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

FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Approval in Field & Seed Corn
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatment of Soybean Aphids
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More
Exterior view of CPS Big Lake facility which includes enclosed receiving and load out area
CropLife 100New Alternative Weed Resistance Traits Could Experience…
May 12, 2017
It wasn’t too many years ago that ag retailers and their grower-customers could hardly wait for new options to fight Read More
Diane Allemang and Dan Jacobs
Crop InputsFMC Agricultural Solutions, Casa Pacifica Partner to He…
May 11, 2017
FMC Agricultural Solutions is teaming up with Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, an organization that supports vulnerable children Read More
UncategorizedWhat’s Up With ARA
May 11, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj talks with Brian Reuwee regarding what issues are on the docket for the Agricultural Retailers Association. Read More
BASF Maglis tablet retailer grower
Precision AgQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision …
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters into Distribution Agreem…
May 11, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading global provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture markets, Read More
Bayer
Crop InputsBayer to Sell Liberty Business to Seal Monsanto Deal
May 8, 2017
Bayer has agreed to sell its Liberty herbicide and LibertyLink-branded seeds businesses to win antitrust approval for its acquisition of Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationTrump’s EPA Appointee Dismisses Half of Major Sci…
May 8, 2017
(Via NYTimes.com) EPA has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what Read More