ResponsibleAg Welcomes Peter Mutschler as New Instructor

ResponsibleAg Welcomes Peter Mutschler as New Instructor

ResponsibleAg Welcomes Peter Mutschler as New Instructor

ResponsibleAg Welcomes Peter Mutschler as New Instructor

Mutschler brings 40 years of environmental and safety experience to auditor training

ARLINGTON, VA (March 25, 2024) —Earlier this year, Peter Mutschler was named as a new instructor for ResponsibleAg auditor training. Mutschler brings a wealth of experience including creating an auditing and compliance consulting system for Farmers Union Central Exchange cooperatives and overseeing compliance and environmental remediations for the retail side of what became CENEX and latter CHS. He retired from there in 2019 as the Director of Safety and Environment for the country operations division.

Each ResponsibleAg auditor must successfully complete the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training course and become credentialed before performing an audit. “ResponsibleAg auditors are the heart of this important, industry-led program,” says Kyle Springs, Chair of ResponsibleAg and Senior Director of Safety & Health, Retail for Nutrien Ag Solutions. “The auditors assess up to 17 areas of a facility to ensure accurate and credible audits, which enable ResponsibleAg-certified facilities to demonstrate their commitment to environmental, health, safety, and security performance.”

Mutschler has a new role with ResponsibleAg, but he isn’t new to the certification program. He is an original member of the ResponsibleAg Board of Directors and has taken part in many ResponsibleAg Audits.

“Pete not only brings broad experience and knowledge to the ResponsibleAg Auditor Training course, but he is also dedicated to teaching others,” Springs says.

Mutschler will be conducting the next ResponsibleAg Auditor Training course, which is scheduled for July 9-12, 2024, in Owensboro, Ky. To register, visit

Honoring Gary Vogen: Serving Farmers Over the Span of a Career

Honoring Gary Vogen: Serving Farmers Over the Span of a Career

Early in 2024, Gary Vogen started a new chapter in his life: retiree, after working for Yara North America for 17 years. He started out as a farmer in Northern Illinois; and, throughout his career, Vogen has remained connected to agriculture.

“My entire life, I’ve been serving farmers: First, in grain origination and farm supplies; then, broadening into full-service agriculture retail; and, finally, serving the broader industry for a fertilizer producer,” Vogen says.

In January 1984, Vogen was hired as general manager of a local grain company coop. Within the year, he was managing his original and a neighboring coop, both of which would combine to become Grainco, Inc. He stayed there for seven years, until GROWMARK tapped him to be their Grain Services Director for Northern Illinois.

Vogen developed an expertise in grain merchandising, risk management, and business management — going on to manage three other full-service cooperatives in the GROWMARK system in Illinois and Iowa.

He later joined GROWMARK’s Corporate Division as Market Manager for Plant Food, sourcing all fertilizer materials for the GROWMARK System. Eventually, Vogen moved to Yara, where he began as a regional sales manager and finished as vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs.

Of his many career accomplishments, Vogen is most proud of seeing other people succeed. “I’ve been able to hire, and encourage, and mentor, and there are a bunch of those people that are successful in their own right,” Vogen says. “I feel the most accomplished when I think that, maybe, I had a hand in others’ accomplishments.”

Vogen says his mantra is to always start with the customer in mind, to do what you say you are going to do. From there, he believes everything should be built on a relationship, which needs to exist if a person is completing a deal, a business transaction with a customer, or trying to influence a decision. His advice to those just starting out is simple: Find what you like, work hard at it, and people will notice.

Looking to the Future

Most professionals know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night and think: Did I miss something? Am I responsible for a task that I forgot to do? For Vogen, he looks forward to not having those concerns on his mind during retirement.

Additionally, when he goes to visit his children and grandchildren, he won’t have to plan the trips around work meetings and events. And, appreciating the small conveniences retirement offers, Vogen says, he’s glad he will not have to carry two phones anymore.

Taking Stock of What Matters

Vogen calls his worklife “a degree in business experience – I have learned though success and failure, trial and error.” He goes on to say that he has been blessed with many opportunities to excel, learn, and love what he does.

In 2022, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recognized Vogen with the ARA Distinguished Service Award during the ARA Conference & Expo.

Selected by the ARA Executive Committee, the ARA Distinguished Service Award honors individual members of ARA who work to make the industry better for everyone as they exceed the traditional responsibility of supporting the ag retail industry.

When ResponsibleAg was founded in 2014, Yara, one of the world’s largest crop nutrition companies, contributed to the effort by offering its scientific and regulatory expertise. That’s when Vogen volunteered for ResponsibleAg’s Technical Committee. Ultimately, Vogen joined ResponsibleAg’s Board of Directors.

“Gary’s leadership has benefited our industry in important ways as board chair of ResponsibleAg through its strategic transition in order to better meet the needs of ag retail facilities across the nation” says ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock.

For Vogen, ResponsibleAg’s mission appealed to him both professionally and personally as a meaningful program that demonstrates commitment to employees and communities. “We, as companies, are much better off volunteering to show that we know how to act properly, rather than waiting for a disaster to prove that we don’t.”

ResponsibleAg has grown since its beginning almost 10 years ago, and Vogen is pleased with its processes and application to a wide array of agricultural businesses. Likewise, he acknowledges the partnerships ResponsibleAg has throughout the industry and government as well as the strong commitment from The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), ARA, and Asmark.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the industry in this capacity,” Vogen says. “I never would have guessed that I would have this opportunity; it’s been a true pleasure.”

Why Get ResponsibleAg Certified?

Why Get ResponsibleAg Certified?

With ResponsibleAg, companies can easily demonstrate their environmental and safety commitment to employees and communities. Plus, the program provides valuable resources.

Delivering Clarity and Understanding

When the Valley Ag leadership team turned their focus to enhancing the organization’s employee safety and regulatory compliance practices, they chose the ResponsibleAg Certification Program as the roadmap.

“Going through the ResponsibleAg audit as a group made sense for us. It gave us a methodical guide to follow and brought clarity and understanding to the en¬tire process. It also helped us lay a foundation of collaboration between locations.” – Max Tinsley, Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Valley Ag

[The auditor] helped us understand the ‘why’ behind the regulations and answered the questions that the location managers and I had. As we’ve had questions since the audits about corrective actions or implementing new practices, [the auditor] and the ResponsibleAg staff have been there to answer them. – Ryan LloydSafety Supervisor, Valley Ag

Keeping Safety Foremost for Employees

With 400 employees, GreenPoint AG serves farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and the coastal bend of Texas.

As a management team, we must set the direction — make sure our frontline managers understand safety is a priority and put the processes in place to ensure we are safe and secure in every operation. – Kent McPhersonDirector Business & Sales Development, GreenPoint AG

Delivering Clarity and Understanding

Delivering Clarity and Understanding

“[The auditor] helped us under­stand the ‘why’ behind the regulations and answered the questions that the location managers and I had. As we’ve had questions since the audits about corrective actions or implementing new practices, [the auditor] and the ResponsibleAg staff have been there to an­swer them.”

Ryan Lloyd
Safety Supervisor
Valley Ag

Understanding the Big Picture

Understanding the Big Picture

With about 150 locations operating across multiple states, GROWMARK has implemented the ResponsibleAg program in phases, putting locations on a three-year rotation.

“At first, there were some questions … But once they really experienced the program and understood that it’s no longer just about internal company expectations but what we want as an industry, they really embraced it. It’s really become a sense of pride for our locations to become certified.”

Kevin Frye
Safety Services Manager

Making Companies Safer

Making Companies Safer

ResponsibleAg, along with the tools and curriculum put together, has moved GreenPoint Ag forward, and I’m confident it has saved some of our people from being seriously injured or worse. I’m confident it has done the same for many other organizations across the country. ResponsibleAg has a noble charter, and the industry is better for it.

Kent McPherson
Director, Fleet Operations
GreenPoint AG, LLC

Making Continued Compliance and Improvement Easier

Making Continued Compliance and Improvement Easier

The J.R. Simplot Company began participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program in early 2015, and its leaders see recertification after three years as a way to make continued compliance and improvement easier.

“It’s a good tool for us to use throughout the entire year … This gives us an extra set of eyes to make sure we are keeping up with all the things that have the potential to slip through the cracks.”

Norman Etchegoin
Area Operations Manager
Simplot California

Congress Fails to Authorize CFATS Extension: CSAT 2.0 Access No Longer Available

Congress Fails to Authorize CFATS Extension: CSAT 2.0 Access No Longer Available

ARLINGTON, VA (Aug. 7, 2023) —The Chemical Facility An Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program (6 CFR Part 27) expired as of July 28, 2023, when Congress failed to authorize the program’s extension.

As a result, CISA cannot enforce compliance with the CFATS regulations at this time. Further, access to the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) 2.0 has been disabled, and users cannot log in to the portal. Consequently, CISA can no longer require facilities to report their chemicals of interest or submit any information in CSAT, perform inspections, or provide CFATS compliance assistance. Additionally, CISA can no longer require facilities to implement their CFATS Site Security Plan or Alternative Security Program. CISA also cannot accept new names for vetting pursuant to the CFATS Personnel Surety Program.

“Since its inception, CFATS has had widespread industry support, including among agricultural retailers, members of the U.S. fertilizer supply chain, and ResponsibleAg participants,” says ResponsibleAg Chair Gary Vogen, vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs for Yara North America, Inc. “CFATS facilitates and increases the safety and security of facilities for employees and communities, and that’s positive for the industry as a whole.”

ResponsibleAg and its members have helped to shape and improve CFATS throughout its existence. Therefore, the ResponsibleAg Board of Directors encourages companies and customers to remain diligent in their compliance with the terms of the regulation — regardless of its enforcement. Further, the Responsible Ag Audit will not change, and areas of the audit pertaining to CFATS will continue to be evaluated as though they are in full force.

ResponsibleAg participants should remain diligent during this period. Continue to report suspicious activities to local law enforcement. If CFATS is reauthorized, CISA will follow up with your facility in the future.

ResponsibleAg Helps Facilities Comply with Complex Regulations

ResponsibleAg Helps Facilities Comply with Complex Regulations

On this episode of The Scoop podcast, listen to ResponsibleAg’s Industry Ambassador Tim McCardle describe ResponsibleAg, an industry program that “lights the way for you to be in compliance” with regulations from EPA, DOT, OSHA, DHS, and others. Listen now.

ResponsibleAg Completes 3,000th Ag Facility Audit

ResponsibleAg Completes 3,000th Ag Facility Audit

West Geneva County Cooperative Brings Industry Initiative to Milestone

OWENSBORO, KY (September 10, 2019) – ResponsibleAg, an industry-led safety and stewardship initiative, recently reached a major milestone when it completed its 3,000th agricultural facility audit at the West Geneva County Cooperative in Geneva, Alabama. Launched in 2014, ResponsibleAg provides a program that helps agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps members ensure they comply with environmental, health, safety and security regulations to keep employees, customers and communities safe.

“The 3,000th audit milestone is significant because it is indicative of the value ResponsibleAg provides to agricultural facilities and their commitment to safety and compliance,” says Tim McArdle, EVP, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of the Brandt Retail Agronomy division, and Chairman of the Board for ResponsibleAg. “The level of voluntary participation during the first five years of this program is impressive and the number of audited facilities is climbing rapidly. Participation demonstrates retailers’ continued commitment to safety for their employees, as well as customers and residents of the communities in which they operate.”

ResponsibleAg began the auditing program in December 2014. The first facility to complete the rigorous process and become certified was Crop Production Services, now known as Nutrien Ag Solutions, in Hillsboro, Tennessee. Facilities participating in the ResponsibleAg Certification Program undergo a thorough audit conducted by a ResponsibleAg Credentialed Auditor. The assessment can cover up to 17 areas of operation, depending upon the type of facility.

Once they are certified, facilities must repeat the audit process every three years to maintain ResponsibleAg certification. Recertification ensures personnel stay up to date on safe practices and facilities comply with new or updated rules and regulations.

“ResponsibleAg will continue to work toward its goal of 100 percent industry participation,” McArdle says. “This effort relays a strong message to the public and regulators, demonstrating that all members of the industry are committed to doing what is right and are working together to keep safety the top priority.”

For more information about the organization, the ResponsibleAg Certification Program or becoming a ResponsibleAg Credentialed Auditor, visit