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OSHA PROCESS SAFETY MANAGEMENT RETAIL EXEMPTION Issue Summary Last year, OSHA changed the definition of the Process Safety Management retail exemption through a guidance memo, instead of a rulemaking. Ag retail facilities selling anhydrous ammonia have been exempt from PSM since the regulation’s inception, but will no longer be exempt. Industry estimates total compliance costs to be more than $100 million. The average initial cost per facility is $27,500, which far exceeds OSHA’s estimate of $2,160 per facility. The storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia is already regulated...
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Earlier today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a draft of its report on the fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company. CSB investigators will present their findings to the board in a public meeting in Waco, Texas, on Thursday. The Agricultural Retailers Association has conducted a preliminary review of the draft report's findings. "ARA agrees with several points within the Chemical Safety Board’s report concerning the West Fertilizer Company Fire and Explosion. First and foremost, agricultural retailers remain committed to the safety and security of their employees and the communities where they operate. Since the tragic accident...
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In Good Company

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Post brought to you by Syngenta To mark the 15th anniversary of Syngenta, the co-leaders of the North America region, Ponsi Trivisvavet, North America region director and president of Syngenta Seeds, LLC and Vern Hawkins, North America region director and president of Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC reflect on the company’s journey so far—and the exciting road ahead. Q. What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment of Syngenta? A. Vern Hawkins, North America region director and president of Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC: I’ve been with Syngenta and its legacy companies for more than 30 years, and I think our most important...
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On December 23, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a revised Interim Enforcement Policy on its website, addressing enforcement of Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements for agricultural retailers. These facilities became newly subject to the PSM standards pursuant to a prior OSHA enforcement memorandum, dated July 22, 2015. The revised policy is the result of language included in the Joint Explanatory Statement, which accompanied the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The language specifically prohibits OSHA from enforcing or implementing its July 22, 2015, memorandum until: The Census Bureau creates...
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PALM DESERT, CALIF. – Harold Cooper, CEO and General Manager of Premier Ag Cooperative, was installed as the 2016 Chairman of the Board during a December 3 ceremony at the ARA Conference and Expo. He succeeds 2015 Chairman Dave Dufault. “To say Harold is passionate about the agricultural retail business and our freedom to operate would be a huge understatement,” said Dufault, Vice President and General Manager of Simplot AgriBusiness Retail. “His knowledge, experience and enthusiasm will add to the success of the Agricultural Retailers Association.” As he passed the gavel, Dufault complemented the ARA staff and remained humble about the organization's...
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Mid Valley Agricultural Services, Inc. (MVAS) recently opened its seventh state-of-the-art plant health and crop protection facility on a 14-acre site in Oakdale, Calif. This project has been the vision of the MVAS Management Team and Board of Directors for several years. In its unique location, a 7,000 square foot retail agriculture hardware store, BG Agri-Sales and Services, was also added. To commemorate the event more than 600 growers, vendors and guests enjoyed the food, music and fun provided by the newest agriculture employer in the area. "Oakdale is a great community and we look forward to continuing to grow our business in the surrounding area,"...
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 18, 2015) - Congress just put the brakes on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulatory overreach. On July 22, OSHA released an enforcement memorandum rescinding all prior policy documents, letters of interpretation, and memoranda related to the retail exemption to Process Safety Management, a set of procedural, operational and organizational design standards intended to prevent the release of highly hazardous chemicals at manufacturing facilities. The memo, released without opportunity for public comment and outside of the formal rulemaking process, would force virtually all agricultural retailers that...
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The Agricultural Retailers Association recognized 12 top performers in the agricultural retail industry as members of the Rising Stars Class of 2015. ARA introduced Rising Stars in 2013 as a recognition and development program for high achievers and future leaders within the ag retail sector. This special distinction provides ARA member companies with a hands-on opportunity to introduce new and rising leaders to ARA and its conference. The Rising Stars Class of 2015 includes: Joe Bridges, J.R. Simplot Company Ryan Brooks, MFA Inc. Wes Carmony, Yargus Manufacturing Tom Curtiss, International Raw Materials Ltd. ...
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AgProfessional Magazine presented the Precision Impact Award to three retailers leading the way in precision agriculture. Accepting the awards on behalf of their company were Elliott Marsh, East Georgia Agronomy Services, Southern States Cooperative; Glen Franzluebbers, Central Valley Ag Cooperative with headquarters in Nebraska, and Luke Lightfoot, Co-Alliance, LLC with headquarters in Indiana. The award, sponsored by the Agricultural Retailers Association, MapShots AgStudio and AgProfessional Magazine and presented December 3, recognizes local retail operations for their input efficiency, grower engagement, environmental stewardship, innovation...
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Four retail facilities were recognized for their stewardship efforts with the Environmental Respect Award. Mike Hemman , DuPont Western Business Unit Leader, conferred the awards in a ceremony December 3. “The companies recognized today are true ambassadors of our industry,” said Hemman . “Over the years, we have seen this program encourage retailers to improve the environmental footprint of their businesses and take a leadership role in their communities highlighting the environmentally responsible practices of the ag industry.” The international award is presented by DuPont Crop Protection, CropLife and Farm Chemicals International magazines....
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PALM DESERT, CALIF. – The Agricultural Retailers Association today named The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award was presented to Joe Hodges, Vice President of the Southern Region Plant Nutrient Group, Wednesday, December 2, during the ARA Conference and Expo. “On behalf of all the employees of The Andersons – Thank you for this special recognition,” Hodges said. “It’s extra special when you are recognized by your peers, and to be included in the same circle with prior winners; The Tremont Group, Willards and Morral Company, just to name a few, makes it that much more prestigious.” The award, sponsored by Monsanto, ARA and AgProfessional...
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PALM DESERT, CALIF. – Consolidation has become standard operating procedure for the agricultural retail industry. And the recipient of this year’s Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award led some of the largest acquisitions in the business. “Retail consolidation has been driven by grower consolidation,” said Richard Gearheard, former President and CEO of Agrium Retail. “There are fewer and larger growers today than when I started in this business. It stands to reason there would be fewer retailers.” On December 2, the Agricultural Retailers Association presented Gearheard with the Eberspacher Award during the ARA Conference and Expo at the JW Marriott...
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PALM DESERT, CALIF. – The Agricultural Retailers Association presented the Distinguished Service Award to an individual instrumental in the success of ResponsibleAg. Billy Pirkle accepted the award Wednesday, December 2, during the ARA Conference & Expo. ResponsibleAg, an industry-led initiative to improve safe handling and storage of fertilizer, launched in December 2014. The organization assists fertilizer facilities with federal regulatory compliance through education, training and certification. “Agricultural retailers are already committed to stewardship and safety,” said Pirkle, Crop Production Services, Inc. as Senior Director of Environmental,...
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ARA Seeking Summer Intern

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Do you know a hard-working, creative and savvy college student interested in agricultural policy? The Agricultural Retailers Association may have a job for him or her as an intern. The ARA internship is a 12-week position in ARA's Washington, D.C., office. The successful candidate will gain exposure to many aspects of ARA’s activity, including membership, public policy, and marketing and communications. He or she will also have the opportunity to participate in educational and networking events with other interns at agricultural organizations located throughout the area. The internship is designed for college students who have completed their third...
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Tackling Toxins

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Syngenta expert assesses the toll aflatoxins can take on crops and prescribes preventive measures that can help minimize the damage. by Eric Tedford , Ph.D., technical product lead, fungicides, Syngenta As growers start delivering their grain for sale or consider different storage options for their 2015 harvests, one word that strikes fear in the hearts of many is “aflatoxins.” Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by the soilborne fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which can be found in several important crops, including cotton, peanuts and corn. During outbreak years, the potential economic impact on growers is great:...
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A federal appeals panel today issued a nationwide stay on the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. rule. Judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, said the plaintiffs, 18 states in this case, “demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims” and that a stay will not cause undue harm to either the states or the environment." Read the opinion ... With earlier efforts to stop the rule through legislative channels proved challenging, the court's decision represents a key victory in the battle to stop implementation of the WOTUS rule. The Agricultural Retailers Association praised the...
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By Duane Martin , Ph.D., Commercial Traits Products Lead, Syngenta, North America Technology is critical to U.S. agriculture. It’s what keeps our growers globally competitive and profitable and also helps the industry meet the growing challenge of feeding a rising world population. Agrisure Viptera® a good example of great technology. In 2010, we commercialized the trait with full regulatory and legal compliance in the U.S. We also had approval in export markets for U.S. corn, as recognized by industry stake-holders, including the National Corn Growers Association. At that time, the industry didn’t recognize China as a significant export...
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The Environmental Protection Agency announced stronger protections for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families working on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses on Monday. EPA revised the existing Worker Protection Standard, 40 CFR part 170, to reduce occupational pesticide exposure and incidents of related illness among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The final rule has not yet been published. The new requirements will go into effect the first week of December 2016. Highlights of the revision include: Employers must ensure that workers and handlers receive pesticide safety training every year....
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Cultivating Leaders

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Leadership at its Best gives retailers and growers the skills they need to advocate for agriculture more effectively. by Jeffrey Sands , Manager, Federal Government Relations Coming up with the right words to address an issue isn’t easy. Getting the right people to listen to them is even tougher. The Syngenta Leadership at its Best (LAIB) program can help you and other agricultural professionals do both more effectively. We operate this advocacy initiative alongside agriculture’s most important commodity groups and associations, including the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association and, of course, the Agricultural...
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AGCO Corporation announced the opening of nominations for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, which recognizes the hard-working men and women that work as applicators across the country. The program is open to all ag retailers and custom applicators in the United States, regardless of the machine brands in their application fleets. A panel of judges from AGCO will evaluate nominees based on their performance both on and off the field, including criteria such as skill, dedication, and customer service and community involvement. These professionals spend untold hours in the field every season, using technologically advanced application machinery,...
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