Industry Challenges Personnel Surety Program

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a “Personnel Surety Program (PSP)” Information Collection Request as part of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations. The comment period ended on Thursday, May 13. The Agribusiness Security Working Group (ASWG), comprised of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and CropLife America (CLA), submitted joint comments to DHS raising concerns with the severe unintended consequences and significant burden created by the program without providing additional security benefits or practical utility.

The ASWG has encouraged the industry to provide comments to DHS if their facility is impacted by the CFATS program and the agency’s PSP. The PSP will require all CFATS facilities to submit information about facility personnel and, as appropriate, “unescorted visitors” with access to restricted areas or critical assets at those facilities. As defined by DHS regulations this would likely cause all employees at agricultural retail facilities regulated by CFATS to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting by the Federal Government against the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The TSDB is a consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist maintained by the Federal Government to identify known or suspected terrorists (i.e. individuals with terrorist ties).

The ASWG has identified the following areas as issues that need to be addressed by DHS:

  • Conflicts with Congressional Intent: When Congress authorized DHS to establish the CFATS program, it explicitly directed the agency to “establish Risk-Based Performance Standards (RBPS) for securing chemical facilities.” Performance standards, rather than prescriptive standards issued by the Federal Government, provide facilities the flexibility to address their own unique security challenges. DHS should not issue prescriptive requirements for how a facility is to achieve personnel surety RBPS #12.
  • Redundant Reporting and Unnecessary Burden: Most if not all Agribusinesses (manufacturers, distributors, retailers) have a significant number of employees (i.e. facility personnel) or contractors that hold a valid Commercial Drivers License Hazmat Endorsement (CDL HME), Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC), or other federally issued credentials to satisfy a CFATS facility’s compliance with the personnel surety requirements as described in RBPS # 12. In the CFATS Interim Final Rule issued in April 2007, it states that “to minimize redundant background checks of workers, DHS agrees that a person who has successfully undergone a security threat assessment conducted by DHS and is in possession of a valid DHS credential such as a TWIC, HME, NEXUS, or FAST, will not need to undergo additional vetting by DHS. We agree with this statement and believe it is an unnecessary use of time and resources for a facility to have to collect and resubmit employee or contractor information for those who already hold valid DHS credentials.
  • Restricted Areas/Critical Assets and Determination of “Unescorted Visitor”: At agricultural retail facilities, agricultural chemicals listed as a chemical of interest (COI), such as anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate and aluminum phosphide are stored and handled on site. All employees at these facilities will be in a restricted area or near a critical asset as part of the regular work day during the busy spring planting or fall harvesting seasons. This will require all facility personnel to hold a valid DHS credential or be vetted by DHS against the TSDB. During these busy times of the year, farmer customers will enter the facility for pick up of farm supplies, which could include a COI. From the DHS PSP proposal it is not clear what is considered to be an “unescorted visitor” and subject to the DHS background check requirement. All “escorted visitors” are not required to have their names submitted to DHS for vetting in the TSDB. We recommend DHS define a farmer customer or transport carrier that is in “line of site” of authorized facility personnel within the restricted area or near a critical asset to be considered as “escorted” and thus not subject to the DHS PSP requirements.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
FertilizerTFI President To Give Update On Nutrient Management Efforts At Annual Conference
January 19, 2015
The Fertilizer Institute President Chris Jahn will give the keynote address at the 2015 Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference February 4. Read More
Green Valley Ag facility
Paul SchrimpfRightsizing Ag Retail
January 9, 2015
Seeking the right balance of facilities, efficiency and customer service will make our businesses stronger and, truth be told, more capable of competing effectively with the likes of Pinnacle. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
Has the app market reached a saturation point? Consider Google Play and the iTunes App Store combined have more than Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More
Crop InputsNew Syngenta Herbicide Approved In Soybeans, Sunflowers
January 20, 2015
Syngenta will sell BroadAxe XC herbicide in 2015 for use on soybeans, sunflowers and dry peas Read More