ResponsibleAg welcomes three new industry representatives to its Board of Directors. They are Kevin Frye, Safety Services Manager for GROWMARK; Kyle Springs, South Region Senior SH&E Manager with Nutrien; and Anne Cook, Senior EHS Manager with The Andersons, Inc. We appreciate the time and commitment these volunteers will provide to ResponsibleAg as board members. Welcome aboard!Back to Top
It came as no surprise to those working in agriculture when Homeland Security deemed agriculture one of 16 critical infrastructure industries that should continue operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being in one of the busiest times of year for everyone in the industry, ag retailers around the country stepped up, quickly adjusting to keep employees and customers safe during a time of extreme uncertainty. ResponsibleAg commends the efforts of all who continue to adapt to provide essential services to customers who are vital to feeding and clothing the world.Back to Top
Links to COVID-19 Resources are available on the ResponsibleAg website, providing helpful information on a wide range of topics from EPA’s disinfectant list to DOT/PHMSA HazMat Training Enforcement Policies and many resources from the CDC. Click on the COVID-19 Resources icon on the left side of the ResponsibleAg homepage for quick and easy access to critical information.Back to Top
ResponsibleAg’s 2020 Auditor Training Course is taking place as scheduled June 16th-19th; however, the class will be at half capacity to ensure the safety of class participants and to meet current social distancing guidelines to guard against the spread of Covid-19. A second course has been added for November 10th-13th. ResponsibleAg is hopeful that the November class will be able to operate at full capacity with 24 seats available. Sign up for the November class today.
Interested in learning more about the comprehensive, four-day ‘hands-on’ course? Read about the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY, and the course offered there.Back to Top
If you haven't scheduled your facility’s first audit, we encourage you to do so! A total of 3,395 audits have already been completed, and you are invited to join the facilities that are putting safety and compliance first. Visit the ResponsibleAg website to learn more about the audit process, credentialed auditors and why your peers are already participating in the program.Back to Top
You might not think it’s possible to have a successful facility audit while social distancing and following company policy and local restrictions, but it is. Just follow these simple, commonsense tips.
Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in Safe + Sound Week 2020, a nationwide event that recognizes the successes of workplace safety and health programs and offers information and ideas about keeping American workers safe. In 2019, more than 2,700 businesses helped raise awareness about workers’ health and safety during the week-long event.
Safe + Sound is a year-round campaign that includes quarterly activities focused on building effective safety and health programs in the workplace. Participants can learn about best practices during webinars and put the practices into action during the 30-day challenge. Activities also address management, leadership, worker participation and finding and fixing hazards.
ResponsibleAg is one of 220 partners that supports the program’s goals. Participation and sign up is easy. Learn more.Back to Top
While the ResponsibleAg newsletter has been on hiatus for a couple of months, industry representatives have been busy talking about their companies’ safety challenges and solutions. Read the latest Faces of ResponsibleAg stories for ideas you may be able to use.Back to Top
The McGregor Company aims for 100% safety and compliance. Clark Capwell, General Manager of EHS&S, explains why the company switched from an internal safety audit program to ResponsibleAg. Since McGregor joined ResponsibleAg, the company has found audits are more streamlined and consistent. Learn more.Back to Top
How do “greenhorn” hardhats and high-visibility clothing help keep new and seasonal employees at The Andersons away from safety-critical tasks? Anne Cook, Senior EHS Manager explains in the May edition of Faces of ResponsibleAg.Back to Top
“If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” So says Keith Kennedy, manager for Agrimind LLC in Wyoming. Find out why he says this applies to many ag retail businesses. Read about other common findings here.Back to Top
Federal Court Removes 3 Dicamba Registrations; EPA Provides Update on Dicamba Decision
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned EPA’s approval of three dicamba products ‒ Xtendimax with vapor grip technology, FeXapan and Engenia. The court ruled that EPA substantially understated the risks it had acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks. By vacating these product registrations, the court called to stop use, sale and distribution of all applications of the products. The Tavium registration was not affected by this ruling.
Following the Court’s decision to vacate approval of the dicamba products, the EPA provided clarifications on the current status of the three dicamba registrations. EPA’s cancellation order addresses the sale, distribution and use of existing stocks of the three dicamba products. They are:
Use of existing stocks of the three products inconsistent in any respect with the previously approved labeling accompanying the product is prohibited. All use is prohibited after July 31, 2020.Back to Top
President Trump issued an executive order to combat the economic consequences of COVID-19. Federal agencies are called on to address the economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery. The heads of all agencies are directed to use any emergency authorities the President has previously invoked to support the economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The heads of all agencies also are encouraged to promote economic recovery through non-regulatory actions. The measures are designed to provide businesses, particularly small businesses, with the kind of certainty and support they may need during this challenging time. Learn more.Back to Top
DOT’s published final rule updates the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The key revisions extend the maximum duty period allowed under the short-haul exception to 14 hours and to 150 hours of air miles. The rule allows a driver to extend the maximum driving window by up to 2 hours during adverse driving conditions. It requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows on-duty/not driving periods to qualify as breaks.
The sleeper-berth exception was also modified to allow drivers to split their required 10 their required 10 off-duty hours into two periods ‒ an 8/2 split and a 7/3 split – with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window. The new hours of service rule will be implemented 120 days after publication in the Federal Register. Learn more here.
Our next story offers information on DOT’s emergency declaration relaxing some HOS rules during the pandemic.Back to Top
There’s still time to send your comments to the EPA about the proposed decision to register the new pesticide active ingredient, pethoxamid – a broad-spectrum herbicide that inhibits seedling shoot growth. EPA will close the comment period on June 17, 2020.
Pethoxamid provides a new active ingredient for the control of grasses and some broadleaf weeds. It can shorten the plant-back interval, leading to enhanced crop rotation or cover-crop flexibility. If used in conjunction with or in rotation with other mechanisms of action, pethoxamid could be part of a resistance management program.
EPA is proposing to register one technical product and two end-use products to control various types of annual grasses and broadleaf weeds in soybean, cotton and corn. The agency has evaluated the toxicity of pethoxamid and has not identified any human health or ecological risks that require additional mitigation beyond those already included on the mandatory product label provided with pethoxamid. Don’t delay ‒ send your comments by June 17, 2020.Back to Top
The EPA just released temporary guidance on respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Under the temporary guidelines, it allows use of alternative NIOSH-approved respirators that offer equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label. EPA encourages hiring commercial applicator services with a sufficient number of respirators and respiratory protection capabilities or opting to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators. A third option is to delay pesticide applications until another compliant option is available.
If all of the above choices have been exhausted, EPA’s latest guidance provides additional options with strict terms and options. These include:
EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, exercise its enforcement discretion for violations of respirator-related requirements provided that handlers and their employers demonstrate they have exhausted all available compliance options.Back to Top
OSHA issued a memo updating guidance for recording cases of COVID-19 as an occupational illness. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness and must be recorded if the case is confirmed as COVID-19, is work-related and involves one or more of the general recording criteria in the recordkeeping regulations. Given the nature of the disease, it often is difficult to determine whether a COVID-19 illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace.
Employers must conduct a reasonable investigation to determine if COVID-19 is work-related, which is likely when several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation. An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if the person is the only worker in the vicinity to contract the disease and job duties do not include frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread. If, after a reasonable and good faith inquiry is made following EPA’s guidance rules, the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that the exposure in the workplace played a casual role in a particular case of COVID-19, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and should be coded as such on the OSHA Form 300. Because this is an illness, if an employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, employers must comply. This guidance is limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.Back to Top
Welcome to the facilities that have completed their Corrective Action Plans and are now Committed, Compliant, Safe, and Certified.
We'd also like to send a special Shout Out to the locations noted below with an asterisk*. They have completed Recertification. This commitment to safety is a great example for all! Congratulations!
ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps members ensure they are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and our communities safe.