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 going on in your area, it would help a great deal to try to find out who is involved in this practice, paticularly who is responsible for selling the product to the end user. Unless we have names, it's hard to ensure compliance with the rules that are in place. It would also help IFCA address potential changes to the on-farm containment regulations if we had pictures and documentation of these incidents. We were able in 2001 to work with the farm groups to enact the on-farm containment regulations only because we had proof of tank ruptures and dry storage run-off and the resulting environmental impacts. Anecdotal accounts help make our case, but tangible proof gives us a definite advantage in dealing with this politically challenging subject. Get out those digital cameras if you see this going on, note the date, and note the location please.