Reaching Out To Retailers

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In 2007, the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) was given the opportunity and privilege of partnering with the American Agronomic Stewardship Alli­ance (AASA). Have you heard of this group? If you are an ag retailer in the U.S. and store bulk pesticides, you’ve been visited by an AASA inspector to ensure that your bulk storage facilities meet EPA and industry standards for containment, operational requirements, container marking, etc. In fact, over 6,500 ag retail inspections have occurred since 2004 and there is great news to share about our industry’s compliance and pesticide stewardship activities.

Want proof? Go to www.aginspect.org and click on “About Us” to see a PowerPoint of the people and organizations that are part of AASA. You can view the results of the inspection program, see what kind of items we look for at bulk storage sites, and view the states scheduled for inspection in 2008.

But AASA is becoming more than just a uniform industry inspection program. It has grown into an organization that truly desires to help educate ag retailers about upcoming regulatory changes, and to help with compliance. 

New Regs Impact

Are you aware that in August 2009, all bulk pesticide storage locations must have secondary containment? Are you aware that Portable Refillable Containers (what we commonly call mini-bulks) will all be required to be uniquely identified by those who refill them and must also be kept on impermeable containment if stored over 30 days? Did you know that bulk pesticide storage tanks must be elevated off the containment floor or if not, be anchored?

Well, it’s all true, because EPA enacted regulations in 2006 that require this and much more at all locations that store bulk pesticides. As is the case with most EPA regulations, it can be complicated and difficult to understand all the requirements; but the fact is that our industry must meet the challenges posed by these new rules within the next 18 months. 

Teaming Up

AASA, in partnership with IFCA, is uniquely poised to help assure compliance and stewardship today and in the future. IFCA has always believed that our members and our industry are best served by proving to our government that we are not only capable, but willing to do what is necessary to ensure the proper stewardship and utilization of our products. With these new rules, EPA is establishing national standards for bulk pesticide management and has asked AASA to help ensure that industry meets these new standards.

I give a lot of credit to the people and organizations that had the vision to create AASA seven years ago because now, in concert with our national and state trade associations, we have a wonderful mechanism to directly interact with ag retailers nationwide to get word of the new rules to everyone who is impacted by them.

Please give IFCA a call at 309-827-2774 if you have questions about the AASA program. Even if we don’t hear from you, you’ll be seeing and hearing from us soon!

Payne is president of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Bloomington, IL.

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