The Missouri Agribusiness Association is committed to the agribusiness industry within the Show-Me State by offering services that will enhance the day-to-day operations of agribusinesses now and in the future.
MO-AG's mission simply states, "The mission of the Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG) is to advocate for the business of agriculture while offering services and networking opportunities for the agribusiness community."
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News You Can Use
2013 MO-AG Winter Convention Registration
It's that time of the year again time for the MO-AG Winter Convention. The Winter Convention is scheduled for December 17-18, 2013 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The brochures have been mailed, but you can also download the exhibitor brochure from our website by clicking here or the attendee brochure by clicking here.
Correction: The lodging rate on the exhibitor brochure should be $91.95 not $88.95 as listed and the trade show hours on the front of the exhibitor brochure are incorrect please reference the times on the schedule in the brochure apologies for the errors.
OSHA Announces Local Emphasis Program (LEP) Targeting Fertilizer Facilities
For more information on the upcoming inspections of agricultural facilities as part of the OSHA LEP, please see OSHA's press release. CLICK HERE. Although OSHA has issued this press release announcing the LEP, to our knowledge, the LEP itself has yet to be released. However, in discussions we have had with OSHA staff, we believe that all agribusiness facilities are possible candidates for inspection and that all aspects of possible violations will be examined. Areas of concerns could include: dust-fire and breathable hazard, confined spaces, corrosiveness of fertilizer on buildings, machine guards, fall hazards, noise hazards, treated feed/seed chemical hazard in regards to employee interaction, electrical safety, and NFPA 70E (Arc Flash). Regarding AN in particular, all of OSHA regulation 1910 could possibly be enforced including 1910.109(i).
We are uncertain as to the details and specifics regarding how OSHA will conduct its inspections and to what standards agricultural facilities will be held to in regards to AN specifically. We have been engaging OSHA and our national affiliates on this question. President Obama's Executive Order on chemical safety has the agencies reviewing all its policies at the same time that this LEP will conducted.
We do have reason to believe that the advisory "Chemical Advisory: Safe Storage, Handling, and Management of Ammonium Nitrate" which was sent out by the EPA, OSHA, and ATF in August 2013 will generally guide the agencies expectations of agricultural facilities. Please CLICK HERE to review a copy of the advisory. You may note that the advisory uses language such as "strongly recommend", "avoid", "if possible", etc. We would especially draw your attention to these statements in the advisory:
* We would strongly recommend that you review your facility's operations in regards to AN storage and handling and the management of combustible material such as grain dust and seeds.
* Store AN fertilizer in separate buildings or separated by approved fire walls from organic, combustible or reactive materials, such as grains, wood or other organic materials.
* AN should also be handled in accordance with safe practices found in NFPA 400 Hazardous Materials Code, Chapter 11.
* AN stores should be separated from incompatible substances by using separate buildings or 1 - hour fire resistant walls, or a minimum separation distance of 30 feet.
* AN storage areas should be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, or have an automatic fire detection and alarm system if the areas are not continuously occupied. This is especially important when the facility in question is close to the public surrounding the facility.
* Suitable fire control devices such as hoses and appropriate portable fire extinguishers shall be provided throughout the warehouse and loading areas. Water supplies and fire hydrants should be available.
Again, MO-AG recommends that you review this entire advisory CLICK HERE.
Four Rs in KC
Increased scrutiny by the EPA on farm nutrient management has The Fertilizer Institute emphasizing to growers the 4Rs for nutrient management and stewardship. Kathy Mathers is the Institute's vice president of public affairs and tells Brownfield Ag News, "It involves the use of the right fertilizer source, the right rate, the right time, and, in the right place. And, I would be willing to bet that all of your listeners are already doing that."
OSHA Uses Crystal Ball to Cite West Fertilizer
While ATF investigators say that ammonium nitrate was detonated in the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant, they don't know how the blast was initiated. They say the origin of the fire that preceded the explosion was in the fertilizer and seed building, but the cause of the fire has not been determined. ATF officials still consider the site a crime scene, preventing the Chemical Safety Board from conducting a thorough investigation into the cause - so we will probably never know with any certainty actually what happened. OSHA, on the other hand, seemed to have used their crystal ball to conjure up 24 violations totaling $118,000 notably during the recent shutdown of the government. OSHA's actions are reprehensible, especially considering many of the violations are based on 29 CFR 1910.109, the explosives standard which has not been proven to be applicable to an agricultural facility like West to begin with. Source: Asmark
It's been two years since $1.6B vanished from the accounts of MF Global customers but now it appears those customers will recover what they lost. A federal bankruptcy court judge has approved a plan that would close the remaining shortfall for some 20,000 customers. The trustee overseeing the return of customer money, James Giddens, had recovered money and gradually disbursed it to clients. But in the face of a roughly $230M gap, Giddens recently petitioned Judge Martin Glenn to free up remaining funds from MF Global Incorporated's general estate. In agreeing, the judge has cleared the way for Giddens to make customers whole possibly by the end of the year. Ahead of the judge's ruling, Giddens said it seemed inconceivable in the opening moments of the liquidation proceeding that the possibility of 100-percent return of property owed to former MF Global customers would even be considered. The judge agreed stating that nobody thought the customers would recover everything they lost.
Dr. Marc Van Montagu is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium and is the co-recipient of the 2013 World Food Prize. In addition to his own knowledge and expertise, Dr. Van Montagu's perspective is backed with years of scientific evidence refuting false accusations made against GM foods. He writes, "It seems to me that much of the resistance to GM foods isn't based on science, but may be ideological and political, based on fears of 'corporate profiteering' and 'Western colonialism.'" By 2050, experts predict our world population will have increased by one-third to 9.6 billion, begging the question; will we have enough food for everyone?
Following the defeat of the anti-GMO Initiative 522 in the state of Washington, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood stated "Just like 27 million voters in California and Oregon, Washington voters saw how this burdensome and deceptive labeling scheme would have created more state bureaucracy, imposed new costs and burdens on local farmers and businesses, and increased food prices for Washington families. Food labels should convey valuable and accurate information to consumers. We will continue to explore solutions that provide consumers with valuable information about the foods we eat. One example is the GMO Answers website, where consumers' questions about GMOs and how our food is grown are asked and answered in a timely manner. Other informational resources include statements from credible scientific groups such as the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, among others."
For years, corn ethanol has been a centerpiece of America's green energy strategy. President Obama and his administration have described this homegrown fuel as a way to reduce greenhouse gases and to wean the country off foreign sources of oil. But the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies. Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil. Sprayers pumped out billions of pounds of fertilizer, some of which seeped into drinking water, contaminated rivers and worsened the huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can't survive. The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact."
The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy are speaking out against draft legislation that would reportedly eliminate the conventional ethanol portion of the renewable fuels standard (RFS). The legislation is expected to be introduced by Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Feinstein's office was able to confirm that the senator is working on a bill related to the RFS. However, her press office was unable to offer any additional details on the legislation. It is unclear when the bill could be introduced.
Gov. Nixon Urges Corps To Stop Work On Missouri River Project
In a letter to Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, Nixon said the Corps needs to obtain independent findings that shallow-water habit projects will help the pallid sturgeon and won't cause harm. Until that happens, Nixon said last week, the corps should discontinue work at Jameson Island near the village of Arrow Rock and not begin work on similar projects.
Concerns and delays stem from the corps' plans to put much of the dirt excavated to create the new habitat into the river. The corps and environmental groups say researchers have determined the soil dumping won't cause trouble and note the pallid sturgeon evolved to live in large, silt-filled rivers. But farm groups fear that putting the fertilizer-laden soil into the river would contribute to a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts blame the low-oxygen, or hypoxic, conditions primarily on farm fertilizer runoff brought by the Mississippi River, into which the Missouri River empties. The nutrients cause oxygen-depleting algae blooms.
Editor's Note - Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG) joined with other Missouri agricultural organizations and sent a letter to Governor Nixon last month urging him to intervene. MO-AG thanks Governor Nixon for his actions.
The environmental groups are also members of the Mississippi River Collaborative, which asked EPA in a 2008 petition to set standards and cleanup plans for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the river.
"Achieving significant water quality improvements in water bodies as large as the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico takes time, and the increasing impacts of climate change such as more frequent extreme weather events pose additional challenges. The progress we've made across the board during the past five years provides an excellent foundation and we will work to accelerate our progress over the next five years," said Nancy Stoner, acting Assistant Administrator for Water for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and co-chair of the Task Force. Source: EPA
Fertilizer Code of Practices
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is partnering with the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) to develop a Fertilizer Code of Practice for agricultural retailers. Through this member-led intiative, retailers will be provided with tools based on existing regulation to ensure that fertilizers are safely handled and stored. The intiative will also include third-party inspections to ensure observance of the established guidelines. Development of the system will begin over the summer months of 2013.
The proposed structure envisions an over-arching umbrella organization for governance and to ensure consistency in guidelines and inspection/audit procedures. Suppliers would register with the system, and encourage their brokers and distributors to do so, which would flow through the system to dealers. It has been recommended that unmanned storage sites and potentially farmer-owned storage be included as well. Dealers could also look up in the system to see if their suppliers or wholesalers are registered.
The code of practice initiative came as a result of discussions between ARA staff and association members, most recently at a meeting of interested parties earlier this week in Washington, D.C. In addition to TFI, more than 50 people representing producers, retailers, wholesalers, transportation companies, state associations and companies that assist retailers in regulatory compliance were in attendance. Source: TFI
ARA on EPCRA filing
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Emergency Management is classifying any agricultural retailers that blend fertilizer as a manufacturer for reporting purposes under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. Any agricultural retailer that blends (i.e. non-chemical reaction) dry fertilizer at their facility should include these products on an annual inventory report (Tier 2 report) that must be submitted to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the local fire department. The information must also be available to the public. Facilities must submit their Tier 2 reports by March 1 of each year. ARA recommends each facility review their Tier 2 reports to ensure information on all blended fertilizer stored on-site has been included.
For any hazardous chemical used or stored in the workplace, facilities must maintain a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for fertilizer stored on site, and submit the MSDSs (or list of the chemicals) to their SERC, LEPC, and local fire department. Under EPCRA Section 311, facilities must submit the same MSDSs they maintain for OSHA to these state and local agencies or submit a detailed list of the same chemicals instead. This is a one-time submittal; facilities have three months after becoming subject to the OSHA regulations to submit their material. Under Section 312, facilities also need to submit an annual inventory report (Tier I or Tier II report) for the same chemicals. As stated earlier, this inventory report must be submitted on an annual basis to the SERC, LEPC and local fire department by March 1.
Source: Agricultural Retailers Association
TFI, ARA Support Regulatory Compliance Assessment Tool
The following statement was released by Daren Coppock, president of the Agricultural Retailers Association and Ford West, president of The Fertilizer Institute. "The fertilizer industry continues to extend its thoughts and prayers to the people of West, Texas, who are grieving for those in their town who were lost or injured. We are watching closely as investigators determine what happened and upon a final determination of cause by the Chemical Safety Board we will work together to identify and apply any lessons learned. While that investigation continues, we are reaffirming our commitment to safe operations of fertilizer facilities by alerting the industry to the availability of an important tool to support compliance with existing federal regulations and associated best management practices.
West Texas Fertilizer Incident
The state of Texas convened the first legislative hearing in response to the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Company. Officials from a half dozen state agencies offered testimony concerning their various regulatory responsibilities. According to DSHS officials, the West facility contained about 270 tons of ammonium nitrate. Despite its explosive potential when mixed with heat and fuel, ammonium nitrate is not on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of "extremely hazardous substances." Those who possess more than 10,000 pounds must file paperwork with the EPA and DSHS, but the information concerning which facilities in a given community may be storing large amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals isn't readily available to the average citizen.
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is ready to do what's necessary for the continued safe operation of retail facilities. The retail fertilizer dealer plays an integral role in the nation's food production system. It is up to each retailer to work with local, state and federal regulators to ensure the safety of the community in which his or her business functions. We share the public's concern. We want our employees, customers and neighbors to be safe. Because no one knows yet the cause of the blast, it is too early to decide what the right solution is. The Chemical Safety Board has an excellent reputation for its ability to analyze evidence from catastrophic incidents such as the one in West and determine probable cause. It is up to each retailer to work with local, state and federal regulators to ensure the safety of the community in which his or her business functions. With this in mind, we are committed to listening and learning about new ways that we can better be stewards of the neighborhoods in which we operate. Source: TFI's Ford West, USA Today
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