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2017: Drift Control’s Most Important Year, So Far

This upcoming growing season promises to be slightly different than any that have come before it. In 2017, USDA estimates say that almost as much soybean acres will be planted as corn — 89.5 million acres vs. 90 million acres. And chances are that at least some of these added soybeans acres will feature seeds/plants that have been engineered to be resistant to the herbicide dicamba — the latest in the agricultural industry’s ongoing effort to combat the more than 200 weeds in grower fields that have developed resistance to other popular herbicides such as PPO varieties and glyphosate.   As ...

5 Things To Watch in 2018 Farm Bill and Agricultural Legislation

When Mary Kay Thatcher talks to farmers, they initially look at the map at states where President Trump won last November (rural areas). “They think, boom, we have anything we want,” says the senior director for congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau.   Not exactly.   Difficulties in Congress remain. She notes virtually anything other than reconciliation bills still require 60 votes in the U.S. Senate. With 52 Republicans in the Senate, 8 Democratic votes are still required to pass anything.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Secretary Says GMO Labeling Is ‘All About Marketing’

Newly confirmed agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said labeling food as organic and free of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is mainly about marketing during a press conference at the Department of Agriculture Thursday.   “I knew it was all about marketing when I went to the grocery store and there was non-GMO, organic shampoo,” Perdue said. “This is really a lot to do with marketing and some of the people who are in this area have claimed that.”   Perdue had been asked about how he will write regulations based on laws passed during President Barack Obama&...

Appropriate Sized Nurse Tank Withdrawal Valves

By December 31, 2020 nurse tank withdrawal valves shall be protected by an excess flow valve matched to the designed flow rate. Flow capacity of the excess flow valves shall not exceed 45 GPM for 1¼” connections & 60 GPM for 1½” connections.  Each valve shall be removed from service & inspected at an interval not to exceed 5 years. In Illinois alone, we have over 28,000 nurse tanks, so replacing these valves to the appropriate sized GPM will take time. If you haven't already done so, please put this on your to do list. The valve manufacturers ...

ChemChina’s purchase of Syngenta gets shareholder approval

Syngenta shareholders have accepted ChemChina’s $43 billion offer to buy the company, tendering more than enough shares to allow the transaction to go forward.   Syngenta announced early today that “based on preliminary numbers, around 80.7 percent of shares have been tendered,” well above the 67 percent threshold needed.   “It’s a historic day for Syngenta and truly a great day for our shareholders, for our employees, our customers and for ChemChina, so we’re very, very pleased to have this behind us,” Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald said in an interview with CNBC.   &...

Clarification on NTIP nurse tank markings

Yesterday there might have been some confusion on markings on nurse tanks that are enrolled into the NTIP program.  The DOT-SP 13554 is no longer required as a marking on the side of the nurse tanks.  However certain markings listing the inspection date, along with the types of inspections performed are required.  This is required for nurse tanks that have a missing or illegible data plate.  Click here for examples of current markings that are acceptable and markings that would be considered a violation. Please contact John Rebholz if you have any questions.   &...

Dicamba Application: Damage Report from MO and Pressure to Apply

This week IFCA received calls from several concerned ag retailers regarding the intense pressure they are under to custom apply dicamba to soybeans.  The frustrations expressed surround the expectations that custom applicators should apply even if label conditions cannot be met, or business will be taken elsewhere.  This is not a unique quandary when it comes to stewardship:  those who want to do the right thing are sometimes pressured to do otherwise or lose the business.    In other cases, some growers who did not intend to use dicamba but who have now changed their minds ...

Dicamba Label Training Starts this Week

IFCA is helping to coordinate some classroom opportunities for the required dicamba-auxin specific training.  Certified applicators who apply dicamba to soybean in 2019 MUST attend the training or complete the on-line training when it becomes available.     We have coordinated some classroom training opportunities following the private applicator clinics.  The first training class is being taught by BASF at 3:00 pm this Thursday, Nov 29 in Springfield at the Wyndham City Centre.  Please help spread the word to your customers who may not feel comfortable with on-line training.  Anyone can register to attend this training, free of ...

Dicamba Labels

IFCA has been working with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the registrants, UI and the farm organizations on proactive measures to ensure successful dicamba application in 2019, and to reduce the number of misuse complaints.  That is vital to the future use of this product in Illinois.  IDA Director John Sullivan, who addressed the dicamba issue at the IFCA convention last month, shared his thoughts on the matter this week in this interview with Farmweek:  https://farmweeknow.com/story-sullivan-idoa-announce-new-dicamba-restriction-5-186480   As our members know, IFCA took a position in August 2018 supporting a ...

Dicamba Training in Illinois - Visit New Website

The new labels for Engenia, Xtendimax and FeXapan require that applicators be certified in order to purchase these products, and receive specific dicamba training in order to apply these products in 2018.   IFCA developed and launched an Illinois Dicamba Training website that provides resources to help facilitate this training for our members, and for private applicators.  The website is www.ifca.com/illinoisdicambatraining.com  It features an explanation of the new requirements, a Frequently Asked Questions page, a Resource page with labels, a recordkeeping form and other helpful guidance documents, a calendar of available training venues and ...

EPA Mulls Dow, FMC Requests to Redo Endangered Species Studies

An EPA official appeared to welcome the opportunity to re-evaluate three contentious scientific assessments on pesticides that harm rare species, saying the agency wanted more time to finish the evaluations before fully considering outside recommendations.   Anita Pease, the agency’s acting associate director for the Office of Pesticide Programs’ Biological and Economic Analysis Division, said May 3 that the agency is considering revising the biological evaluations on chlorpyrifos, malathion and dianazon. Reports found that nearly all threatened or endangered species would be affected by two of the three insecticides.   Manufacturers of the pesticides—Dow Agrosciences LLC, ...

Fall Nitrogen Guidelines

When stepping outside today, the first reaction is "brrr!"   As temperatures have plummeted from 80 degrees last week to highs of 50 degrees this week in much of Illinois, the next thing to think about is the 4Rs of fall fertilizer application--specifically fall ammonia applications.     Each morning, IFCA will post a map of the State Water Survey's WARM site, which has indicators of the maximum daily soil temperature in bare soil at the 4-inch depth.  With regard to applying anhydrous ammonia in the fall, we continue to urge patience until soil temperatures fall ...

Farmers Battle to Keep 'Super Weed' Out of their Corn and Beans

Iowa farmers know Palmer amaranth, the aggressive "super weed" that can quickly overtake their valuable corn and soybean fields, is lurking in thousands of conservation acres.   In the weeks and months ahead, growers across the state will fight to keep the money-robbing pigweed from marching into millions of Iowa's crop acres.   Last year, farmers discovered that Palmer amaranth seed had been inadvertently mixed into pollinator and other conservation reserve program plantings.   Now, 49 of Iowa's 99 counties have reported seeing the weed, although officials believe it's more pervasive and has invaded more counties.   ...

Field Crop Clinics

There are 10 training opportunities for licensed operators to take the Field Crop exam and be upgraded to the definition of "certified commercial applicator" in order to apply dicamba to soybean in 2019.  The new labels require the product to be applied only by certified applicators.  IFCA continues to work alongside Ag Retailers Association to see if any discretion can be given to states like Illinois where licensed operators have taken and passed the General Standards exam and have been allowed to apply other restricted use pesticides for decades as licensed commercial operators.  We are still hopeful ...

FMCSA Rescinds Requirement for Permit for Ammonia Transporters

On August 31, 2017, the USDOT announced they are no longer requiring transporters of anhydrous ammonia in cargo tanks to obtain a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit.  This requirement had applied to ammonia transporters with MC 330/331 cargo tanks (i.e. semi cargo tank trailers).     This is welcome news.  Ammonia transporters who have served the ag retail industry were under this additional regulatory requirement to obtain this permit and renew it every other year.  Ammonia transporters still have to comply with extensive levels of hazmat regulation including driver training, recordkeeping, cargo tank testing and reinspection, tank conformance standards, etc.&...

GOP State Senator Bill Brady Takes Lead in Brokering 'Grand Bargain'

With time running out – the Illinois General Assembly is set to conclude the legislative session at the end of the month – the pressure is on to reach a budget compromise.   Republican State Sen. Bill Brady, once a candidate for governor himself, is taking a the lead role in brokering a deal.   "We have come a long way and we know where each other stand," Brady told NBC 5 on Sunday.   Brady has been meeting with Senate President John Cullerton, and while he said "we're not there yet; we are closer to a ...

Have You Joined Responsible Ag?

Please consider joining the growing number of ag retail facilities nationwide who are participating in Responsible Ag to ensure that their facilities are in compliance with the many federal regulations that impact agrichemical facilities.     We are very proud of the Illinois ag retailers who are part of Responsible Ag.  If you are curious who in Illinois is a member of the program, click here.  Right now Congress is debating a bill that would lower your tier in the CFATS (Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) program if you belong to Responsible Ag.  To read more about ...

How to Check Status of Applicator Licenses

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is doing their best to issue pesticide applicator licenses in a timely fashion, but they have struggled with lack of human resources at IDA and are admittedly behind in getting the licenses issued this year.     We have been getting calls at IFCA office from retailers and distributors who want to know what their options are for selling restricted use pesticides to either commercial or private applicators if that applicator has not yet received their license from IDA.     IDA has confirmed that you can access the Pesticide Applicator Search option ...

IFCA Offers Field Crop Training & Testing on March 11

To ensure our members have one more opportunity to get their applicators properly certified to apply dicamba to soybean in 2019, we are offering a Field Crop training clinic at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington on March 11.  Dr. Bill Simmons (Emeritus Professor UI Crop Sciences) will teach the class.     The training will begin at 9:00 am, we will have lunch at noon, and the IL Dept of Ag will be on hand at 1:00 pm to offer testing in field crops, general standards, and all other pesticide categories.     The cost to attend this training class is $60.&...

IFCA Regulatory Alert: Guidance on Dicamba Use and Applicator Licensing

Yesterday USEPA announced that dicamba will be labeled for use on soybeans in 2019 and 2020, and indicated that all applicators needed to be "certified applicators" in order to apply the product.     The Illinois Pesticide Act outlines several categories of testing and licensing:  Certified Applicators (which include commercial applicators and private applicators) and licensed operators, who must also pass a competency exam to be licensed to work under the supervision of a certified commercial applicator.  States are unique in how they each license applicators and/or operators.     Illinois has approximately 5,000 licensed commercial operators, who ...

IFCA Regulatory Alert: USEPA Announces Dicamba Label Changes; IFCA Dicamba BMPs

Today, October 13, USEPA announced and issued new labels for the three approved over the top dicamba herbicide formulations for soybeans:  Engenia, XtendiMax and FeXapan.  Click here to see the USEPA news release.     The new label requirements are extensive and seek to address the issues determined in 2017 that led to symptomology in sensitive soybeans and other sensitive crops.  The changes include:   1.  Classifying these three products as Restricted Use Pesticides; in addition the certified private and commercial applicators and operators must complete specific training on these product labels prior to performing an in-crop application.&...

IFCA Suggestions to USEPA on Dicamba Use on Soybean

The IFCA Board and staff has been very engaged all year on the dicamba issue.  We talk with the IDA every week regarding the misuse complaints and the IDA investigations, and we recently met with all the pesticide manufacturers to discuss the best path forward given the high number of complaints that farmers have filed with the IDA, the clear majority of which are dicamba symptoms on sensitive soybeans.    As of today, IDA has received 319 misuse complaints attributed to dicamba symptoms and the total number of pesticide misuse complaints is now at 500---a historic high and something ...

Illinois Agriculture Reduces Nitrogen Losses via Voluntary Programs

More good news!  At the Farm Progress show this week, Illinois EPA and IL Dept of Ag released a biennial report that outlines the progress made in the last two years on Illinois' nutrient loss reduction strategy (INLRS).  The strategy was put in place in July 2015.     For agriculture, they reported a 10% decline in nitrogen losses to Illinois lakes, rivers and streams.  Most of the credit goes to efficient use of nitrogen fertilizers in corn production, and also credits the voluntary actions taken by the ag industry to promote the 4Rs, embrace conservation practices, and raise ...

Illinois Dept of Ag Announces Special Local Needs Dicamba Labels

Today, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced a 24c Special Local Need (SLN) label for the three dicamba products labeled for soybean:  Engenia, FeXapan and Xtendimax.  Each label now spells out additional requirements for application in Illinois, as follows:    1. The implementation of a cutoff date of June 30, 2019, for application to DT soybeans. 2. Prohibiting application when the wind is blowing toward adjacent residential areas. 3. Required consultation of the FieldWatch sensitive crop registry before application, as well as compliance with all associated record keeping label requirements. 4. Maintaining the label-specified downwind buffer between the last treated row and the ...

Illinois' pension failure has many fathers

Ever since former Illinois Republican Gov. Jim Edgar started publicly criticizing current Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Edgar has been subjected to a steady drumbeat of criticism from the far right.   The focus of most of that criticism is what's come to be known as the "Edgar ramp." The phrase describes the ramping up of state pension payments to the current point, where pension expenses are consuming about a quarter of the state's budget.   There is no doubt the Edgar ramp was flawed, as all compromises are. The annual pension payment increases were too gradual ...

Last Day to RSVP for October 23 4R Field Day

On October 23, IFCA is hosting a 4R Field Day in Auburn, IL from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Click here to see the location and agenda.  Topics of discussion include the latest NREC research results including N rate trials and a look at what the tile flows at the NREC site in Douglas County are revealing after three years of research using different 4R practices and seeing the impact on N and P levels in drainage water.  The staff at Springfield City, Water Light & Power will explain the history of Lake Springfield, and how they manage water quality ...

License Plates on Floaters - Enforcement Actions

For decades there has been a provision in the Illinois Vehicle Code that requires that self-propelled implements of husbandry have license plates if they are going to operate on the highway laden with load.  The law also states that in no case can the floaters/applicators be over 36,000 lbs whether loaded or empty, they must be operated within a 50 mile radius of their home base, and they cannot exceed 12 feet in width or travel over 30 mph.     Recently, an IFCA member in Southern Illinois was cited by the Illinois State Police for having a load of lime ...

Licensed Operators Must be Certified Applicators to Apply Dicamba to Soybean

For the past few weeks, IFCA has been working to determine how the new dicamba labels impact the commercial application industry in Illinois.  We finally have answers for you and instructions on what to do next.  It is not welcome news but there is a path forward and time is short to assure compliance for retailers who wish to provide custom dicamba application to soybean.  Here is what you need to know and do to apply dicamba in 2019:     1.  Under federal law, only CERTIFIED APPLICATORS can apply dicamba to soybean in 2019.  ...

March 1 Reports

As March 1 nears, be sure to submit your annual Tier 2 chemical inventory reports to IEMA and your annual Pesticide Producing Establishment reports to to USEPA prior to the March 1 deadline.  If you have questions please contact IFCA.  

Monsanto scraps deal to sell Precision Planting to Deere

Monsanto has terminated an agreement to sell its Precision Planting LLC farm equipment business to machinery maker Deere & Co (DE.N), the companies said on Monday, ending a legal fight with antitrust authorities over the deal.   The U.S. Department of Justice last August filed a lawsuit to block the sale, arguing the deal could make it more expensive for farmers to use fast, precise planting technology. The planned sale was originally announced in late 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed.   Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, and Deere, the biggest U.S. farm equipment manufacturer, had ...

New Requirements for Dicamba Application in 2019 - Operators need Applicator Designation

On October 31, 2018 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that registration Engenia, Xtendimax and FeXapan will be extended to December 20, 2020.  The announcement indicated that EPA has reviewed substantial amounts of new information and concluded that the continued registration of the dicamba products meets FIFRA’s registration standards. The Agency has also determined that extending these registrations with the new safety measures will not affect endangered species. The Press Release may be found here.     The key changes include: Two-year registration (until December 20, 2020) Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under ...

New Requirements for Lights on Ammonia Trailers

A few years ago when Congress updated the federal transportation regulations in a bill called MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century), there was a requirement embedded in the bill that requires the manufacturers of implements of husbandry to put reflective tape and lights on all trailers for equipment manufactured after June 22, 2017.  The lighting and markings must meet the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers Standard S279.14.     These new requirements apply to ammonia nurse tank trailers manufactured and sold after June 22, 2017.  The additional cost per trailer can run .75 cents ...

No Cutoff Date in Illinois for Dicamba Applications to Soybean

The Illinois Department of Agriculture informed IFCA yesterday that they will not be seeking any changes to the newly released dicamba labels.  There had been some discussion of establishing an application cut-off date; IFCA supported a June 20 cut-off date in our comments to USEPA last summer.    Although IDA will not be seeking this or any other label changes for dicamba use in Illinois, IDA asked us to remind everyone that just because there won't be a cut-off date, extreme care must be taken in using this product and applicators will be expected to comply fully ...

Register for October 19 Nitrogen Webinar

On Friday, October 19 at 8:30 am Central Time, Dr. Emerson Nafziger will have a one hour webinar focused on nitrogen management for the 2019 season.  The title of the webinar is "Managing Nitrogen After Another Great Year" and he will share results of the 2018 nitrogen rate trials performed throughout the state.  IFCA's Dan Schaefer, Jason Solberg and John Pike worked with Dr. Nafziger to implement nearly 50 trials in 2018.  The results are interesting and in many ways different from last year, so tune in.  We will offer 1 CEU in Nutrient Management.  The webinar will also ...

Remaining Field Crop Training Clinics

Of the 8 remaining training opportunities for licensed operators to take the Field Crop exam and be upgraded to the definition of "certified commercial applicator" in order to apply dicamba to soybean in 2019, 4 are already filled to capacity.   Seats are filling up quickly for the training, so we highly recommend sending any of your operators who are planning on taking the field crop exam to one of the remaining training days still available. The list of the remaining field crop training classes along with the number of people currently registered as well as the capacity of the room ...

Spring 2019 Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools

Listed below are the upcoming spring anhydrous ammonia safety schools.  You can go to www.ifca.com to register for the classes.  The NH3 safety schools are offered through the combined efforts of IFCA and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  This training will meet the requirements of the certified competent attendant which requires training at least every three years.   January 29-IFCA Convention-Peoria (Registration only through the IFCA Convention tab) February 26-The Pavilion-Marion February 28-Effingham Event Center-Effingham March 01-Unique Suites – Charleston March 04-Asmark Agricenter-Bloomington March 05-Civic Center-Mendota March 06-Knox Agricenter-Galesburg March 07-Holiday Inn-Quincy March 08-Poes Catering &...

Steps to Keep Dicamba in the Integrated Weed Management Toolbox

We feature this subject as a REGULATORY ALERT not because it is a new regulation, but on the premise that if dicamba on soybean is not carefully managed in 2018 to reduce off target movement, there is a high probability that USEPA will cancel these labels.  Furthermore, there is a strong possibility that in subsequent years, the potential misuse of other dicamba products on soybean could threaten the use of dicamba in all crops.  Aside from USEPA actions, the Illinois legislature could also act to restrict this and other pesticide uses if off target movement and symptoms of off ...

THIS WEEK IN DC

The Senate has a cloture vote Monday evening to advance Scott Gottlieb’s nomination to run FDA. Senators will move later in the week to confirm USTR pick Robert Lighthizer, an international trade lawyer who served at USTR during the Reagan administration.   Food and agriculture industry groups have been pressuring the Senate to get both nominees in place.   In a recent letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a coalition of food and beverage trade groups said Gottlieb would bring “a high level of knowledge and experience” to FDA.   Click Here ...

Update: Field Crop Training & Dicamba Label Training

Only certified applicators can apply dicamba to soybean under the new labels that were issued on October 31.     Since Illinois has a large number of licensed operators who must take and pass the field crop exam in order to be considered a "certified commercial applicator" we have worked with the University of Illinois to add more field crop training opportunities.  The dates and locations of the field crop clinics are below.     Where there are two days listed, the first day is general standards training and testing only in general standards, the ...

Warning Letters & Violations on Pesticide Misuse

The IL Dept of Ag reports that of the 521 pesticide misuse complaints that were filed in 2018 (329 of them dicamba related), they have issued 108 warning letters and 8 monetary penalties so far--nearly all of these have gone to commercial applicators.  IDA is about 1/3 of the way through their workload on the complaints.     Most of the monetary penalties are the result of points carrying over on the applicator's license due to a warning letter(s) being received last year.  As points accumulate over a 3 year period, the likelihood of warning letters reaching a monetary penalty increases. &...