent for turning what could potentially be a boring subject, into training that grabs your attention and keeps you engaged.

Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives.  Upon completion of the course, the participants will receive a 30 Hour General Industry Health and Safety OSHA card.  Classes are limited to 24 participants, so register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

Driver's License Tracking System Expanded

Asmark has begun collecting and tracking Non-Traditional CDLs (Permit and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal), in addition to the Operator License/CDL that we already maintain.  This additional information is collected through New Hire/Re-hire submissions and EZ Update's Change DOT Driver License under the Employee section.

Tracking this additional license type information will help Asmark's ability to more accurately maintain the driver qualification files for those who hold CDL Permits or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDLs, keeping them up-to-date and in compliance.  It will also add a layer of ease for our clients, so that they do not have to track these temporary CDLs, as it allows for logic to be applied to this tracking system that will automatically switch a driver's license type in our system without our Driver File Team having to be notified the day of the issue or expiration.  As usual, when a license type is changed to any type of CDL, we will continue to prompt for a DOT Federal Drug Screen and FMCSA Clearinghouse Pre-employment Query.

Aside from the traditional Operator License/CDL info that is already in our system, the additional license information for the Non-Traditional CDLs (Permits and Ag-Restricted/Seasonal) that we will collect includes:
  1. Type of CDL
  2. Issue Date*
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Copy of Documentation (can be uploaded through the Hub or emailed to dqf@asmark.org)
*A future date can be entered for a Non-Traditional CDL (Permit or Ag-Restricted/Seasonal CDL).  If a future issue date is entered, we will not prompt for the necessary DOT requirements that go along with holding a CDL, until just before the issue date is reached.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Driver File Team at 270-926-4600 Ext 501 or dqf@asmark.org.

COVID Waiver Rolls On

DOT has extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) and permits, as well as Non-CDL licenses for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, until August 31, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Some CMV drivers have been unable to renew their licenses and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies, due to the states experiencing backlogs or reduced hours of operation.  The pace of return to normal operations has varied across the country.  DOT intends to review the status of this waiver as of July 1, 2021 and may act to terminate the waiver sooner if conditions warrant.

Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificate.  Asmark will continue to mark drivers that fall within the specified timeframe of the waiver as "Attention Needed" on both Snapshots and the monthly status reports.  Drivers are still encouraged to obtain their renewed licenses and medical certificates as soon as possible.

OSHA Proposes WWS Clarifications

OSHA is proposing updates in the handrail and stair rail system requirements for the Walking-Working Surfaces (WWS) standard.  Since the final rule in 2016, the agency has received numerous questions asking when handrails are required, and about the height requirements for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems. One clarification is that a stair rail system with a handrail is required on the open side of certain stairways.  Another eases a restriction on previously-installed stair rail systems by allowing the top rail of those systems to serve as a handrail when it is as low as 30 inches.

This proposed rule does not reopen any of the regulatory decisions made in the 2016 rulemaking for discussion.  It only seeks to clarify the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems finalized in 2016, and provide flexibility in the transition to OSHA’s newer requirements.  Any comments on the proposal must be submitted by July 19.

Emergency Response Refresher Training  - On the Road Again!

After a year hiatus due to COVID-19, we are excited to announce we are ready to get back out on the road.  Registration for the summer Annual Refresher Training is now open.  Invitations to attend the annual 8-hour Refresher Course have been mailed out to those who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course.  There are several location changes this year.  Check out the location calendar to find the location most convenient.

Covid-19 Precautions - Participant safety is a top priority.  Our goal is to provide the required training safely, while following the guidelines of local, state and national agencies.  More information will be provided in the confirmation packet materials.  If you have questions or need more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.  She'll be happy to help!

EPA Procedures Questioned in 2018 Dicamba Registration Decision

The EPA Office of Inspector General recently released a report detailing how EPA deviated from typical procedures in its 2018 dicamba pesticide registration decision.  Report highlights conclude that EPA did not conduct the required internal peer reviews of scientific documents created to support the dicamba decision and staff felt constrained or muted in sharing their concerns about the registrations.  The report recommendations and planned agency corrective actions are:
  • Implement a procedure requiring senior managers or policy makers to document changes to scientific opinions, analyses, and conclusions in pesticide registration decisions as well as their basis for such changes.
  • Require verification from EPA administrators that Scientific Integrity Policy requirements were reviewed and followed during pesticide registration decisions.

  • Annually conduct training for all staff on the agency’s commitment to the Scientific Integrity Policy.

Annual Fit Test Delay Extended Until September

Due to the continued concerns regarding personal protective equipment shortages, EPA is extending the "annual fit test delay" to September 30, 2021 as part of the previously issued guidance on respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers.

This revision is in alignment with OSHA memos on respirators and addresses Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requirements.  If there is a delay of an annual fit test caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, handlers must have received an annual fit test during calendar year 2019 or 2020 on the specific make and model of respirator they will continue to use.  Handlers must have not had a physiological change that affects the seal between the face-piece and the user’s face.  The employer must demonstrate that the handler has received respirator training in the previous 12 months and inform the handler of the time-limited change to the annual fit test requirement.

Independent Contractor Rule Withdrawn

Just months after being issued, the Department of Labor is officially withdrawing the prior administration's independent contractor rule.  Now that the rule has been withdrawn, employers must utilize the seven-factor economic realities test that was used previously to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.  These factors are:
  1. The extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the principal’s business.
  2. The permanency of the relationship.
  3. The amount of the alleged contractor’s investment in facilities and equipment.
  4. The nature and degree of control by the principal.
  5. The alleged contractor’s opportunities for profit and loss.
  6. The amount of initiative, judgment or foresight in open market competition with others required for the success of the claimed independent contractor.
  7. The degree of independent business organization and operation.

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.