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Newsletter
Volume 88
March 1, 2011
March 1st Deadline Passes
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 are quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the deadline, just in case the SARA Tier II reports are still sitting on someone's desk.
Ammonia Technician Course
Gary Grant, lead instructor of the new Ammonia Technician Course, showing a cut-away of an ammonia pump during the first training session February 14-16th. The new course is extremely hands-on and designed for facility personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity and safety of ammonia operations.
Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or 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.
Pesticide-Production Report Update
The Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt by U.S. EPA of the Pesticide Production Report for each of our clients. All clients' reports were shipped on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by Tuesday, March 1st. You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to U.S. EPA for your records in the next couple of weeks. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 233.
A Must Read....
The President and CEO of CropLife America, Jay Vroom, recently called our attention to an article that was a pleasure to read. In honor of the 100th birthday of President Reagan, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture John Block posted an article online discussing Reagan's work. Block's tribute highlights Reagan's work to lift the Russian grain embargo in 1981, at a time when U.S. farmers were seriously hurting. Vroom said he "enjoyed reading this article knowing the work his former neighbors had done." President Reagan was born in Dixon, Illinois just a few miles north of Vroom's home farm, and Secretary Block's home farm was in Knox County, less than 100 miles from Vroom's home! It's not surprising that the likes of Reagan, Block and Vroom come from Illinois agriculture, but it comes as a good feeling to be represented in Washington by someone with such deep-seated roots in agriculture. Click here to review this remarkable article.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2010 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. 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.
'Tis the............New Hire Season
Spring is just around the corner and the hiring season has begun. Please remember all new hires and re-hires need to be submitted through the "New Hire Kit" section of the Asmark Institute website before they start to work for your company. Seasonal employees tend to be more susceptible to accidents because they may not be familiar with their new workplace. New Hire Kits are personalized to the new employees' responsibilities and may include Driver Qualification Files, DOT, OSHA or EPA training and certifications, and in some cases, even employment papers. For re-hires, we automatically search our databases to see if they have ever completed a Driver File or training. We use the results of this research to reduce the paperwork, making sure you only receive what is necessary to complete their files. Be sure to return the documents by the date on the bottom of the packing slip so that the person is qualified to work as soon as possible.
NPDES Permit Update......April 9th Deadline Rapidly Approaching
The House Committees on Agriculture and Transportation jointly held a hearing on Wednesday, February 16th to consider reducing the regulatory burdens posed by the decision of NCC vs. EPA. Chairman Jean Schmidt (R-OH), particularly noted that having exhausted all judicial review options, and without Congressional action, the 6th Circuit Court's order will impose a serious burden on applicators, EPA and state regulatory agencies alike. Ranking Member Joe Baca (D-CA) also commented on working to find a legislative solution that ensures FIFRA primacy while continuing the upmost level of safety. CropLife America expects legislation to be introduced in the near future that verifies that pesticides applied in accordance with FIFRA would not be considered a point-source pollutant and would not require NPDES permits.
Testimony was provided by Steve Bradbury (EPA); Commissioner John Salazar (National Association of State Department of Agriculture); Dr. Andrew Fisk (Maine Department of Environmental Protection); Dominick V. Ninivaggi (on behalf of the American Mosquito Control Association); and Norm Semanko (Idaho Water Users Association). Speakers on the second panel reportedly did an excellent job of conveying the potential impact of NPDES permitting on local governments, regulators, applicators and beyond. Domonick Ninivaggi made a compelling argument to the potential public health impact, as mosquito control would simply disappear in less affluent areas due to permitting and administrative costs.
Prior to the hearing, CropLife America signed onto letters submitted to both House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) asking Congress to take action on this issue, as the April 9th deadline is rapidly approaching. For additional information, please go to CropLife America's website.
Watch Your Mail for the 2010 Regulatory Posters
New 2011 colorful and expanded posters are expected to ship later this month, slightly later than normal, but just in time for busy season. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2010 posters with the updated 2011 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 213.
Northwood University Survey: Public Policies Affect Economic Performance
Northwood University constructed a brief comparison of public policies in the states that had the "best" economic outlook in 2010 (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota and Florida) with those that had the "worst" (New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois and California). The findings are interesting and thought-provoking.
  • Four out of the five "best" outlook states were right-to-work states while all five of the "worst" outlook states were union shop states.
  • All five of the "best" outlook states had the lowest minimum wage rate in the country while three of the five "worst" outlook states had among the highest minimum wage rates in the country.
  • In general, the state tax reforms implemented in 2008 and 2009 greatly favored the "best" outlook states and in general were less friendly to growth in the "worst" outlook states. Large budget deficits loom in the "worst" states leaving us to believe that tax increases are on the horizon for these states.
  • Personal, corporate and inheritance taxes in the "best" outlook states are among the lowest in the country for four of the five states in this category and at a reasonable level in Arizona. The five states with the "worst" outlook are among the highest in said categories.
  • Finally, the "best" outlook states realized a population growth total of roughly 2.3 million people from 1999-2008, while the "worst" outlook states saw their population decline by a total of just under 4.3 million over the same period.
Northwood University concluded they believe that comprehensive bench-marking of "best practices" with other countries will be of immense help to our federal government, while the same practice can clearly be used within the governments of our 50 states.
Modern Agriculture Animated Video
A vehicle to effectively and easily educate those in your community is to show and share the CropLife America modern agriculture animated video. This video provides information on how modern agricultural techniques will continue to invigorate the agricultural industry. Modern agriculture is a term used to describe the wide majority of production practices employed by America's farmers. Over 90% of farmers today embrace using the most innovative practices and growing techniques to produce enough food, fuel and fiber for a growing world, while minimizing their environmental footprint at the same time. The term "modern agriculture" depicts their commitment to innovation, stewardship and meeting the global food challenge all at once - there is nothing conventional about that.
By 2050, the world's population is expected to grow to nearly nine billion - the equivalent of two more Chinas - while the ratio of arable to population continues to decrease. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that global food production must double by 2050, and 70 percent of the world's additional food needs can be produced only with new and adapting agricultural technologies. In light of this challenge, modern agriculture enables farmers to utilize new innovations, research and scientific advancements to produce safe, sustainable and affordable food. Intensive scientific research and robust investment in modern agriculture during the past 50 years has helped farmers double food production while essentially freezing the footprint of total cultivated farmland.
This allows for responsible food production: new technologies help farmers use precise applications and fewer inputs, leading to increased productivity and higher yields, and creates an affordable supply of nutritious food and produce for those who need it most. Click here to view the Modern Agriculture video.
OSHA Issues New Enforcement Directive for PPE
OSHA issued a new enforcement directive on February 10, 2011 to provide general enforcement policy and guidance related to personal protective equipment. The new directive, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, will assist OSHA inspectors in conducting workplace inspections. It replaces previous inspection guidelines for the PPE standard for general industry workplaces. Click here for a copy of OSHA's directive. The following is a summary of key provisions in the directive:
  • Clarifies what type of PPE employers must provide at no cost, when employers must pay for PPE or for replacement PPE and when employers are not required to pay for PPE.
  • Clarifies the PPE payment requirements for PPE worn off the jobsite, for PPE that must remain at the jobsite and for employee-owned PPE.
  • Sets forth enforcement policies that reflect court and review commission decisions concerning PPE.
  • Provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with the most recent national consensus standards.
  • Recognizes more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards and deletes editions of the national consensus standards that PPE must meet if purchased before a specified date.
  • Amends OSHA provision that requires safety shoes to comply with a specific American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.
Retailers Take Notice! $54,922 RMP Violation
U.S. EPA Region 7 located in Kansas City, Kansas announced February 22, 2011 a retail farm supply located in southeast Missouri agreed to pay a $54,922 civil penalty for Risk Management Program (RMP) violations. The retailer sells liquid fertilizer made with anhydrous ammonia. EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to the Kennett facility in July 2010, after an inspection noted eight violations of the RMP regulations contained in the Federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, the retailer failed to establish and implement maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing integrity of its anhydrous ammonia process equipment and failed to document that the equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, among other violations. Facilities that mix or blend fertilizers using anhydrous ammonia, but which do not sell anhydrous ammonia directly to farmers, must implement the most stringent type of Risk Management Program, known as the Program 3 Prevention Program. The retailer failed to comply with the Program 3 Prevention Program requirements.
Note: This retailer prepared and submitted a current Program 2 RMP, but because they used the ammonia in a mix/blend to produce liquid fertilizers, and did not sell anhydrous ammonia directly to customers, the most stringent type of Risk Management Program, known as the Program 3 RMP was determined to be required by U.S. EPA. If you mix/blend anhydrous ammonia to produce liquid fertilizers, then a Program 3 RMP may be required for your facility. If you have questions, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 203 or Allen Summers at allen@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 201.
1099 Reporting Mandate Repealed in U.S. House
On February 17th, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approved two pieces of legislation, H.R. 4, the "Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011," and H.R. 705, the "Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011," which repeals the 1099 reporting mandate in the new health care law. The reporting mandate required small businesses to file a 1099 form with the IRS for every vendor they pay more than $600 in a year and created a heavy burden for small businesses through unnecessary paperwork that takes time, energy and resources, instead of helping to create jobs, according to the Automotive Service Association.
Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.) Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee said during the hearing, "The legislation approved by the committee today is a victory for America's small businesses, families and individuals. Congress should make every effort to reduce the heavy burden of paperwork that takes time, energy and resources away from creating jobs. Families and individuals who do something as common as rent out a room and either replace an appliance at their rental property or pay a lawn service should not have to worry about the added headache of reporting that transaction to the IRS."
New RUP Classification for Soil Fumigants
EPA recently announced it is requiring extensive new safety measures for soil fumigants to increase protections for agricultural workers and those who live, work or otherwise spend time near fields that are fumigated. The products affected are chloropicrin, dazomet, metam sodium/potassium and methyl bromide. All soil fumigant products containing any of these active ingredients will now be classified as restricted-use pesticides (RUP). The products in EPA's recent announcement, join three products (methyl bromide, 1,3-dichloropropene and chloropicrin) previously regulated as RUPs. EPA has determined that all of the soil fumigants undergoing reregistration meet the criteria for restricted use, and therefore, has reclassified metam sodium/potassium and dazomet as restricted-use pesticides. RUP dealers can only sell RUPs to certified pesticide applicators and must meet state licensing and recordkeeping requirements. All applicators, and persons involved in the application of RUPs, must be certified. The new required safety measures will occur in two phases as outlined below:
Phase 1:
EPA is requiring that all affected products sold and distributed by pesticide manufacturers or labelers (registrants) after December 31, 2010 must contain the following safety measures on the product label:
  • Restricted use pesticide (RUP) classification
  • Detailed site specific fumigant management plan (FMP)
  • Handler and worker protections
  • Mandatory good agricultural practices
  • Rate reductions and use site limitations
  • Training information for workers
Phase 2:
Similarly, in late 2011 EPA will require that all affected products sold and distributed by pesticide manufacturers or labelers (registrants) must contain the following safety measures on the product labels:
  • All of the items listed in Phase 1
  • Buffer zones and credits for best practices
  • Buffer zone posting requirements
  • Buffer zone overlap prohibitions
  • Detailed site specific fumigant management plan (FMP) (expanded requirements to include buffer zones)
  • Restrictions on applications near sensitive areas
  • First responder and community outreach
  • Applicator training provided by the registrant
  • Emergency preparedness and response requirements
The new safety measures are extensive and as a result, the new product labels are substantially longer. Applicators will need to read and understand the new labels in advance of making applications in 2011 as there are several requirements that will require advanced preparation. The fumigant management plan (FMP) label requirements are very extensive and prescriptive. Applicators will be required to ensure that a written site-specific FMP exists prior to the application. The applicator supervising the application must also complete a post-application summary within 30 days if there are any deviations from the FMP. Click here for more information.
Industry to Congress - EPA Fight With Florida Coming to a State Near You
A coalition of national industry associations recently warned Congress that U.S. EPA's move to impose tougher water pollution limits in Florida could become a model for similar actions in other states and ultimately cost taxpayers and businesses billions of dollars at questionable environmental benefit. EPA immediately fired back, rejecting the claim and noting that the numeric limits on nutrient pollution the agency imposed on Florida last year were required under a settlement agreement EPA struck with environmental groups. The groups had filed suit alleging that federal regulators stood idly by for years as the state continuously failed to enforce the Clean Water Act, allowing phosphorus and nitrogen, components of fertilizer and byproducts of sewage and wastewater treatment to saturate waterways.
"While states are free to control nutrient pollution, and many are starting to, EPA has no plans to establish numeric nutrient criteria in any other states," EPA said in a statement responding to the industry letter. "The establishment of numeric limits of nutrient pollution in Florida was due to specific legal challenges about the State of Florida's implementation of the Clean Water Act." Industries sounded the alarm in a letter to all members of House and Senate. It was the latest and most widely distributed entreaty yet from agriculture, fertilizer, chemical, homebuilder and manufacturing interests - 67 groups altogether - that have been urging members of Congress to stop EPA from implementing and enforcing the new water pollution rules in Florida.
The president's budget request included $6.6 million to address excessive nutrient loadings in the Gulf of Mexico that contribute to the dead zone, implement strategies to reduce nutrient pollution from "non-point sources" such as fertilized crops runoff and coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Geological Survey to implement sustainable farm practices and monitor reductions. Representative Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) moved to block EPA's effort, filing an amendment to the House GOP leadership's proposed spending plan that would block the agency from spending money to "implement, administer or enforce" the new water quality standards. "Unfortunately, the EPA is using Florida as a guinea pig with this proposed rule," said Rooney spokesman Michael Mahaffey.
Bill Targets Shippers Who Delay Truckers....Really?
A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives would make shippers and receivers accountable for their contribution to the lack of productivity in the transportation supply chain and according to Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), would make significant improvements to highway safety.
DeFazio introduced the bill, H.R. 756, to address the problem of excessive wait times for trucks at shipping and receiving facilities otherwise known as "detention time." This is an issue truckers have continually brought to the attention of lawmakers and policymakers because of how it affects hours-of-service regulations, productivity and highway safety. DeFazio's bill follows a Government Accountability Office report that found 80 percent of drivers detained had trouble complying with hours of service rules. "Detaining truckers at loading docks is a significant problem the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) needs to regulate," DeFazio said. If passed, DeFazio's bill would require FMCSA to set standards for maximum numbers of hours a driver may be detained and not compensated.
Most Notable: Interest Payments on U.S. Debt Expected to Surge
Interest due on U.S. national debt is expected to quadruple in the next 10 years, according to President Obama's budget proposal. That amounts to more than $2,500 a year for every person in the U.S. Beginning in 2014, the nation's borrowing costs will exceed the total for transportation, energy, education and all other discretionary programs other than military spending.
2011 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.
March 1st Deadline Passes
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 are quite severe for non-compliance. We believe it is prudent to remind our clients of the deadline, just in case the SARA Tier II reports are still sitting on someone's desk.
Ammonia Technician Course
Gary Grant, lead instructor of the new Ammonia Technician Course, showing a cut-away of an ammonia pump during the first training session February 14-16th. The new course is extremely hands-on and designed for facility personnel responsible for the mechanical integrity and safety of ammonia operations.
Each of our clients required to submit a SARA Tier II Report received either a Master Report to be used by the facility personnel in reporting and certifying the data electronically as mandated by their state, or 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.
Pesticide-Production Report Update
The Asmark Institute submits and documents receipt by U.S. EPA of the Pesticide Production Report for each of our clients. All clients' reports were shipped on schedule to be received by U.S. EPA by Tuesday, March 1st. You will receive your file copy and documentation of delivery to U.S. EPA for your records in the next couple of weeks. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Nick Lawrence at nick@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 233.
A Must Read....
The President and CEO of CropLife America, Jay Vroom, recently called our attention to an article that was a pleasure to read. In honor of the 100th birthday of President Reagan, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture John Block posted an article online discussing Reagan's work. Block's tribute highlights Reagan's work to lift the Russian grain embargo in 1981, at a time when U.S. farmers were seriously hurting. Vroom said he "enjoyed reading this article knowing the work his former neighbors had done." President Reagan was born in Dixon, Illinois just a few miles north of Vroom's home farm, and Secretary Block's home farm was in Knox County, less than 100 miles from Vroom's home! It's not surprising that the likes of Reagan, Block and Vroom come from Illinois agriculture, but it comes as a good feeling to be represented in Washington by someone with such deep-seated roots in agriculture. Click here to review this remarkable article.
Reminder: Time to Post Your 300A
It's time to complete your 2010 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. 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.
'Tis the............New Hire Season
Spring is just around the corner and the hiring season has begun. Please remember all new hires and re-hires need to be submitted through the "New Hire Kit" section of the Asmark Institute website before they start to work for your company. Seasonal employees tend to be more susceptible to accidents because they may not be familiar with their new workplace. New Hire Kits are personalized to the new employees' responsibilities and may include Driver Qualification Files, DOT, OSHA or EPA training and certifications, and in some cases, even employment papers. For re-hires, we automatically search our databases to see if they have ever completed a Driver File or training. We use the results of this research to reduce the paperwork, making sure you only receive what is necessary to complete their files. Be sure to return the documents by the date on the bottom of the packing slip so that the person is qualified to work as soon as possible.
NPDES Permit Update......April 9th Deadline Rapidly Approaching
The House Committees on Agriculture and Transportation jointly held a hearing on Wednesday, February 16th to consider reducing the regulatory burdens posed by the decision of NCC vs. EPA. Chairman Jean Schmidt (R-OH), particularly noted that having exhausted all judicial review options, and without Congressional action, the 6th Circuit Court's order will impose a serious burden on applicators, EPA and state regulatory agencies alike. Ranking Member Joe Baca (D-CA) also commented on working to find a legislative solution that ensures FIFRA primacy while continuing the upmost level of safety. CropLife America expects legislation to be introduced in the near future that verifies that pesticides applied in accordance with FIFRA would not be considered a point-source pollutant and would not require NPDES permits.
Testimony was provided by Steve Bradbury (EPA); Commissioner John Salazar (National Association of State Department of Agriculture); Dr. Andrew Fisk (Maine Department of Environmental Protection); Dominick V. Ninivaggi (on behalf of the American Mosquito Control Association); and Norm Semanko (Idaho Water Users Association). Speakers on the second panel reportedly did an excellent job of conveying the potential impact of NPDES permitting on local governments, regulators, applicators and beyond. Domonick Ninivaggi made a compelling argument to the potential public health impact, as mosquito control would simply disappear in less affluent areas due to permitting and administrative costs.
Prior to the hearing, CropLife America signed onto letters submitted to both House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) asking Congress to take action on this issue, as the April 9th deadline is rapidly approaching. For additional information, please go to CropLife America's website.
Watch Your Mail for the 2010 Regulatory Posters
New 2011 colorful and expanded posters are expected to ship later this month, slightly later than normal, but just in time for busy season. As a reminder, please be sure to replace all outdated 2010 posters with the updated 2011 posters. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Amber Duke at amber@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 213.
Northwood University Survey: Public Policies Affect Economic Performance
Northwood University constructed a brief comparison of public policies in the states that had the "best" economic outlook in 2010 (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota and Florida) with those that had the "worst" (New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois and California). The findings are interesting and thought-provoking.
  • Four out of the five "best" outlook states were right-to-work states while all five of the "worst" outlook states were union shop states.
  • All five of the "best" outlook states had the lowest minimum wage rate in the country while three of the five "worst" outlook states had among the highest minimum wage rates in the country.
  • In general, the state tax reforms implemented in 2008 and 2009 greatly favored the "best" outlook states and in general were less friendly to growth in the "worst" outlook states. Large budget deficits loom in the "worst" states leaving us to believe that tax increases are on the horizon for these states.
  • Personal, corporate and inheritance taxes in the "best" outlook states are among the lowest in the country for four of the five states in this category and at a reasonable level in Arizona. The five states with the "worst" outlook are among the highest in said categories.
  • Finally, the "best" outlook states realized a population growth total of roughly 2.3 million people from 1999-2008, while the "worst" outlook states saw their population decline by a total of just under 4.3 million over the same period.
Northwood University concluded they believe that comprehensive bench-marking of "best practices" with other countries will be of immense help to our federal government, while the same practice can clearly be used within the governments of our 50 states.
Modern Agriculture Animated Video
A vehicle to effectively and easily educate those in your community is to show and share the CropLife America modern agriculture animated video. This video provides information on how modern agricultural techniques will continue to invigorate the agricultural industry. Modern agriculture is a term used to describe the wide majority of production practices employed by America's farmers. Over 90% of farmers today embrace using the most innovative practices and growing techniques to produce enough food, fuel and fiber for a growing world, while minimizing their environmental footprint at the same time. The term "modern agriculture" depicts their commitment to innovation, stewardship and meeting the global food challenge all at once - there is nothing conventional about that.
By 2050, the world's population is expected to grow to nearly nine billion - the equivalent of two more Chinas - while the ratio of arable to population continues to decrease. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that global food production must double by 2050, and 70 percent of the world's additional food needs can be produced only with new and adapting agricultural technologies. In light of this challenge, modern agriculture enables farmers to utilize new innovations, research and scientific advancements to produce safe, sustainable and affordable food. Intensive scientific research and robust investment in modern agriculture during the past 50 years has helped farmers double food production while essentially freezing the footprint of total cultivated farmland.
This allows for responsible food production: new technologies help farmers use precise applications and fewer inputs, leading to increased productivity and higher yields, and creates an affordable supply of nutritious food and produce for those who need it most. Click here to view the Modern Agriculture video.
OSHA Issues New Enforcement Directive for PPE
OSHA issued a new enforcement directive on February 10, 2011 to provide general enforcement policy and guidance related to personal protective equipment. The new directive, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, will assist OSHA inspectors in conducting workplace inspections. It replaces previous inspection guidelines for the PPE standard for general industry workplaces. Click here for a copy of OSHA's directive. The following is a summary of key provisions in the directive:
  • Clarifies what type of PPE employers must provide at no cost, when employers must pay for PPE or for replacement PPE and when employers are not required to pay for PPE.
  • Clarifies the PPE payment requirements for PPE worn off the jobsite, for PPE that must remain at the jobsite and for employee-owned PPE.
  • Sets forth enforcement policies that reflect court and review commission decisions concerning PPE.
  • Provides guidance that allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with the most recent national consensus standards.
  • Recognizes more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards and deletes editions of the national consensus standards that PPE must meet if purchased before a specified date.
  • Amends OSHA provision that requires safety shoes to comply with a specific American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.
Retailers Take Notice! $54,922 RMP Violation
U.S. EPA Region 7 located in Kansas City, Kansas announced February 22, 2011 a retail farm supply located in southeast Missouri agreed to pay a $54,922 civil penalty for Risk Management Program (RMP) violations. The retailer sells liquid fertilizer made with anhydrous ammonia. EPA Region 7 issued an administrative compliance order to the Kennett facility in July 2010, after an inspection noted eight violations of the RMP regulations contained in the Federal Clean Air Act. Specifically, the retailer failed to establish and implement maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing integrity of its anhydrous ammonia process equipment and failed to document that the equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, among other violations. Facilities that mix or blend fertilizers using anhydrous ammonia, but which do not sell anhydrous ammonia directly to farmers, must implement the most stringent type of Risk Management Program, known as the Program 3 Prevention Program. The retailer failed to comply with the Program 3 Prevention Program requirements.
Note: This retailer prepared and submitted a current Program 2 RMP, but because they used the ammonia in a mix/blend to produce liquid fertilizers, and did not sell anhydrous ammonia directly to customers, the most stringent type of Risk Management Program, known as the Program 3 RMP was determined to be required by U.S. EPA. If you mix/blend anhydrous ammonia to produce liquid fertilizers, then a Program 3 RMP may be required for your facility. If you have questions, please contact Dustin Warder at dustin@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 203 or Allen Summers at allen@asmark.org or 270-926-4600, Extension 201.
1099 Reporting Mandate Repealed in U.S. House
On February 17th, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approved two pieces of legislation, H.R. 4, the "Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011," and H.R. 705, the "Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011," which repeals the 1099 reporting mandate in the new health care law. The reporting mandate required small businesses to file a 1099 form with the IRS for every vendor they pay more than $600 in a year and created a heavy burden for small businesses through unnecessary paperwork that takes time, energy and resources, instead of helping to create jobs, according to the Automotive Service Association.
Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.) Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee said during the hearing, "The legislation approved by the committee today is a victory for America's small businesses, families and individuals. Congress should make every effort to reduce the heavy burden of paperwork that takes time, energy and resources away from creating jobs. Families and individuals who do something as common as rent out a room and either replace an appliance at their rental property or pay a lawn service should not have to worry about the added headache of reporting that transaction to the IRS."
New RUP Classification for Soil Fumigants
EPA recently announced it is requiring extensive new safety measures for soil fumigants to increase protections for agricultural workers and those who live, work or otherwise spend time near fields that are fumigated. The products affected are chloropicrin, dazomet, metam sodium/potassium and methyl bromide. All soil fumigant products containing any of these active ingredients will now be classified as restricted-use pesticides (RUP). The products in EPA's recent announcement, join three products (methyl bromide, 1,3-dichloropropene and chloropicrin) previously regulated as RUPs. EPA has determined that all of the soil fumigants undergoing reregistration meet the criteria for restricted use, and therefore, has reclassified metam sodium/potassium and dazomet as restricted-use pesticides. RUP dealers can only sell RUPs to certified pesticide applicators and must meet state licensing and recordkeeping requirements. All applicators, and persons involved in the application of RUPs, must be certified. The new required safety measures will occur in two phases as outlined below:
Phase 1:
EPA is requiring that all affected products sold and distributed by pesticide manufacturers or labelers (registrants) after December 31, 2010 must contain the following safety measures on the product label:
  • Restricted use pesticide (RUP) classification
  • Detailed site specific fumigant management plan (FMP)
  • Handler and worker protections
  • Mandatory good agricultural practices
  • Rate reductions and use site limitations
  • Training information for workers
Phase 2:
Similarly, in late 2011 EPA will require that all affected products sold and distributed by pesticide manufacturers or labelers (registrants) must contain the following safety measures on the product labels:
  • All of the items listed in Phase 1
  • Buffer zones and credits for best practices
  • Buffer zone posting requirements
  • Buffer zone overlap prohibitions
  • Detailed site specific fumigant management plan (FMP) (expanded requirements to include buffer zones)
  • Restrictions on applications near sensitive areas
  • First responder and community outreach
  • Applicator training provided by the registrant
  • Emergency preparedness and response requirements
The new safety measures are extensive and as a result, the new product labels are substantially longer. Applicators will need to read and understand the new labels in advance of making applications in 2011 as there are several requirements that will require advanced preparation. The fumigant management plan (FMP) label requirements are very extensive and prescriptive. Applicators will be required to ensure that a written site-specific FMP exists prior to the application. The applicator supervising the application must also complete a post-application summary within 30 days if there are any deviations from the FMP. Click here for more information.
Industry to Congress - EPA Fight With Florida Coming to a State Near You
A coalition of national industry associations recently warned Congress that U.S. EPA's move to impose tougher water pollution limits in Florida could become a model for similar actions in other states and ultimately cost taxpayers and businesses billions of dollars at questionable environmental benefit. EPA immediately fired back, rejecting the claim and noting that the numeric limits on nutrient pollution the agency imposed on Florida last year were required under a settlement agreement EPA struck with environmental groups. The groups had filed suit alleging that federal regulators stood idly by for years as the state continuously failed to enforce the Clean Water Act, allowing phosphorus and nitrogen, components of fertilizer and byproducts of sewage and wastewater treatment to saturate waterways.
"While states are free to control nutrient pollution, and many are starting to, EPA has no plans to establish numeric nutrient criteria in any other states," EPA said in a statement responding to the industry letter. "The establishment of numeric limits of nutrient pollution in Florida was due to specific legal challenges about the State of Florida's implementation of the Clean Water Act." Industries sounded the alarm in a letter to all members of House and Senate. It was the latest and most widely distributed entreaty yet from agriculture, fertilizer, chemical, homebuilder and manufacturing interests - 67 groups altogether - that have been urging members of Congress to stop EPA from implementing and enforcing the new water pollution rules in Florida.
The president's budget request included $6.6 million to address excessive nutrient loadings in the Gulf of Mexico that contribute to the dead zone, implement strategies to reduce nutrient pollution from "non-point sources" such as fertilized crops runoff and coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Geological Survey to implement sustainable farm practices and monitor reductions. Representative Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) moved to block EPA's effort, filing an amendment to the House GOP leadership's proposed spending plan that would block the agency from spending money to "implement, administer or enforce" the new water quality standards. "Unfortunately, the EPA is using Florida as a guinea pig with this proposed rule," said Rooney spokesman Michael Mahaffey.
Bill Targets Shippers Who Delay Truckers....Really?
A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives would make shippers and receivers accountable for their contribution to the lack of productivity in the transportation supply chain and according to Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), would make significant improvements to highway safety.
DeFazio introduced the bill, H.R. 756, to address the problem of excessive wait times for trucks at shipping and receiving facilities otherwise known as "detention time." This is an issue truckers have continually brought to the attention of lawmakers and policymakers because of how it affects hours-of-service regulations, productivity and highway safety. DeFazio's bill follows a Government Accountability Office report that found 80 percent of drivers detained had trouble complying with hours of service rules. "Detaining truckers at loading docks is a significant problem the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) needs to regulate," DeFazio said. If passed, DeFazio's bill would require FMCSA to set standards for maximum numbers of hours a driver may be detained and not compensated.
Most Notable: Interest Payments on U.S. Debt Expected to Surge
Interest due on U.S. national debt is expected to quadruple in the next 10 years, according to President Obama's budget proposal. That amounts to more than $2,500 a year for every person in the U.S. Beginning in 2014, the nation's borrowing costs will exceed the total for transportation, energy, education and all other discretionary programs other than military spending.
2011 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.