Volume 48
Jan 12, 2022

Industry Leader Takes the Reins for ResponsibleAg

Gary Vogen takes the reins as chairman of the board for ResponsibleAg in 2022. Currently vice president, corporate and regulatory affairs for Yara North America, Inc., Vogen is an industry veteran driven by his love of agriculture and the value of serving others. At Yara, he is responsible for leading government and industry affairs and strategic policy initiatives in North America and oversees product stewardship, quality and compliance in the marketplace. Since joining Yara in 2006, Vogen has also led the sales teams in the eastern U.S., Midwest, northern Great Plains and western Canada. Prior to coming to Yara, Gary spent 22 years in the GROWMARK cooperative system, serving as general manager at four different Midwestern retail supply and grain cooperatives, and later as GROWMARK’s plant food market manager where he built strong relationships across the fertilizer industry.

For the many people who know Vogen, it’s an understatement to say his talents and experience are well suited to leading ResponsibleAg. Vogen understands the challenges of the retail marketplace. He has a proven track record of developing legislative and government agency relationships that help the ag retail industry maintain accessibility to products that growers need for their crops. At the same time, his advocacy work has assured regulators those products are safely and securely handled by the agricultural industry without overreaching restrictions.

Vogen is a strong advocate for ResponsibleAg and the value it provides the agricultural retail industry.

“I believe ResponsibleAg is an important tool for retailers, distributors and manufacturers to use in building credibility within the industry, among the public and with governmental entities,” Vogen says. “The audit and certification process gives our industry a consistent standard that demonstrates we are actively committed and accountable for the safety and security of our employees, first responders, communities and the environment.

"I encourage all retail locations, distributors and manufacturers throughout the crop inputs industry to join the effort for the benefit of all. We can accomplish a lot with a united front,” Vogen adds. “I look forward to helping ResponsibleAg and the industry enter our next chapter of success.”

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Credentialed Auditors, Have You Completed Refresher Training?

It’s a new year ‒ a good time for all ResponsibleAg auditors to complete the annual online refresher training tutorial. Refresher training is a great way to ensure you’re current on regulatory details and have the audit process top of mind. Refresher training also is required for auditors who want to remain credentialed and perform audits in 2022. If you haven’t completed the online tutorial, login today to your auditor account on The training provides updates on changes and friendly reminders on various topics.

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There’s no time like the present to put ResponsibleAg activities on your calendar for 2022.

  • Schedule your facility audit today. Review ResponsibleAg’s comprehensive audit checklist to prepare for the audit. The checklist is just one of several online tools. After correcting any compliance issues noted in the corrective action plan, your facility is certified. Congratulations!
  • Promote your certification. Celebrate your accomplishment and build awareness of your participation in ResponsibleAg. It’s easy with the tools and supplies you’ll find in the ResponsibleAg Certification Welcome Kit coming your way.
  • Recertify the facility every three years. Certification expires after three years. Recertifying ensures your facility remains in compliance to keep your employees and your community safe. Plus, it helps demonstrate that your organization is a committed member of our industry, working together, doing things the right way.
  • Not yet participating or ResponsibleAg certified? Find answers to your questions here about ResponsibleAg certification.
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Sign up for the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training Course, June 14-17

Register today for this four-day training in Owensboro, Kentucky, scheduled for June 14-17, 2022. ResponsibleAg auditor training combines classroom lectures, computer lab tasks, role-play scenarios, problem-solving sessions, hands-on exercises and mock auditing. Plus, because the training location is a former ag retail facility, you’ll experience real-life examples of audit issues you may encounter. Learn more about becoming an auditor by visiting the “Become an Auditor” section at or call 270-683-6777.

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When leaders at Valley Wide Cooperative turned their focus to enhancing the organization’s employee safety and regulatory compliance practices, they chose ResponsibleAg as the roadmap. Max Tinsley, director of environmental, health and safety (EHS), helped lead the effort. Since all Valley Ag locations are similar, they went through the ResponsibleAg audit as a group.

“During the audits, we found similar issues at several locations. A safety committee of location managers and employees across Valley Ag was formed. This group works together to develop new policies and practices to mitigate and eliminate hazards. We are implementing their solutions across the organization,” he explains.

Tinsley believes involving employees in the process improves their understanding of safety. It also helps them understand their value to the organization and demonstrates how an injury ultimately affects them, their families, their coworkers and the overall production of the organization.

“The ResponsibleAg audit gave us a methodical guide to follow and brought clarity and understanding to the entire process. It also helped us lay a foundation of collaboration between locations as we developed processes directing Valley Ag toward a safe and compliant future,” Tinsley adds.

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Why ResponsibleAg? Your Peers Share Their Thoughts

ResponsibleAg’s measure of success is your success in complying with federal health, safety and environmental regulations. Here’s why these companies include the ResponsibleAg certification program as part of their safety programs.

“TFC provides a financial reward to locations that conduct on-time monthly safety trainings and inspections and are ResponsibleAg certified. This is our mechanism to ensure all safety regulations are being met. Participation in ResponsibleAg shows we are being progressive and taking responsibility for our safety risks.”
John Cain, Risk Manager
Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, La Vergne, Tenn.

“In the agribusiness or fertilizer industries, we know what’s happening in our operations, and we can rest easy knowing it’s being done right. However, our public, the people who drive by our facilities every day, don’t know that. From the public’s perspective, the ResponsibleAg logo is truly a seal of approval. And the ResponsibleAg audit is comprehensive and scalable to any agribusiness model.”
Anne Cook, former Senior Manager for Environmental Health and Safety
The Andersons Plant Nutrient Group, Maumee, Ohio

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Interested in Improving Safety, Security, and Saving Money?

Learn how your business can keep employees, customers and communities safe while saving time and money by watching this webinar hosted in partnership by ARA and The Fertilizer Institute. This fast-moving overview explores ResponsibleAg and how agribusinesses can use the program to ensure they comply with EHS&S regulations. You’ll hear from industry experts Brian Miller of Miller Risk Management and Billy Pirkle of Novus Ag, ResponsibleAg Technical Committee chairman.

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Seeking ResponsibleAg Safety Stories

We want to hear from you about your experience with ResponsibleAg and how the program has benefited your business. Submit your story at

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News from Around the Industry

DOT Extends CDL Waiver Until February 28 Due to Covid-19

Due to the continued Covid-19 public health emergency, the Department of Transportation (DOT) extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs) and permits, as well as non-CDL licenses for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, to Feb. 28, 2022. Even though many state driver licensing agencies (SDLA) are open, Covid-19 is affecting normal customer service levels in some states, leaving some CDL holders unable to renew their CDLs or provide medical certificates to their SDLA. Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a copy of their expired medical certificate.

DOT Requiring Annual Inspection of Rear Impact Guards

DOT is now requiring motor carriers to inspect their vehicles’ rear impact guards as part of the annual inspection. While the regulation requiring rear impact guards has existed since 1952, they have not been included on the list of components in Appendix G that must be inspected during the annual commercial motor vehicle inspection. This means that a vehicle could have passed an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.

49 CFR 393.86(a) currently requires most trailers and semitrailers manufactured on or after Jan. 26, 1998, to be equipped with rear impact guards. DOT’s final rule does not require installation or maintenance of rear impact guards beyond the current requirements in section 393.86. The final rule requiring inspection became effective Dec. 9, 2021.

IRS Increases Automobile Standard Mileage Rate for 2022

The IRS has issued the 2022 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes. Beginning January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rate for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck driven for business changed to 58.5 cents per mile, up 2.5 cents from the rate for 2021.

2022 NAICS and Code Manual Offers More Accurate Classification for Ag Retail Industry

Thanks in part to the joint efforts of ARA and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the 2022 edition of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) now has a classification code that better describes ag retail businesses that primarily sell fertilizer and other crop input supplies to farmers. Previously, choosing an accurate classification was confusing because “Farm Supply Retailers” were categorized under several NAICS codes used for various federal regulatory reports and programs. Many retailers chose 424910, Farm Supply Merchant Wholesalers, as it was the closest to describing their businesses.

NAICS Code 444220 has been revised from “Nursery and Garden Center” to “Nursery, Garden Center and Farm Supply Retailers.” In addition, the NAICS Code Manual now describes this classification code as “Nursery, Garden Center and Farm Supply Stores to include retailers primarily selling fertilizers, agricultural chemicals and pesticides.”
The revisions are to be published in January 2022 and will be found here.

More Facilities Earn ResponsibleAg Certification

Welcome to these facilities that are now Committed, Compliant, Safe and Certified. We'd like to send a special shout out to the locations that have completed recertification, noted below with an asterisk*. The commitment to safety by all these facilities represents an incredibly positive and important effort for our industry. Congratulations to all!

Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Buttonwillow, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Chowchilla, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Delano, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Firebaugh, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Nipomo, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Paso Robles, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Salinas, CA
Buttonwillow Warehouse Company - Woodlake, CA
*Central Alabama Farmers Co-op - Faunsdale, AL
*EDC Ag Products Company LLC - Lamar, MO
*Gavilon Fertilizer LLC - Shakopee, MN
*GreenPoint Ag - Deering, MO
Grow West - Lakeport, CA
GROWMARK Sunrise FS - Bluff Springs, IL
GROWMARK Sunrise FS - Kilbourne, IL
*Henry Farmers Co-op - Paris, TN
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Beloit, WI
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Bowling Green, MO
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Dickinson, ND
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Edgewood, IL
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Elton, LA
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Flora, IL
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Heartwell, NE
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Lake Odessa, MI
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Leland, MS
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Lumberton, NC
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Mexico, MO
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Mulberry, FL
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Newton, IL
Nutrien Ag Solutions - Norton, KS
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Perry, MO
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Pittsfield, IL
*Nutrien Ag Solutions - Wahpeton, ND
*Premier Ag - Franklin, IN
*Simplot Grower Solutions - Maxwell, CA
The Andersons, Inc. - Sioux City, IA
*Yara North America, Inc. - Baltimore, MD
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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.