October 6, 2015
Professional Applicator Training;
Jefferson City, MO
October 7, 2015
MO-AG Member Appreciation;
December 15, 2015
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."
2015 Pyramid of MO-AG Program Sponsors
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News You Can Use
2015 MO-AG Member Appreciation Meeting & Reception for Chris Koster
On October 7, 2015 MO-AG will be having a Member Appreciation Meeting and a reception for Chris Koster in Boonville, MO. The activities will include a Membership Meeting, Golf Tournament, Shooting Clay Tourney, Reception for Chris Koster and BBQ dinner these activities are for MO-AG Members Only. For information on the reception click here and for the meeting brochure click here.
Focus on Water
MO-AG President Steve Taylor teamed up with his counterparts from Iowa and Illinois to participate in the 'Midwest Water Issues Forum" held recently by ARA in Ft. Madison, Iowa. Issues discussed included the lawsuit filed by the city of Des Moines against agriculture for high levels of nutrients in the city's water supply. The Illinois nutrient loss reduction strategy was also amongst the topics of conversation. Taylor reviewed Missouri's nutrient loss reduction strategy and nutrient criteria being proposed for rulemaking by MDNR.
Taylor also discussed EPA's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Taylor reminded the crowd of the broad opposition to the WOTUS rule that tremendously and illegally expands federal jurisdiction over agricultural land. WOTUS will mean more regulations on agriculture and agribusinesses, force changes in land use, and increase permits. Taylor highlighted explosive, previously secret, memos from the Corps of Engineers that cast major doubts on the scientific and legal validity of the WOTUS rule. Taylor stated, "Before the Corps memos, the chances of getting veto proof legislation through Congress was thought not to be very high. With these Corps memos now seeing the light of day, I hope more members of Congress will see there is no scientific or legal basis for the WOTUS rule and pass legislation that will tell EPA to start over, and this time, work with States and agriculture, and do it right this time"
The Corps memos summarizes very substantial concerns that the Corps had with EPA's final draft of the rule and concerns the Corps expressed with the ability to implement the rule. Because of this and the failure to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the Corps concludes that the WOTUS rule will "not likely to survive judicial review in federal courts." Taylor did note how the Corps concerns were due to the fact that the Corps fears losing jurisdiction over some waters. This is actually a fear repeated by some environmental groups. It seems the EPA's arbitrary and capricious WOTUS rule cuts both ways.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and many others have filed lawsuits to stop WOTUS.
Comment on DOL Salary Rule
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act) guarantees a minimum wage and overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. While these protections extend to most workers, the FLSA does provide a number of exemptions. With this rulemaking, DOL is updating the section 13(a)(1) exemption's salary requirements. The Department has updated the salary level requirements seven times since 1938, most recently in 2004. Under the current regulations, an executive, administrative, or professional employee must be paid at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year for a full-year worker). The Department proposes to raise standard salary level for full-time salaried workers to $921 per week, or $47,892 annually for a full-year worker.
MO-AG encourages members to become more informed and consider commenting on the rule by going to http://1.usa.gov/1Mt0tU9 To review MO-AG's comment letter, CLICK HERE.
A federal appeals court granted a major victory to Dow AgroSciences when it ruled that the company could continue to sell its new herbicide, Enlist Duo, while a legal challenge works its way through the courts. The Ninth Circuit denied the request of environmental groups challenging the EPA's approval of Enlist Duo. The groups had asked the court to block the sale of the weed killer while their case was being heard. Garry Hamlin, a Dow spokesman, stated "Enlist Duo remains registered and continues to be available for sale and use." In addition to denying the plaintiffs' request for a stay, the court also placed the case on an expedited schedule. Briefing will take place in September and October, which means the judges could eventually issue a final ruling on the merits sometime early next year. Aaron Colangelo, an attorney on the case with the Natural Resources Defense Council, stated "That's what we're hoping for," he said. "We'd like a decision quickly." Colangelo said the plaintiffs will flesh out their arguments against Enlist Duo in more detail in their upcoming briefs. But he said their case will be centered on two claims: that the glyphosate in the herbicide is a probable carcinogen and that it is harmful to the habitat of the monarch butterfly. Source: BNA
GMOs Not 'Clean and Green'
Scotland's intends to ban the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops on its territory to protect its "clean and green brand". Widely grown in the Americas and Asia, GM crops have divided opinion in Europe, with some green groups saying they are worried about their environmental impact. Richard Lochhead, the Scottish government's minister for the environment, food and rural affairs, said he planned to take advantage of new European Union rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorized GM crops.
"Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment - and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status," Lochhead said in a statement. "There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our 14 billion-pound ($22 billion) food and drink sector." Source: BIO
OSHA Rescinds the "Retailer Exemption"
Process safety management (PSM) has been a popular topic these last few days, especially since OSHA's announcement on July 22nd rescinding the retail exemption. Bypassing the rulemaking process, which involves the opportunity for public comments, OSHA changed the rules. PSM first hit mainstream radar back around 2000 when OSHA interpreted a retail facility to be one that derived more than 50 percent of its income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals to the end user, otherwise known as "the 50 percent test." For most ammonia facilities this was welcome relief at the time from a rule originally developed for manufacturing facilities. PSM popped back up on the radar screen as a result of the West Fertilizer explosion and the President's August 1, 2013, Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. "There's an old saying that if you think safety is expensive, try an accident. Accidents cost a lot of money. And, not only in damage to plant and in claims for injury, but also in the loss of the company's reputation." -Dr. Trevor Kletz, recognized as the father of process safety. Don't wait for an accident to happen at your facility, register with ResponsibleAg and proactively work to comply with the Federal rules, many of which have been in place since the 70's.
Most agricultural retailers are classified under NAICS code 424910, which is defined as "Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesale," formerly SIC code 5191. As a result of OSHA rescinding the retail exemption, agricultural retailers that store and handle a "highly hazardous chemical" such as anhydrous ammonia would be subject to the requirements of PSM.
OSHA has issued an enforcement policy offering to provide compliance assistance to affected facilities and delay enforcement for six months or until January 22, 2016. Industry partners are sorting through the effect this will have on our industry and are weighing their options on how best to respond to OSHA. For now, here is what we know:
What products are involved? Anhydrous ammonia, aqua ammonia, nitric acid among others are on the listof regulated chemicals. We are awaiting word as to what degree propane will be affected.
What's the big deal? Loss of the retail exemption means the typical anhydrous ammonia facility must now comply with OSHA's PSM Standard. And, because the facility is now subject to PSM, it triggers EPA's requirement to prepare and submit a Program 3 Risk Management Plan.
What's the difference between a Program 2 and 3 RMP? In a word - LOTS!
Flow drawings, Process & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID), Management of Change
program to mention a few, plus stepped-up requirements within Process Hazard Analysis,Compliance Audit and Mechanical Integrity. An engineer will not be required for the typical retail facility but some do seek out their help.
Will this require me to upgrade my equipment? Probably, some degree of upgrades will be required at almost every facility based on coming into compliance with PSM and based on the recent RAGAGEP memo. OSHA's memorandum provides guidance on the enforcement of PSM's recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP) requirements, including how to interpret "shall" and "should" language in published codes, standards, published technical reports, recommended practices (RP) or similar documents.
What's the Asmark Institute's plan of action? While industry is contemplating their options, we have already proceeded to upgrade our tools and systematic approach to help our clients meet the January 2016 deadline. We will launch the new suite of tools by October 15th and incorporate the additional PSM and RMP Program 3 upgrade into our annual compliance visit process that occurs between October 15th and December 31st of each year. We worked with EPA two years ago to build the Program 3 RMP materials, so luckily that is behind us. These new requirements will be added to the Lighthouse program and covered under the retainer much as we have with new rules in the past.
Can this be done within 6 months? We were given 3 years by EPA to prepare the first RMP. PSM is substantially bigger, will have to be made to "fit" our small facilities with only a few people and completely new to everyone in the retail industry. Becoming compliant in a quality manner with a reasonable understanding will take much longer than six months.
Are there any other regulatory requirements on the horizon? We anticipate EPA will also respond to the President's Executive Order soon with a few new hurdles of their own, such as adding ammonium nitrate and propane to the list of RMP regulated substances and possibly adding requirements to the RMP for new data elements and accident prevention features.
What can I do to be prepared? Read everything available on Process Safety Management and learn all you can in the next month. PSM is not like a SARA Tier II Report that once a year a document is updated and placed in a file. At some facilities, expect there to be an activity that must be performed and documented on a daily basis.
Are you responsible for more than one facility? The Asmark Institute contracted for professional training for our own staff that will help handle PSM. We offered to share this with our clients and ultimately wound up contracting for a number of two-day training courses. Click here if you are interested in attending one of these courses. Space is extremely limited.
Best advice? Start now! This will be unlike any rule, regulation or standard we have come to know. The effects won't be known until the OSHA inspector visits. Agricultural retailers have operated in a safe and sound manner for several decades and have voluntarily initiated proactive programs such as ResponsibleAg to assist fertilizer retailers achieve and maintain compliance with federal regulations. OSHA's action on July 22nd blindsided the recently formed ag-alliance group and the entire industry. While we can't predict how this will turn out, we do know that we must get started in order to have any hope whatsoever of making the January deadline. We recommend our clients do the same. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. Source: Asmark Institute
States Sue EPA over WOTUS
Attorneys general from thirteen states filed a lawsuit Monday challenging EPA's new rule defining the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), asserting that the rule expands the scope of clean water regulations to lands that are dry much of the year and increases the federal government's authority over land use. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. The states assert that the EPA's rule inappropriately broadens federal authority by placing a majority of water and land resources management in the hands of the federal government.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster joined in the lawsuit. "If this change becomes law, thousands of acres of privately owned land in Missouri will suddenly be subject to federal water regulation," he said in a statement. "Missouri farmers will be particularly harmed by the federal government's restrictions on how their land can be used." As an example, Koster said the rule defines tributaries to include ponds, streams that flow only briefly during or after rainstorms, and channels that are usually dry. The definition extends to lands within a 100-year floodplain -- even if they are dry 99 out of 100 years, he said. The lawsuit seeks an order declaring the rule is unlawful and prohibiting the agencies from implementing it. Without such an order, the rule takes effect within 60 days.
Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, praised Koster for challenging the rule. "If this rule stands, landowners will be subject to onerous permitting requirements and land use restrictions," Hurst said in a release. Steve Taylor, president of the Missouri Agribusiness Association, said the group strongly supports the lawsuit. "The EPA's rule ignores the critical concerns of Missouri agribusiness," he said. In response, EPA stated "In order to clearly protect the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources, the agencies developed a rule that ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand. One in three people get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the Clean Water Rule." Source: Agri-Pulse
Professional Applicator Training
Robert E. Wolf Ph.D. and Julia Wolf, Wolf Consulting & Research LLC, in partnership with the Asmark Institute and MO-AG are offering a professional training course in Missouri on October 6th in Jefferson City. This course will focus on liquid application technology using equipment that currently does not exist in the industry for training purposes. Class size is limited to 30 students and will promote hands-on activities. The topics listed below are for a 6-7 hour workshop running from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm for each session and the cost is $220.00 per pre-registered participant or $295.00 per walk-in participant.
Application technology is rapidly changing how crop protection products can be applied to maximize efficacy while minimizing spray drift. Proper education and training is needed to assist pesticide applicators in the safe and efficient use of current pest control equipment. Currently there is a void in the amount of professional applicator training being offered for commercial ground-based applicators. One of the goals of this course is to train the workforce who use, handle or apply crop protection materials in a safe and efficient manner. 5.5 Pest Management CCA CEUs have been approved. More information about the course can be seen by clicking here.
Register Here please use this 5 digit invitation code: 19500
If you have any questions, please direct them to either Bob Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-586-2036 or Allen Summers at email@example.com or 270-926-4600, ext. 201.
Water and Fertilizer
Join agribusiness leaders and stakeholders from Iowa, Illinois and Missouri for the Midwest Ag Retail Forum on August 5 in Fort Madison, Iowa. This half-day workshop will focus on water and water regulations that impact you directly. This includes the Des Moines water works case, EPA's redefinition of the Waters of the United States, and the latest on Missouri's regulation of water and nutrients.
MO-AG President Steve Taylor, along with his counterparts from Iowa and Illinois, will present an update on key water and nutrient issues. Washington D.C. staff from the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) will discuss federal legislative and regulatory issues impacting retailers. A tour of OCI Fertilizers production facility is scheduled for the afternoon. For a copy of the latest agenda, CLICK HERE
Lunch is included and the luncheon speaker is Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Registration is free. Click here to register: www.aradc.org/AgRetailForum
Koster Sues USDA
Missouri filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing the federal government to push back a key agricultural deadline, a measure necessary to keep many of the state's farmers eligible for crop insurance. Attorney General Chris Koster filed the federal lawsuit against Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. "Missouri farmers rely on the availability of insurance to guard their crops against events beyond their control," Koster said in the press release. "The USDA should not punish farmers whose planting was delayed by unexpected rain and flooding by enforcing an arbitrary deadline. Millions of dollars in Missouri agriculture is at risk, and we will fight to make sure these resources are protected." Koster argues in the suit that extraordinary circumstances posed by the storms and flooding require the USDA to allow a reasonable extension of the normal grace period so that farmers are able to provide accurate acreage reports and qualify for crop insurance, according to the attorney general's press release. Source: Springfield News Leader
EPA Calling? Call Your Attorney
EPA has issued new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules that dramatically expand the agency's authority over bodies of water across the country. Legally speaking, Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement actions are usually civil actions, which means a person cannot be imprisoned for the alleged violation. However, CLA civil penalties can be as high as $10,000 per day under current federal law and $50,000 per day if the alleged violations of law were committed knowingly. The penalties for CWA violations are severe. You should therefore treat unexpected contact from the Corps of Engineers or EPA the same way you would treat unexpected contact from other law enforcement. If in doubt you should say nothing, refuse voluntary access to your property, and call your attorney.
Source: Farm Bureau
EPA on WOTUS
The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have worked together to resolve, through a new Clean Water Rule, the inconsistencies that existed after two Supreme Court decisions. One of our most important challenges is protecting those smaller tributaries and wetlands that are part of the vast interconnected system of some of our big rivers, like the Missouri and the Mississippi. We also rely on these smaller wetlands to provide uptake of nutrients, to moderate flow in times of flooding and to serve as important habitat for species that spawn in or rely on bodies of water. People need clean water for their health: About 117 million Americans - one in three people - get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection before the rule.
In developing the rule, we held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders across the country and reviewed more than a million public comments. We held numerous roundtables and meetings with the agricultural, business and environmental communities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The agricultural community and other stakeholders provided valuable input that shaped the final rule. This input and the latest science led us to provide more clarity regarding tributaries, which are protected under the CWA. A tributary must show physical features of flowing water - a bed, bank and ordinary high-water mark - to warrant protection. The rule clarifies the definition of ditches. Ditches that are not constructed in streams and that flow only when it rains are not covered. We listened to the public and made changes to the final rule as part of our commitment to getting it right.
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune Op-Ed by Mark Hague Acting Regional Administrator for EPA Region 7 Kansas City
Governor Nixon Tours & Declares Emergency
Gov. Jay Nixon and members of the emergency management team visited Lincoln and Pike counties Saturday to meet with responders and view flood-fighting and recovery efforts. The Mississippi River is above flood stage and is continuing to rise. The Missouri State Emergency Agency (SEMA) has been directed to provide resources to Clarksville, located in Pike County.
On June 18, Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri as heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding continued to impact large portions of the state. The State Emergency Operations Center continues to assist local communities, and Gov. Nixon has been receiving updates from his emergency management team to assess the current weather situation and address local needs. Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information, and referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 service is now available throughout Missouri.
Source: KMOV St. Louis
Rain & Flooding Affecting Agriculture
West central Missouri farmer Ronnie Russell is one of many who have not been able to finish soybean planting. Russell tells Brownfield he can't remember when it's been this difficult to plant. "This has been one of the worst years I've had in trying to get things in," said Russell. "It compares a lot to '93 and the year's not up, the river's been pretty high; I do farm along the Missouri River as well, and there's always the threat yet of another flood, but I hope not."
At this point, Russell is doubtful that he can complete all his planting, but under the right conditions, he'll come close. "If I have a stretch of dry weather this week, I'm probably going to be somewhere around 85 percent complete planted and that'll be it," said Russell, "because I've some that's down along the Missouri River and there's just so much seep water down there this year that it's just going to be impossible to get it planted, I'm pretty sure."
Industry Groups Make Additions to Hazard Communications Compliance Guide
In May, the American Feed Industry Association and National Grain and Feed Association released a hazard communication compliance program guide for consideration and use by grain handling, feed, ingredient and processing facilities. The free, 45-page guidance document was developed to assist the industry in preparation for compliance with updates to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety data sheets (SDSs) and hazard communication compliance requirements. The Corn Refiners Association and the North American Millers Association also contributed to the guidance document.
Following the document's distribution and a subsequent webinar, AFIA and NGFA received numerous inquiries from both members and non-members on the sample SDSs. As a result, the groups made minor modifications to both the sample grain and feed SDSs and created a new SDS for non-food grain; specifically, grain that is used for industrial purposes.
The revised data sheets are now included in the guidance document. Further, a flour SDS developed by NAMA has also been included.
As a reminder, AFIA and NGFA continue to emphasize each decision related to the classification of hazards and the creation of a SDS and/or labeling of "products" that are "manufactured" at a facility must be determined independently by facility management.
The updated guidance document, as well as the sample SDSs, are available on both afia.org and ngfa.org. Source: AFIA
OSHA & Ammonium Nitrate
Federal agencies tasked with implementing President Obama's Executive Order (EO) 13650 (Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security) have produced a status update (CLICK HERE. In this update, the agencies state that guidance has been issued to Regional Administrators and that they are "developing Regional and Local emphasis programs to more effectively enforce standards for the safe storage of ammonium nitrate." MO-AG is currently working to gain more information about the guidance provided to RAs and the emphasis programs and will provide that to you as soon as it is available.
In the meantime, if you handle ammonium nitrate, MO-AG would strongly encourage you to read the federal advisory "EPA 550-F-15-001 June 2015 chemical Advisory: Safe Storage, Handling, and Management of Solid Ammonium Nitrate Prills" (for a copy of the advisory, CLICK HERE) If you are considering bringing in fertilizer inventory, particularly Ammonium Nitrate, you may want to study this document and determine if you are able to meet the conditions it sets forth. In particular, look at specific guidance such as "Use care in selecting the materials used to build storage areas, bins and cribs. Metal or concrete construction is preferred. Wood used for bins must be specially treated to prevent impregnation. 29 CFR 1910.109(i)(4)(ii)(b)."
For more general information on EO 13650, CLICK HERE.
Nurse Tank Inspection "CT" Courses Announced
If you are interested in certifying your own employees to be able to perform nurse tank inspections, then this course is for you! Facility personnel that want to learn more about the process will also find this new hands-on Asmark Institute Signature Course very beneficial. Craig Dobbins with Craig's Restoration & Repair is the lead instructor for this new course. We've been asked several times to develop a course to help ag retailers comply with the DOT regulations for inspecting/testing ammonia nurse tanks with missing or illegible ASME data plates. Six classes will be offered at the Agricenter in Bloomington, IL between July 28th and August 6th. Click here for information on the class and to register. The course is an action packed day and registration is $165 per person. Space is limited. Source: Asmark Institute
MO-AG Supports ARA Forum
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), in partnership with three state associations, will host the Midwest Ag Retail Forum on August 5th in Fort Madison, Iowa. The program will focus on water, including the Des Moines Water Works case and other Midwest water issues. ARA will also provide briefings on key federal issues for retailers. A tour of OCI Fertilizers production facility will be scheduled for the afternoon.
Cooperating state associations include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI), the Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG), and the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA). ARA encourages members to send employees who may not normally attend national industry meetings. Registration is now open. The event is free to attend.
A copy of the agenda can be found CLICK HERE. For more information, click here . To register, click here. Source: ARA
June 1st Hazard Communication Implementation Deadline Mired in Controversy
As everyone reminds us that the June 1st deadline is on us to comply with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard of 2012, the agency has thrown out a curve ball. It seems OSHA is bent on changing some of their long-standing interpretations on when and how Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are prepared and distributed. At the heart of the confusion is the agency's change in stance on the definition of a blender and manufacturer. Most recently the State of Oregon announced to retailers that they would be considered a manufacturer and required to create and distribute a SDS on each load of fertilizer they blended. Like several times over the years, the confusion makes its way to the headquarters in Washington, DC where it normally gets corrected based on the historical interpretations. Representatives from The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) are working with OSHA headquarters to restore the situation. This issue needs to be monitored closely until the outcome is restored to what has been the standard in the past. If not restored, then retailers will need to add office staff and space in order to be able to create, print and distribute the SDS as OSHA currently indicates they want. Source: Asmark Institute
FOR MORE INFORMATION, REFER TO THE ADVOCACY PAGE CLICK HERE.