Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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Fertilizer

RMP Guidance

Click here to download guidance on how to comply with Risk Management Program requirements.

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NH3 Safety Awareness For Farmers

With harvest beginning in some parts of the state, that means anhydrous ammonia application season is right around the corner.  Earlier this year IFCA made available an online anhydrous ammonia safety awareness training program specifically for farmers.  The program is free and only takes about an hour to complete.  There are a total of five training modules focusing on Properties & Characteristics of NH3, Personal Protective Equipment, Transportation To and From the Field of Application, Safe Hook Up in the Field and Emergency Resonse/First Aid Procedures.  The program was made possible with a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) in cooperation with Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinios Department of Agriculture.  Click here to access the NH3 safety awareness program for farmers.  If you have any questions please contact Kevin Runkle at the IFCA office.   

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Reuters News Service Publishes Map of US AN Facilities

Reuters news service has posted a map on their website showing locations in the US where Ammonium Nitrate (AN) is stored.  The information was posted based on Tier II reports submitted in 2012 and is posted publicly based on the Emergency Response and Community Right-To-Know Act.  Some ag retail facilities have already contacted Reuters regarding misinfomation such as facilities listed on the map storing AN when they actually store UAN.  IFCA encourages our members to view the map and make sure the information reported is accurate.  You can click here to send an email to Reuters if the information is not accurate to remove your facility information.  You can also click here to view the entire news story.  So far at least one retailer in Michigan had their facility information removed from the map since they did not store AN.  Please contact Kevin Runkle at the IFCA office if you have any questions regarding this news story.     Source: Ag Retailers Association

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Cause of West, TX Fire Revealed

At 4:00 CST, results of the joint investigation of the fire scene at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, TX were announced.  Representatives from the Texas State Fire Marshall and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) revealed the cause of the fire which subsequently ignited ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored at the facility.  

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IDA Conducting NH3 Nurse Tank Survey

Over the next two weeks the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Environmental Programs will be conducting a random assessment of 27 anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks at various ag retail facilities.  This is a new voluntary program IDA will use to assess compliance with USDOT regulations, specifically HAZMAT regulations.  The voluntary program will be very similar to a USDOT HAZMAT compliance audit with the major difference being IDA will send the facility a final report with recommendations to correct any deficiencies present.  There will not be any fines issued or documentation submitted to USDOT.  The program will only be used to assist a facility and provide guidance to correct any deficiencies if any are found.  IDA will be focusing the assessment on the following areas:  HAZMAT registration number, HAZMAT training, MSDS, number of NH3 nurse tanks present, maintenance records, placarding of nurse tanks, “R” stamp welding issues and legibility or presence of data plates.  If you have any questions about this new assessment initiative, please contact Kevin Runkle at the IFCA office.

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Risk Management Plan Renewal

June 2014 is the renewal date for most facilities regulated under the U.S. EPA Risk Management Plan (RMP) requirements.  The RMP documentation and requirements have received a lot of attention lately in the wake of last week’s fire and explosion at the West, Texas retail facility.  As reported in a majority of the news media, the ag retail facility had been fined in recent years for failing to comply with U.S. EPA RMP requirements.  You can reasonably expect U.S. EPA Region V will be out conducting RMP audits at Illinois ag retail facilities.  The Fertilizer Institute and Asmark Institute developed the myRMP web-based program to help facilities comply with RMP requirements.  Click here to access the myRMP program.  If you have any questions about RMP compliance, contact Kevin Runkle at the IFCA office.    

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Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Click here for IFCA fact sheet and click here for a fact sheet from The Fertilizer Institute.

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Potash Antitrust Settlement

In 2008, an antitrust lawsuit was filed in federal court against potash producers alleging they artificially inflated potash prices.  Earlier this year, a settlement was reached in the case subject to final approval of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  The court will hold a final approval hearing June 2013 in Chicago, IL.  Potash producers settled the claims to avoid significant costs and burdens from protracted litigation and do not admit any wrongdoing and deny they engaged in any violation of law or breach of duty.  The settlement releases the companies from any liability in connection to plaintiff's claims.     For more information on the settlement, go to the following websites:   Direct Purchaser Settlement   KCC is the court appointed claims administrator for the Direct Purchase settlement.  Click here to view the website.   Indirect Purchaser Settlement   Click here to view the website for claims administrator for the indirect purchaser settlement.   Source:  Agricultural Retailers Association

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Soil Nitrate Levels

The “Keep it for the Crop” program was instrumental this year in launching a statewide survey of soil  nitrate levels following the drought of 2012.  We felt it vital to gather scientific evidence of nitrate levels and to track the fate of the nitrates through the spring season.  Critics of fall applied nitrogen normally blame this practice for all nitrate losses, so the N WATCH soil testing program was key to allow the industry to track the fall 2012 applied ammonium in the soil vs. the residual nitrate left from the drought to compare the conversion rates and movement of N.  To see a brand new bulletin from the University of Illinois on the N WATCH program and new information on what the soil tests have revealed, click here http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p=160  It is extremely interesting reading and very educational not just to our industry, but to anyone who wants to try to understand the complexity of the nutrient cycle and how weather impacts even the best efforts at nutrient stewardship.  We encourage IFCA members to participate in the N WATCH program, you can request soil testing kits from jeanp@...more

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Online Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Program

  Click http://learning.ifca.com  to access a free online program that covers safe ammonia handling, transportation, and emergency response.  This program is designed for farmers and we encourage its use.

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Changes in Illinois Fertilizer Act

Click below to access the full text of the revised Illinois Fertilizer Act and a brochure explaining the new Nutrient Research & Education Council program.   Access the NREC website here http://www.illinoisnrec.org

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Fall Nitrogen Recommendations

Click here for the U of I Fall Nitrogen Recommendations  

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2011 NH3 Safety School Registration Brochure

Click on the link to download a copy of the 2011 IFCA & IDA NH3 Safety School Registration Brochure.

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Illinois Agronomy Handbook Fall N Chapter

Click here to see the updated fall N recommendations in the 24th Edition of the Illinois Agronomy Handbook.  To order the complete 24th edition of the Illinois Agronomy Handbook, call 1-800-345-6087 or visit the Publication Plus website (https://pubsplus.uiuc.edu/C1394.html). The price is $35.

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Fall Nitrogen Best Management Practices 2

Timely fall NH3 application is crucial to the future of fall nitrogen application.  Please go to the IFCA homepage to view the timely nitrogen application article written by UI Extension Specialist Fabian Fernandez and to access the nitrogen use rate calculator.  If the industry is to continue the practice of fall N application, we must police ourselves or risk being regulated by federal government agencies and lose the ability to apply fall nitrogen.

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Fall Nitrogen Best Management Practices

Please click on the link below to determine the most economically optimal nitrogen rate using the nitrogen rate calculator. extension.agron.iastate.edu/soilfertility/nrate.aspx Also please click on the attached pdf article by University of Illinois Extension Specialist in soil fertility, Fabian Fernandez, regarding timely nitrogen application.

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Pre-Registration Ends Today

Pre- registration for the 2010 Spring Anhydrous Ammonia safety schools ends today.  After today, the fee for the safety schools goes from $65 to $75.  The classes begin next week with the first safety school in Mt. Vernon on March 2, 2010.  The Mt. Vernon NH3 safety school is now full and IFCA will no longer be taking registrations for this class.  The remaining NH3 safety schools are still open for registration.  If you need to register for the ammonia safety schools, please contact the IFCA office or fax in the registration form to meet the deadline for pre-registration.  The NH3 safety school dates and locations are listed below. Tuesday, March 2 @ Holiday Inn, Mt. Vernon, IL--Registration Closed Wednesday, March 3 @ Worthington Inn, Charleston, IL Thursday, March 4 @ Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, IL Friday, March 5 @ Double Tree Hotel, Bloomington, IL Tuesday, March 9 @ Mendota Civic Center, Mendota, IL Wednesday, March 10 @ Monsanto Research Farm, Monmouth, IL Thursday, March 11 @ Oakley Lindsay Center, Quincy, IL Friday, March 12 @ Double Tree Hotel, Collinsville, IL Registration is still open at all of the NH3 safety schools except for Mt. Vernon. 

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Seasonal, Restricted CDL Option

Part time employees without a CDL have the option of submitting an application to the Illinois Secretary of State rather than completing theA fingerprint and background check.  Employees must choose between a CDL with HAZMAT or apply for the Restricted Use CDL.  A person can not have both a full CDL and the restricted license.  The restricted class B license can be used for either two 90 day periods or one 180 day period over a twelve month period.  The cost is $50 for the restricted license which only needs to be paid once every four years.  Employees with a restricted CDL are limited to hauling up to 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel, 3,000 gallons or less of liquid fertilizer (including NH3) or solid fertilizers not mixed with organic substances.  Fingerprinting and background checks are not required for the restricted CDL.  The application form is on our website under "Regulations" then "Secretary of State" or contact the IFCA office and we can fax you a copy. 

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The Value of the Ag Retailer

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) has developed a great color brochure that explains the value that the ag retailer brings to the farm customer, to the local community, the environment and to the ag industry as a whole.  Go to www.ifca.com to see the brochure for yourself.  You can download and distribute this brochure free of charge or you can have your logo put on this brochure and have copies shipped to your company to distribute to your customers.  For $10 you can receive 100 brochures with your company logo on them.  Please send an email to jeanp@ifca.com with your logo attached, let us know how many copies you want and we will get them to you. 

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Restricted Use CDL Does Not Require Fingerprinting

Part time employees without a CDL have the option of submitting an application to the Illinois Secretary of State rather than completing theA fingerprint and background check.  Employees must choose between a CDL with HAZMAT or apply for the Restricted Use CDL.  A person can not have both a full CDL and the restricted license.  The restricted class B license can be used for either two 90 day periods or one 180 day period over a twelve month period.  The cost is $50 for the restricted license which only needs to be paid once every four years.  Employees with a restricted CDL are limited to hauling up to 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel, 3,000 gallons or less of liquid fertilizer (including NH3) or solid fertilizers not mixed with organic substances.  Fingerprinting and background checks are not required for the restricted CDL.  The application form is on our website under "Regulations" then "Secretary of State" or contact the IFCA office and we can fax you a copy. 

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Fall NH3 Safety Schools Offered 3

On September 29 and 30, IFCA will be offering anhydrous ammonia safety schools prior to the fall NH3 application season.  The goal is for your Association to provide this training opportunity for our members to get training for your last minute part time employee hires or employees who can not make the ammonia school at MAGIE.  This training is necessary to comply with Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois and United States Departments of Transportation, USEPA RMP training requirements and Federal Rail Administration requirements.  The IFCA and IDA sponsored NH3 safety schools are the most comprehensive training classes available within the industry and the only training classes where representatives from IDA are on hand to give a presentation and answer questions about  compliance with the Rules and Regulations Relating to the handling, storage and transfer of anhydrous ammonia.    The September 29 class will be in Rock Falls and the September 30 class in Jacksonville.  NH3 safety school registration brochures went out this week so be on the lookout.  Pre-registration ends September 25, 2009. 

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New Nutrient Stewardship Brochure on the 4R's

Click here for a color brochure on the 4Rs for proper nutrient application:  Right Source, Right Time, Right Place, Right Rate

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NH3 Nurse Tanks & Ethanol Plants

Ethanol plants as well as other petroleum refineries throughout Illinois use anhydrous ammonia in their process.  It is used in ethanol plants as a pH balance.  Many ethanol plants have called upon IFCA members to supply them with anhydrous ammonia.  Some ethanol plants have NH3 storage tanks, but some choose to use nurse tanks as a form of supply to bypass IDA NH3 regulations as well as RMP requirements.  If anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks do not have a MC 330/331 stamped on the data plate, they can not be used to supply ethanol plants.  Federal hazmat regulations 173.315(m) state that ammonia nurse tanks are exempt from many USDOT requirements only if they are used for agricultural purposes only.  USDOT has determined ethanol plants and petroleum refineries are not "agricultural purposes" (i.e. crop production).  If you are supplying NH3 to an ethanol plant the tanks must bear the MC330/331 stamp and undergo the same testing and inspection requirements as NH3 cargo tanks.  Some pressurized vessel manufacturers do make MC330/331 tanks as small as 2,000 gallons which could be used to supply ethanol plants as long as ...more

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RMP

The deadline has now passed for the majority of facilities to submit their RMP five year update.  If you planned to submit your facility RMP electronically via RMP e-submit and have not received your letter form USEPA, you may not make your deadline.  Submitting an RMP electronically requires each facility submit an authorized company signature allowing personnel to submit electronically.  This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to receive final notification and instructions for accessing the e-submit program.  IFCA suggests companies should submit their RMP using the old RMP Submit 2004 program then mailing the hard copy to USEPA like you have done in the past.  This will allow you to meet your five year submission deadline.  This is the last year USEPA will be accepting a hard copy of the RMP produced with the RMP Submit program.  Any RMP submitted after January 1, 2010 must be submitted electronically to USEPA.  Submitting the five year RMP update to USEPA is just part of the process.  Each facility that submits an RMP must also have in place at each ammonia installation a Risk Management Program consisting of a Hazard ...more

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Farmer Owned NH3 Storage and Nurse Tank Guide To Regulatory Requirements

IFCA, in partnership with Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Corn Growers Association developed a brochure outlining the regulatory requirements farmers must comply with if they own anhydrous ammonia storage tanks or anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks.  Please click on the link to access the regulatory brochure.  

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Is Everyone Paying Fertilizer Tonnage Fees

If you suspect a company is not paying fertilizer tonnage fees to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, please contact the IFCA and we can have IDA follow up on companies suspected of selling fertilizer in Illinois and not paying all the proper fees.  This seems to be a much more common problem this year, so please do not hesitate to contact the IFCA office.  IDA will be more than happy to make sure all companies are paying proper fertilizer tonnage fees.

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IFCA Meets with U of I on Industry Communications

Last week IFCA met with Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois Dept of Ag Economics.  Recently our members have expressed concern about publications from various academic institutions that list the wholesale price of fertilizer and encourage farmers to wait until spring to purchase fertilizer.  Of particular concern is the perception that is taking place with farmers who see wholesale prices in the Gulf and try to correlate that to prices in the Midwest.  It was a productive meeting in which IFCA members Ervin Caselton of Evergreen FS, Mike Hilgenbrinck of The Andersons and Brian Waddell of Mosaic along with Jean Payne shared information about the fertilizer distribution system and the problems that may occur both in the Spring of 09 and Fall of 09 with regard to producers delaying fertilization decisions.  We hope that the tone of some of the messages coming from credible sources like the U of I begin to fairly reflect the legitimate concerns of the input industry. 

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Illinois Streams & Total Nitrogen

As if we don't have enough challenges, USEPA is pressuring the Illinois EPA to list nearly all streams and bodies of water in Illinois as impaired for total nitrogen.  Despite the fact that research does not indicate that total nitrogen is directly responsible for biological impairment in the waters, USEPA thinks it should be.  If USEPA wins this arguments, thousands of streams and water bodies in Illinois could be required to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load limits subscribed the The Clean Water Act.  This is another step forward by the federal government to regulate non-point sources such as nutrient application to farm ground.  As our industry engages with USEPA on this issue, it's also another reason everyone needs to embrace best management practices.  Dumping bulk fertilizer on bare ground, or enabling this practice, would not be considered, by any means, a best management practice. 

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Bulk Fertilizer & Stewardship Issues

We have received many calls in the past week at the office from our members expressing concern about bulk fertilizers being dumped in the fields.  While Illinois' on-farm containment regulations allow over 50,000 lbs of bulk dry fertilizer or 5,000 gallons or more of liquid to be stored for up to 45 days by farmers, certainly from a stewardship standpoint it is not recommended.  Even when under the 45 days, the product can only be stored at the farm (or in the field of application) by the farmer who owns it and not as a transfer point.  IFCA is working with the IL Dept of Agriculture to ensure that those selling the fertilizer and directing farmers to terminals for pick-up are registered to sell fertilizer in Illinois, are reporting the tonnage, are subject to quality control checks and remitting the tonnage tax.  IDA is investigating several cases already.  We have also heard of liquid fertilizer being put into tanker trucks and parked somewhere until spring arrives.  Since tankers are non-mobile containers they also fall outside of the containment regulations.  One thing is for sure, some people exploit the loopholes that exist.  If this is ...more

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Form Available For Security Tax Credit

With the enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill, the Ag Retailers Association (ARA) initiated the chemical security tax credit for agricultural retailers, distributors and other eligible agribusinesses.  Expenditures on certain security upgrades at your facility after May 22, 2008 are now eligible to receive tax credits of $100,000 per facility or $2,000,000 per company.  Locks on ammonia nurse tanks are one an example of an eligible expense.  Attached is the tax form required to claim the expense as well as a more detailed explanation of the types of security upgrades that are eligible for the tax credit.  IFCA would like to thank ARA for working on this issue and helping to get it passed into law.  If you have any further questions, please contact the IFCA office. 

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FBI Asks Industry To Keep Our Eyes Open

The IFCA office recently received a phone call from an FBI agent that we work with asking us to please keep an eye out for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.  FBI Special Agent Steffan Nass, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Coordinator has informed the IFCA office that several lawn & garden facilities and ag retail facilities in the Midwest have experienced theft of ammonium nitrate based fertilizers.  Although no thefts have yet to be reported in Illinois, Special Agent Nass asks that you contact him directly if a theft has occurred at your facility no matter how big or small the theft.  Special Agent Nass can be reached at 309.743.0067 or by e-mail at steffan.nass@icfbi.gov. 

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Fall Nitrogen Economic Impact Study--Phase II

Our industry is constantly under scrutiny regarding fall application of anhydrous ammonia from government regulatory agencies and environmental groups.  If our industry fails to work together to promote best management practices of fall applied anhydrous ammonia then we risk the chance of dealing with regulatory oversight and possibly tightened restrictions of fall applied anhydrous ammonia.    Professors at Illinois State University have a grant from the Fertilizer Research and Education Council (FREC) to conduct an economic impact study if fall anhydrous ammonia were banned and spring application became the only option.  Please take the time to read the attached instructions and fill out the questionnaire and return the information.  If you have trouble opening the attachments or have any questions regarding the attached documents, please contact the IFCA office.

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TWIC Poster

This poster contains information for shippers of hazardous materials entering river terminals regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard under the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).

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IFCA Regulatory Workshop 2

Are you ready for the fall fertilizer season?  On October 1, 2008 IFCA will be hosting a Transportation Regulatory Workshop from 8:30 am to Noon at the Doubletree Hotel, 10 Brickyard Drive in Bloomington, IL.  We want our members to be prepared for another busy fall season, particularly those who transport anhydrous ammonia in cargo tank motor vehicles.  The agenda includes:  * The US Coast Guard will review the requirements for the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC) which will be required of all motor carriers who load anhydrous ammonia or fuel at terminals located on the river. * The Illinois DOT will review the safety permit, hazmat and motor carrier regulations including what to expect during an audit. * The IL Secretary of State will review the CDL program including the proposed federal rules which may change the training requirements for CDL drivers. *USDOT will review the USDOT # requirements and the federal compliance review process. *Crossroad Compliance will wrap up the day with information on how you can protest DOT violations and penalties that you feel are not justified. Watch for a flyer from IFCA on this workshop.  The fee to attend this 1/2 day seminar is $15.00 if you register by September 24, 2008. &...more

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Please Take Time to Fill Out Nitrogen Survey

Last week, IFCA mailed out a survey to members asking them to complete an enclosed survey related to the amount of fall and spring anhydrous ammonia applied in their region.  The information will be used in an economic impact study to help determine what would happen to the industry if fall applied anhydrous ammonia were eliminated.  Recently, media attention has focused on the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia zone as being the largest in history.  Many scientists and government regulatory agencies point their fingers at current agriculture practices in the midwest as the culprit of the hypoxia zone.  Please take the time to fill out the survey and mail it to Illinois State University in the self addressed stamped envelope.  The survey is confidential, and the more responses we get from IFCA members the more accurate the research project will be.  We cant afford to lose fall anhydrous ammonia application.  If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Jean or Kevin.

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Record Year Predicted For Dead Zone 2

A team of scientists from Louisiana State University is forecasting that the hypoxia zone off the coast of Louisiana and Texas will be the largest this summer since they began taking measurements in 1985.  The hypoxia zone, sometimes referred to as the "dead zone" because of low level of oxygen in the water is predicted to be the size of Massachusets this July.  Dr. Eugene Turner of LSU stated "The intensive farming of more land, including crops used for biofuels, has definitely contributed to this high nitrogen loading rate."  There remains much debate on the cause of the hypoxia zone, as many models show the zone growing in size while the loadings of nitrogen and phosphorus have remained stable.  This issue will continue to nip at the heels of the agricultural industry.  IFCA is working with researchers at Illinois State University to develop an economic impact analysis showing the impact of any legislative efforts to reduce or eliminate fall applied nitrogen in Illinois.  This study is being funded by FREC and we hope to have it completed this fall for distribution. 

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TWIC Cards Required For Entry To Designated River Terminals

The Department of Homeland Security, through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard, is implementing a mandatory program generally requiring that all workers who have unescorted access to secure areas of a covered facility must obtain and carry a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.   A TWIC is a tamper resistant identification credential issued by theA, containing the worker’s biometric information (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.    The TWIC regulation affects every facility covered by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA). Facilities covered under MTSA include but are not limited to facilities that offload anhydrous ammonia, propane, ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate fertilizers, fertilizer mixtures, or nitro carbate mixtures described and defined as an oxidizer by the regulations of 49 CFR part 173.   According to the US Coast Guard, an estimated one million individuals will be required to obtain a TWIC. This includes Coast Guard-credentialed merchant mariners, port facility employees, longshoremen, truck drivers, and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA. Some facilities that store fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia in separate locations may designate ...more

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The Illinois Fertilizer Act

Click on this link for the Illinois Fertilizer Act

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Agrichemical Facility Response Action Program (Part 259)

Outlines the agchem facility cleanup program and remediation standards for pesticides and fertilizer

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