Volume 222
May 2, 2022

FBI Issues Industry Notice for Agricultural Businesses

On April 20, 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a new Private Industry Notification for agriculture businesses, saying "Cyber actors may perceive cooperatives as lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time sensitive role they play in agricultural production."

There were 8 cyber attacks within the last seven months, 6 of those attacks in the Fall of 2021 against grain cooperatives which resulted in disruption to the food supply chain, and the other 2 attacks in early 2022 that could potentially impact planting season by disrupting seed and fertilizer supplies.

In addition to the threat information, the Private Industry Notification also includes practice recommendations that can be implemented to mitigate threats and protect against ransomware attacks.

Strength in Numbers

It has been said that the strength of a team comes from each individual member and the strength of each member is what makes the team.  This couldn't be more true of Mandy Stephens and the rest of Asmark's Training Team.  Mandy is responsible for receiving, grading and reviewing training certificates for accuracy and completion.  If additional information is needed, she follows up with the location and assists them to ensure all their employees receive credit for current training.

As we continue to develop new training options for our clients, Mandy and the rest of the team are hard at work ensuring all training is processed and handled in a timely manner.  On a monthly basis, they are processing over 75,000 certificates.  In addition to her responsibilities in Training, Mandy is also responsible for entering Inspection Reports, assembling thousands of HandiPlans during Compliance Season, as well as being involved in various shipping projects throughout the year.

Mandy has been married to her husband, Jeremy, for 20 years.  Their family has strength in numbers as well, with three daughters, Emma, Addison and Olivia, and a regal cat named Sir Pounce.  Music is a love of their entire family, as well as spending time outdoors together.  On a typical weekend, you are more than likely going to find them either at the softball field or visiting one of their favorite parks.

Bill Northey Named CEO of AAI

Congratulations to Bill Northey on being named CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI).  He succeeds Joel Brinkmeyer, AAI CEO for the past 9 years, who retired on May 1, 2022.  Bill Northey is the former Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa and has been involved in ag a majority of his life, as he grew up on a family farm in Dickinson County that is still in the family today.

Our congratulations go out to Joel as he looks forward to retirement with his wife, Linda, and to Bill on his new role leading AAI.  The Asmark Institute works to support the retail agricultural industry with its partnerships with State Associations such as AAI, and we look forward to working with Bill Northey in the future.  Congratulations!

Applicator Training Course Registration - Now Open!

Precision application can make the difference between a profitable year and a break-even year, and finding qualified professional applicators can be a problem.  The Applicator Training Course is a collaborative effort between Asmark Institute and AGCO to create a training program dedicated to educating and developing new professional applicators. The two lead instructors, Greg Yoder and Gary Cornell, are both seasoned professional applicators with over 75 years combined experience.

The Applicator Training Course is a four-day course specifically designed for new applicators with less than three years of experience.  The course offers hands-on training where participants learn how to start and assess a field, develop a plan to manage drift, understand sprayer components and systems, reinforces the importance of professionalism, and so much more.

During the course, each participant will test their skills by taking part in a Ride-N-Drive exercise, where they can experience real-life challenges on the mile long all-weather track, which includes a bridge, railroad crossing and a power line hazard - all in a safe and controlled environment.  The Ride-N-Drive fleet includes a TerraGator, John Deere, Case, Hagie, and a brand new 2022 RoGator that is supplied by AGCO from their latest series.

Registration is now open and classes are limited, so don't miss your opportunity to register today.  If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to Patricia at or 270-926-4600 Ext 234.

OSHA Proposes Electronic Reporting Changes

OSHA has announced it is proposing amendments to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation.  In addition to reporting their Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the proposed rule would require certain establishments in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit additional information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, as well as their Injury and Illness Incident Report.

The proposed rule would:

  • Require establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A to OSHA once a year.
  • Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
  • Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.
  • Require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.

Establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA annually.  Comments on the proposal must be received by May 31, 2022.

EPA Proposes New Plan for Spills

EPA has proposed a new regulation that would require certain facilities to develop and submit a facility response plan for a worst-case discharge of Clean Water Act (CWA) hazardous substances.  A worst case discharge is the largest foreseeable discharge in adverse weather conditions.

The facility response plan requirements would apply to onshore, non-transportation-related facilities that could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment, based on their location.  These include facilities with a maximum onsite capacity of a CWA hazardous substance that meets or exceeds threshold quantities and are located within a 0.5-mile radius of navigable water or conveyance to navigable water.  Facilities must also meet one or more of four substantial harm criteria.

Check out the proposal for threshold quantities and substantial harm criteria.  Comments on the proposal are being accepted until May 22, 2022.

Happy Administrative Day!

We would like to wish a Happy Administrative Day to our staff here at the Asmark Institute, as well as those individuals who help keep their locations running and employees up-to-date.  It's that time of year, when many employees are out in the fields, delivering products, along with other job responsibilities, and it's the facility admins who help ensure all employees are qualified and ready for the jobs they have been hired to do.

We appreciate all of your hard work and due diligence in keeping things going to ensure everyone gets home safe and sound!

OSHA Announces Heat Hazards NEP

For the first time, OSHA has launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect workers from indoor and outdoor heat hazards.  Heat illness affects thousands of indoor and outdoor workers each year and can tragically lead to death.  The NEP is a way to immediately improve enforcement and compliance efforts, while continuing long-term work to establish a heat illness prevention rule.

The NEP encourages employers to protect workers from heat hazards by providing employee access to water, rest, shade, adequate training, and implementing acclimatization procedures for new or returning employees.  OSHA will conduct pre-planned inspections in targeted high-risk industries, including agriculture, on any day
that the National Weather Service has announced a heat warning or advisory for the local area.  The NEP will remain in effect until April 8, 2025 unless canceled, extended or replaced by a superseding NEP.

EPA Revises List of Lists

EPA has posted a revised version of the consolidated List of Lists dated April 2022 on their website.  The List of Lists is used as a reference for many regulatory requirements, but most importantly spill reporting.  This revised version replaces the old version dated September 2021.  Access the List of Lists by clicking here.

Asmark clients will see a message posted to the website in the client-portal.  The message contains a link to download and print the revised List of Lists, if needed, to place in their Compliance Filing System. An electronic version is posted to the Compliance Filing System as well for those managing their documents electronically.

Driver's Record of Violations Requirement Removed

FMCSA has amended its regulations to eliminate the requirement that drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce prepare and submit a list of their convictions for traffic violations to their employers annually.  This requirement was duplicative of a separate rule that requires each motor carrier to make an annual inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record (MVR) for each driver it employs from every State in which the driver holds or has held a CMV operator’s license or permit in the past year.  The final rule, becomes effective May 9.

Purdue Releases 2021 Entrapment Report

Since the 1970’s, Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program has been documenting and investigating incidents involving grain storage and handling facilities at both commercial and on-farm locations.  Highlights from the 2021 Summary of US Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities Report show there were no fewer than 29 grain storage and handling related entrapments in 2021, representing a 17.1% decrease over 2020.  Seven grain dust explosions resulting in one fatal and seven non-fatal injuries were documented.  Illinois reported the most grain-entrapment cases in 2021 with five.

Top 10 Most Cited OSHA Violations

OSHA’s list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards for fiscal year 2021 has been finalized.  Federal OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.  Fall protection continues to top the list with other standards swapping positions.

  1. Fall Protection - General Requirements (1926.501)
  2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  3. Ladders (1926.1053)
  4. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  5. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  6. Fall Protection - Training Requirements (1926.503)
  7. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  8. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  10. Machine Guarding (1910.212)

Reminder - Purchase Your Clearinghouse Queries

FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is well into another year, which makes now a great time to remind employers of CDL drivers to take a look at their Clearinghouse account to see if they need to purchase more queries, if they haven't already.  This can potentially hang the process up for those who use a third-party administrator (C/TPA) to conduct their drivers' queries, as only the employer can purchase the query plans.

Employers of CDL drivers must conduct a pre-employment query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse when their drivers are newly employed or rehired, as well as at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ.  The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis, and the one-year time frame resets with each query conducted on a driver.  A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement.  Employers must obtain a general consent from CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse.

Note:  If your company uses the Asmark integrated system for third party administration (TPA), the information on CDL drivers is passed along to Forward Edge & Associates, the integrated TPA, to conduct either the pre-employment or annual queries as needed.

DOT Safe Driving.  It's not just for big rigs.

Pickup trucks have many uses in retail operations, from towing spreaders, tender trailers or anhydrous tanks to delivering bulk bags or pallets of product.

Any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more and used by a business is a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) subject to DOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). But these regulations and the safe driving practices that apply to pickup trucks used for deliveries can be easily overlooked or taken for granted.

Texting Can Be Costly – Don’t Allow It!

The use of cell phones and tablets makes the potential for distracted driving especially high among ag retail employees who are delivering and applying products. The risk increases when location or agronomy managers send an address or a pin on a map that the driver must access.

However, for DOT drivers, texting while driving can result in driver disqualification. Employers who allow or require drivers to use a hand-held communications device for texting while driving can be fined up to $11,000. Drivers who use such devices can pay penalties up to $2,750.

Follow Three Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving:

  1. Have the route and instructions in hand before leaving for a delivery.

  2. Pull off the roadway and stop in a safe location if it is necessary to make or answer a phone call, email or text.

  3. Do not multitask while driving. Adjust mirrors, pick the music, eat a sandwich, make a phone call or read an email before or after the delivery, not while driving.

Pre-trip Preparation is Key for Safe Driving

Do a pre-trip vehicle inspection. Before the trip, check lights, lug nuts, tires and any mechanical aspect of the vehicle such as brakes that might cause an issue while making a delivery.

Equip CMVs with safety equipment. DOT requires these items in all CMVs: spare fuses, first aid kit, mounted, portable fire extinguisher, roadside emergency warning devices and high visibility vest. Ensure they are working properly and easily accessible.

Secure the load, even on short trips. Secure the load to prevent cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing off or falling off the vehicle and to ensure cargo doesn’t come through the back of the cab and injure the driver or slide off a flatbed into the roadway.

Do a pre-trip inspection of towed equipment. Check tires for proper inflation and visible signs of wear. Make sure all lug nuts are in place and tight. Be sure the towed vehicle has a slow-moving vehicle sign or properly working lights on the back.

Double check hitches, safety chains and hooks. Make sure receiver hitches and hitch inserts are free from cracks, broken welds, loose bolts and wear. Hitch pins and ball hitches must be the correct size for both the vehicle and the towed equipment. Always use a lynch pin to keep drawbar pins and hitches from coming unhooked. Safety chains and hooks should be rated for the load being hauled. Finally, be sure the safety closures on chains are working properly so they don’t dislodge on rough roads or come unhooked from the vehicle.

Read our DOT Safe Driving Whitepaper to help ensure every driver is prepared to be as safe as possible on the road.

This safety and compliance reminder brought to you by ResponsibleAg – working to help keep employees, customers and communities safe since 2014.

Committed. Compliant. Safe.