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

Trending Articles

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
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. 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
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More