Ag Retailers: Showing Commitment To Safety To Everyone

Less than a month into the New Year, my travel has already spanned a large section of the country. From the heart of the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, I am working on a project that has allowed me to visit several retail dealers to hear first-hand about the good work that they are doing to educate and further engage with emergency responders. The evidence and strength of those relationships throughout the entire industry will be critical in 2014.

In the wake of last April’s explosion at the West Fertilizer facility, this is an issue of increasing importance for the nation’s retailers. The loss of 15 lives on April 17, 2013, caused policymakers, members of the media and the general public to question our commitment to the safety and security of those individuals who will respond in the event of an accident at a retail facility. Each of these audiences can have significant influence on your business; together they can serve as an extremely powerful voice for change.

In response to the West explosion, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order in August calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the EPA and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to review safety and security regulations that apply to ammonium nitrate and other chemicals. The order directed these federal agencies to better coordinate developing and enforcing regulations and to review certain regulations to determine if they should be amended.

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has responded to the Exe­cutive Order by expressing support for additional coordination between state and federal agencies, cross referencing databases and federal coordination on inspections to minimize the time that retailers like you spend on regulatory compliance. We are participating in listening sessions during which we have told the agencies that we support finalization of the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program at DHS and long-term reauthorization of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program.

Due to a regulatory exclusion, fertilizer retailers are not required to report to emergency planners under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Since the West explosion, we have gone on record in support of removal of this exclusion and we believe there should be comprehensive reporting of hazardous chemicals stored on site to local emergency planning commissions and that all in the industry should work with local fire departments. We have, however, requested that this reporting requirement should be limited to hazardous chemicals.

Reaching Out

As I just noted, an integral part of compliance with EPCRA is outreach to local emergency responders. Most retailers know that when you invite firefighters, HAZMAT teams, EMTs and others into your facilities, they acquire a clear understanding of the products you handle and store, the physical layout of your facility and best practices for emergency response. If my retail visits are any indication, this activity is built into the DNA of many retail businesses. In fact, several of the retailers I spoke to either were emergency responders or had one or several volunteer firefighters on staff. I was tremendously impressed to see the conviction and sincerity with which they spoke about this dual role.

Over the past nine months, retailers’ concern for first responders has been questioned and our perceived efforts have been criticized by lawmakers and the media. It’s likely that this criticism does not come from ill will but rather from unfamiliarity with your business and the strength of your outreach efforts. In most instances, correcting this misperception can be easily accomplished. When you hold an open house for emergency responders, be sure that your community, local regulatory officials and elected officials know about it. Invite local emergency responders, newspaper reporters and bloggers to attend an open house, take photos to get a firsthand account about your commitment to safety and security. Pick a strategy that works best for you, your business and your community.

Given the legislative and regulatory environment in Washington, DC, and a public that is questioning our commitment to worker and community safety, we need retailers to speak out. You have a tremendous story to tell.

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More
Eric SfiligojIARC Targets 2,4-D In Latest Report
June 29, 2015
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has struck again. Earlier this year in March, this agency of the Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Ma…
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
EquipmentCase IH Launches New Precision Air 5 Series Carts
June 29, 2015
Case IH recently introduced its new Precision Air 5 series air carts, developed to get the most from every plant’s Read More
InsecticidesVestaron Biopesticide Approved In California
June 29, 2015
Vestaron Corporation, a developer of insect control products derived from naturally occurring peptides, today announced that its VST-006330-EP biopesticide has received Read More
InsecticidesValent’s Zeal SC Miticide Receives EPA Approval
June 29, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced today that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Retail FacilitiesUnited Prairie Increased Plant Productivity With Junge …
June 29, 2015
Since 1979, Junge Control continues to provide ag retailers with highly accurate fluid and dry ingredient measuring, mixing and tracking Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
ManagementAsmark Training Center Visit & A Merger No Go
June 25, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj talks about a visit to the Ford B. West Training Center and the failure of the Read More
Crop InputsWinField: Here’s What We’re Seeing So Far T…
June 25, 2015
One of the most important things you can do throughout the season to help increase yield potential is to ensure Read More
Valent, Commodity Classic 2015
Industry NewsValent Garners FFA Honor
June 23, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation today announced it has been named a 5-star member of the National FFA Foundation. This includes an Read More
Nester Ag intern Brad Nester
Crop InputsOhio NRCS’ New Conservation Practice Standard For Gypsu…
June 22, 2015
Ohio farmers wishing to use gypsum to improve soil quality now have access to technical information and possible financial assistance Read More
Industry NewsWest Central Creates New Executive Team
June 22, 2015
West Central Distribution, LLC officially announced the development of an executive team comprised of Dale Engan, chief executive officer; Michael Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Life Sciences Invests In People, Agricultural…
June 22, 2015
In mid-February, the USDA released its new 10-year agriculture projections. While the numbers are new, the theme was consistent. The Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsStudy: Crop Rotation Has Positive Impact On Soil Microb…
June 22, 2015
A study authored by Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences assistant professor Lisa Tiemann is Read More
Crop InputsIndiana NRCS Unveils Interim Gypsum Practice Standard
June 22, 2015
Indiana farmers wishing to use gypsum to improve soil quality as part of on-farm conservation programs now have access to Read More
ManagementInside Monsanto’s Bid for Syngenta
June 18, 2015
Monsanto’s possible buyout of Syngenta could send ripples through the retail chain. Learn the latest developments with Retail Week guest Read More