Honor your company's commitment to environmental stewardship best practices by
entering DuPont's Environmental Respect Awards.
receive coverage of your environmental stewardship in the pages of CropLife
magazine and on CropLife.com and EnvironmentalRespect.com
and pride and staff morale is heightened as your stewardship efforts are
recognized locally and nationally. Awards will be presented at a special awards
ceremony in July.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced proposed revisions to
the Worker Protection Standard to safeguard farm workers from pesticide
proposing improvements to worker training regarding the safe usage of
pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure.
Increased training and signage to inform farm workers about the protections
they are afforded under the law and will help them protect themselves and their
families from pesticide exposure.
others near treated fields would now be protected from pesticide overspray and
fumes. In addition, EPA has proposed that children under 16 be legally barred
from handling all pesticides, with an exemption for family farms.
reviewing the proposal and will submit comments during the 90-day comment
period. We welcome ARA member input on this important issue.
Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) will provide close to $3 million in technical and financial assistance
for interested farmers and ranchers to help improve the health of bees, which
play an important role in crop production. The funding is a focused investment
to improve pollinator health and will be targeted in five Midwestern states,
Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
assistance will provide guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to
implement conservation practices that provide safe and diverse food sources for
honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops or rangeland and pasture
management may provide a benefit to producers by reducing erosion, increasing
the health of their soil, inhibiting invasive species, providing quality forage
and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators, as well as habitat for other
are due March 21, 2014.
Faegre Baker Daniels for the Food & Agriculture National Conference
Wednesday, May 14, in Minneapolis. The event will bring together national
industry leaders, in-house counsel, business executives and regulatory
representatives from global, market-leading companies.
include Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine,
United States Food & Drug Administration; Jeffrey Ettinger, Chairman of the
Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hormel Foods Corporation; and
Ramona Romero, General Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture.
to plenary sessions, the conference will feature interactive panel sessions on
the Food Safety Modernization Act, consumer fraud class action litigation,
supply chain management, social media and brand protection, OSHA enforcement
actions, animal health, genetically modified organisms, strategies for doing
business in China, nutrient regulation, agribusiness bankruptcies, and
immigration and global mobility.
For the past
several months, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer
Institute (TFI) have been working on a guidance document for agricultural
retailers handling ammonium nitrate. The document, available here,
covers safety, security and transportation at retail facilities.
ARA and TFI
felt it was a necessary effort because several government agencies have been
citing the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) guidance document for
technical grade ammonium nitrate. Absent a document applicable to fertilizer,
the agencies have indicated to ARA and TFI that they will continue to reference
the IME document.
TFI and ARA
agree that the IME document is an excellent source of information; however,
much of the guidance is not applicable to fertilizer facilities.
By Douglas P.
Global Security Newswire
Democrats and labor union officials are raising concerns that a new bill meant
to extend the life of the Homeland Security Department's chemical-security
program will not fix a number of perceived problems with the initiative.
I see nothing in the scant 11 pages of H.R. 4007 to deliver the massive reforms
that will be required to make" DHS chemical-facility antiterrorism
standards and "other chemical security programs more efficient and
productive programs," Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said during
a Thursday hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on
Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.
Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday, Feb. 28, that it will
issue extensions of the State Emergency Declarations for the Midwest, Western,
and Eastern regions of the country.
Regional Declarations will provide relief for commercial vehicle operations
while providing assistance supporting the delivery of propane during the severe
weather emergency. The declarations are based on input from Governors or their
designated representatives as to the need for propane and other home heating
fuel, and for road salt. All of the new extensions will expire March 15,
2014. If a State was listed on an earlier declaration but not on the most
recent, drivers providing direct assistance to that State are covered by the
earlier declaration until it expires on March 1.
engaged with FMCSA to discuss the potential logistical issues that may impact
ammonia delivery this spring.
Last week, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released his plan for streamlining the tax code. Many of the items ARA has been working on in tax reform efforts such as retention of cash accounting for farmers and reduction of holding period of debt liabilities were included in his plan.
ARA will be closely following proposals in the tax plan effecting agriculture, including:
- Fertilizer tax deduction: The plan calls for the repeal of the deduction for expenditures for fertilizer and other farming materials in tax years after 2014, a move that would increase tax revenues by $3.4 billion by 2023.
- Conservation deductions: The proposal seeks to make permanent rules that allow for contributions of lands used for agriculture and livestock production to conservation easements to be deducted up to 100 percent of the donor's adjusted gross income.
ARA is seeking a summer intern to assist with membership relations, public policy, marketing and communications activities. This paid
position is a great opportunity for college students interested in agricultural policy, communications, nonprofit management and marketing. The ideal candidate is pursuing a degree and career in the agricultural sector.
More information is available here
Send your cover letter and resume to Mr. Kelly Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday, February 27 at 2 p.m. EST, the
Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), of which ARA is a participating member,
will host a webinar explaining the potential broad implications of the upcoming
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Waters of the United
States" (WOTUS) rulemaking.
DATE: Thursday, February
TIME: 2 p.m. EST
Fertilizer retailers are industry experts that offer a plethora of services to growers and their local community. By providing agronomic expertise and the tools to help growers be efficient and profitable, they help farmers succeed in every aspect of their operation.
Retailers are also committed to the safety and security of their products, employees and the communities they serve. Each retail facility is different, but they all play a vital role in helping to produce the food, fuel and fiber to feed the world.
Learn more about the value of fertilizer retailers and the services and expertise available to farmers in your backyard and across the country.
Thank you to The Fertilizer Institute for producing this video and allowing us to share it with ARA members.
There was a quote on Facebook earlier this week, recognizing this National FFA Week. It said, "FFA has grown to be more than cows, sows and plows. The modern FFA is about beakers, speakers and job-seekers."
Past national officer and current ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock, and many other leaders in the agricultural retail sector can attest to the truth of that statement.
The FFA organization continues to evolve to meet the next generation of agricultural leaders. ARA is pleased to recognize those efforts. Happy FFA Week!
Sixteen participants from industry partners and agricultural retail organizations across the country attended the second Crisis Management and Media Training Workshop hosted by the Agricultural Retailers Association January 29-30, in Las Vegas.
The one-day workshop focused on how to manage media relations before and during a crisis at a retail facility. Led by experienced crisis communicator Lindsay Strand and CHS Director of Communications Lani Jordan, the seminar educated participants about building good will with media, developing key messages for their organization and building an actionable plan in case of a crisis.
ARA is gauging interest in a possible third workshop scheduled for August or September. If you, or your organization, are interested in participating, please add your name to the
Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, described the effort to pass the 2014 Farm Bill as "tumultuous, at best." From regulatory reform to major disagreements with dairy and nutrition policy, the process of passing a Farm Bill in 2014 proved difficult. President Obama signed the nearly $1 trillion legislation in a ceremony at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., on February 7.
The final bill contained numerous provisions beneficial for ARA members, including the protection of a robust safety net, needed reform in the conservation title allowing retailers to better serve their grower customers, and an avenue for growers and retailers to express concerns on chemical security regulations for agricultural products.
Although ARA remains disappointed that the voice of an overwhelming majority was outweighed by a few minority opinions on regulatory reform issues, the passing of this legislation is a victory for ARA and its membership.
Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) have collaborated on draft recommendations regarding revision of the NFPA 400, Chapter 11, Ammonium Nitrate code. TFI, ARA, and IME are requesting the response be officially submitted to the Ammonium Nitrate Task Force for further discussion. Click here to view the recommendations. If you have any questions, please contact Richard Gupton by telephone at (202) 457-0825 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
American agriculture needs new technology to address the weed control challenges on our farms for the next growing season. During the last two decades, the reliance on a single herbicide, glyphosate, has resulted in glyphosate-resistant weeds. These weeds reduce yields and cause significant production challenges. Herbicide-tolerant cropping systems also provide numerous agronomic, producer and environmental benefits to U.S. farmers and consumers. A new product currently under review by USDA and EPA, referred to as the Enlist Weed Control System, if approved for use, may provide a critical tool to help farmers meet their weed control challenges.
Anti-biotech activists, however, relentlessly oppose new technologies benefiting farmers and American consumers. USDA and EPA officials need to hear from agricultural retailers regarding new biotechnology products. Submit your comments to USDA and EPA in support of new weed control technology at www.advancefarming.com/petition.htm
ARA members in the Midwest and Northeast have first-hand experience dealing with propane supply problems during this unusually frigid winter.
"The problem has not been a lack of supply," said Harold Cooper with Premier Ag. "But due to a lack of having enough propane close enough to where it is needed, when it is needed."
Cooper said he worries low stocks and high demand will strain the limited logistical infrastructure available to deliver ammonia if agricultural demands must compete for drivers and equipment allocated to shipping propane.
"Premier has received loads of ammonia this winter originating from Tampa, Fla., to help truckers move trailers that would normally be hauling ammonia in the Southeast up to the Midwest to haul propane," Cooper said.
ARA is reaching out to the propane and gas industries to inform them of the potential competition the agricultural sector will place on drivers and hauling equipment in the next thirty days.
We will also be working with the propane industry to extend emergency measures currently in place beyond February 21. These measures include extended hours of service waivers and working with pipeline operators to prioritize propane shipments to the Midwest and Northeast during that time. We hope these efforts will relieve local shortages. Retailers should encourage their state to request a waiver of Hours of Service (HOS) for the transport of propane.
Ten participants representing various ag retail outlets from across the country converged on the Agricultural Retailers Association headquarters in Washington, D.C., for Leadership at its Best.
The two-day workshop, sponsored by Syngenta, is designed for employees of member companies who have demonstrated leadership potential. Participants learn more about ARA programs and activities, as well as take advantage of skill-building and networking opportunities.
Working with professional speakers and consultants, participants discussed leadership styles, reviewed business etiquette, received tips to improve public speaking skills and gained insights on government relations through visits with Congressional staff members.
If you have an employee who you'd like to nominate for the next Leadership at its Best seminar, please contact Director of Member Services David McKnight (firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)457-0825). Space is limited.
More than 40 board members, committee members and state affiliate leaders attended the ARA Board of Directors Meeting February 10-12 in Washington, D.C. The agenda included board and committee meetings, policy updates and several guest speakers.
A panel from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) (pictured) discussed the multi-agency response to Executive Order 13650: "Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security." Retailers and other ARA stakeholders had an opportunity to ask questions an get answers directly from agency representatives about potential new regulation following the West Fertilizer accident in April.
ARA was encouraged to hear there was little interest from regulators to mandate inherently safer technologies (ISTs) and that additional regulation may not be the primary outcome of the continuing inter-agency listening sessions.
During visits to the Capitol in conjunction
with the Board of Directors meeting on February 12, the Agricultural Retailers
Association (ARA) presented the Legislator of the Year Award to Congressman and
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.).
The award is
given annually to a member, or members, of Congress who champion legislation
important to the agricultural retail industry. ARA also honored Senator Kay
Hagen (D-NC) at a separate event.
of Senator Hagen and Congressman Lucas helped to further efforts that
eventually lead to the 2014 Farm Bill. In addition, they have worked as
advocates for many key issues that have a direct impact on the competitiveness
and economic well-being of the agriculture industry.