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USEPA Dicamba Cancellation Order - Details Forthcoming

Late on June 8, USEPA issued a cancellation order for the use of Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan.  This will allow for use of existing stocks of these products until July 31, 2020.    The ag industry argued intensely for some reasonable path forward, given that farmers legally planted Xtend traits and retailers legally purchased product for application to soybean in Illinois.  Cancellation orders provide a limited avenue for product on hand to be utilized.  In this case, USEPA is allowing product currently on hand at the farmer and commercial applicator level to be utilized in accordance with the label. &...

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&...

Ammonia Release, Safety Reminders

With the 2019 spring season just beginning, seven ammonia releases have already occured in the state of Illinois. The latest incident took place yesterday in Beach Park, IL. Beach Park is roughly 50 miles north of Chicago, just near the Wisconsin border. A grower was transporting two side-by-side ammonia nurse tanks behind an ammonia tool-bar with his tractor at 4:30 in the morning when the incident occurred. It was reported that 37 people were transported to the hospital, with up to 7 people listed as being in critical condition.   If the grower is in possession of anhydrous ammonia and ...

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 ...

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CDL Hotline to Schedule Skills/Road Test

Beginning on April 29, 2020 the Illinois Secretary of State has established a CDL hotline to call in order to schedule a CDL Skills/Road test at any of the three offices now open to accommodate CDL needs:  West Chicago, Springfield and Marion.     The number to call is 217.785.3013.  There were nearly 600 CDL road test appointments that had to be cancelled due to the Stay at Home order, so the Sec of State will work to reschedule those drivers first, but then begin scheduling others to test.     You do not need an appointment to take the CDL ...

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.   &...

COVID 19 Resources for IFCA Members

See below resources for IFCA members on your essential business managing through COVID.  Contact IFCA with questions.  

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Covid in the Workplace Webinar Sept 2

There are a lot of circumstances and questions that arise about how to deal with employees who may test positive, may become ill, how and when they can return to work and the impact on fellow employees they may have been in contact with.  Ag employees are essential workers and the CDC provides exceptions to the standard quarantine procedures for the general public.  To help provide answers to common questions and address circumstances in agriculture workplaces, our friends at the Grain & Feed Association of Illinois organized a webinar and invited IFCA members to participate in this free ...

Details on Illinois Dicamba Cancellation Order

The Illinois Department of Agriculture issued a "Frequently Asked Questions" document today explaining the details on the use of Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan under the USEPA cancellation order.  The use of Tavium is also addressed, although it is not part of the cancellation order.      IFCA believes this FAQ addresses all the questions that we had about how this affects ag retail members, distributors and growers.  Issues regarding grower pre-pay, transfer of product between custom application facilities, the prohibition of any product from wholesale distribution unless it was already owned by the ...

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 June 20 Cutoff & 85 Degree Temperature Reminder

The Illinois Department of Agriculture re-affirmed to IFCA today that the June 20 cut-off date for the application of dicamba remains in place.  The Special Local Needs labels for over the top dicamba application to soybean also has a 85 degree temperature restriction, and you must use the weather.gov website to obtain your dicamba weather forecast.  To see the Illinois Special Local Needs labels for Xtendimax, Engenia, FeXapan and Tavium, click here.     For clarification, the 85 degree temperature restriction means that if the weather.gov website has a forecasted high of 86 or more for the zip code of ...

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 ...

Dicamba Use Right Now: Truth, Rumors, Your Risk

IFCA wants our members to know that we are very concerned and disagree with what occurred with the US federal court ruling that vacated the Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan labels on June 3.  We do not support the ruling and the disruption it has caused.  But your Association's mission is to provide factual information to our members based on what we know, so that you can make informed business decisions.    This is what we know.  Right now in most of Illinois it is too hot (or windy) to spray any dicamba on soybean (i.e. ...

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, ...

Face Coverings for Essential Workers Effective May 1

Yesterday Governor Pritzker announced new guidelines for the Illinois “Stay in Place” order, effective May 1, 2020.  One of the guidelines requires employers to provide face coverings to employees if the employees cannot maintain safe social distancing requirements.  It also requires all Illinoisans over the age of 2 to wear face coverings in public places if you cannot maintain social distancing.    This past Tuesday, IFCA submitted a list to FEMA of all ag retail and distributor members and their number of employees, to obtain face coverings from a FEMA sponsored program with the Hanes Company in order ...

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 ...

Families First Coronavirus Response Act for Small Businesses

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) goes into effect tomorrow, April 1, 2020.  Employers with less than 500 employees are covered by this Act.  It provides guidelines and financial assistance for employers who need to allow employees to be absent from work to care for children home from school, to care for sick family members, who are ill themselves, etc. due to the impacts of COVID-19.       Please go to www.ifca.com where we have posted several guidance documents and FAQs that explain the FFCRA provisions.  There is also a FFCRA Notice that you must post ...

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 ...

IDOT Extends Overweight Exemption until June 28

Although we told you in yesterday's email that the exemption to allow overweight loads during the pandemic had ended, IDOT has now reinstated the exemption until June 28 to continue to allow supplies critical during this period to take advantage of larger loads.  This is also very important for the livestock industry.  This extension allows up to 90,000 lbs on five axles or up to 12% above legal loads on fewer axles.  However, be reminded that you must carry the declaration in your truck and you must also observe all bridge and local road posting restrictions.  Click here ...

IFCA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on COVID-19 Ag Issues

IFCA has summarized the most frequently asked questions about the regulatory relief being provided by the state and federal government to help agriculture, an essential industry, manage through the COVID-19 pandemic.     The IFCA FAQ is two pages and contains links to more detailed information.  We know it's a challenge to wade through all of the guidance documents so we hit the high points of regulatory relief in areas of pesticides, transportation and labor.  We will update this FAQ regularly so please keep checking www.ifca.com.  Information on how to contact IFCA staff for ...

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 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 ...

IL Dept of Ag Issues Statement on Cease Use, Sale and Distribution of Dicamba Products

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, the lead regulatory agency for pesticides in Illinois, issued a short statement late this afternoon that states that due to the 9th US Circuit Court Ruling that immediately vacates the registrations for Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan, that these products cannot be sold, distributed or applied in Illinois effective June 3, 2020.    Only Tavium, a dicamba containing product, remains legal to be used on soybean in Illinois.  But the use of Tavium must adhere to the Illinois Special Local Needs label, including a cutoff date of June 20 and a temperature restriction to not apply when ...

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 Dept of Ag Announces Special Local Needs Dicamba Labels for 2020

Today, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced a 24c Special Local Needs (SLN) label for the four dicamba products labeled for 2020 soybean growing season:  Engenia, FeXapan, Tavium, and Xtendimax.  Each label now spells out additional requirements for application in Illinois, as follows:   DO NOT apply this product if the air temperature at the field at the time of application is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit or if the National Weather Service’s forecasted high temperature for the nearest available location for the day of application exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit. (Local National Weather Service forecast are available at https://www....

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 ...

June 30 Dicamba Cut-Off: IFCA Statement of Support

The weather delays this spring have been a huge challenge.  Our industry's commitment to stewardship is often tested when conditions make it difficult to conduct normal operations.  But it is our resolve to do the right thing, even when it is difficult, that makes the IFCA organization so successful in terms of managing pesticide and nutrient policy so that we have the trust of other organizations, and the legislature, to effectively police ourselves.     Today, IFCA issued a statement on dicamba stewardship and our Association's support of the June 30, 2019 cut-off date for application.&...

Keeping Ag Input Supply Chain Employees Healthy is Imperative

IFCA has taken calls from the media, from our members and from farmers concerned about how COVID-19 measures may affect the supply chain this spring.     Keeping employees in the ag input manufacturing, distribution and retail supply chain healthy, and reducing the spread of the coronovirus is the most important thing we can do to keep spring on schedule.    Many manufacturers and distributors have already communicated to their retail partners their procedures to keep their employees healthy in order to protect the supply chain, including:  eliminating unnecessary travel, postponing face to face meetings, working remotely when ...

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.  

March 20 Spring Nitrogen Webinar

On Friday, March 20 at 9:00 am Central Time, Dr. Emerson Nafziger will have a one-hour webinar focused on spring nitrogen management for the 2020 season.  We will offer 1 CEU in Nutrient Management, without you having to leave your office.  The webinar will also be recorded and posted at www.ifca.com if you can't make it but want to listen later.     To register for the March 20 Webinar click here.  

March 20 Webinar on Spring N Management

Ok, here is some good news!  You can stay at your office or home this Friday, March 20, and receive 1 CEU in Nutrient Management plus guidance on how to manage nitrogen in Spring 2020.  NREC research continues to give us timely and tested results on corn response to nitrogen and how to best utilize this nutrient to assure agronomic results and reduce water quality concerns.     The Spring Nitrogen Management webinar is scheduled for 9 am Eastern Time.  To register click here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8407617277576437249 

March 27 NH3 Competent Attendant Course Cancelled

Because of state guidance to avoid large gatherings, IFCA has cancelled the March 27 anhydrous ammonia training class in Bloomington.    BUT, we have talked to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and for those needing competent attendant certification prior to the spring 2020 ammonia season, you can take the IFCA on-line competent attendant course free of charge from March 16 through April 5, 2020.  The program will issue you a 90 day certificate that is recognized by the IDA.  To access the on-line ammonia competent attendant training program, click here:  https://ifca.com/Training/Retailer   The on-line training program ...

March Dicamba Classroom Training Events in Illinois Cancelled

As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, the upcoming dicamba training classes in Illinois have been cancelled.  This includes classes that Bayer was offering in Steelville, New Berlin, Litchfield and Carbondale.     On-line training programs can be utilized to provide proof of training for the use of dicamba on soybean in 2020.  We have updated the Illinois Dicamba Training Website accordingly to provide guidance on using the on-line training programs to achieve dicamba label training.  The dicamba training website's home page provides links to the on-line training programs and if the registrants add webinars prior ...

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 CDC Guidance for Essential Employers & Employees

One question we get asked a lot is this:  "What procedures should I follow if one of our employees may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?  Do I have to then quarantine the entire office or plant for 14 days if other employees were around this potentially exposed employee?"    Today the Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance for essential workers.  This guidance enables essential industries to continue to operate while still providing additional procedures and protections to employees to mitigate the spread of ...

New Law Removes License Plate Requirement Jan 1, 2020

It's our pleasure today to share good news with our members.  It's news that will save you money and time.   Effective January 1, 2020 you will no longer be required to register and display the FT or FS license plates on any fertilizer trailers or self-propelled spreaders/sprayers.  This year IFCA initiated legislation (HB 2669) to remove the registration requirement that has been in effect for decades.   KJ Johnson, IFCA’s Director of Government & Industry Relations, successfully managed the legislation through the process, securing unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and Governor Pritzker ...

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 ...

New Special Local Needs Labels for Dicamba - July 15 Cut-Off & Guidance

The Illinois Department of Ag has accepted revised 24(c) Special Local Needs (SLN) labels from the four registrants of dicamba for the products Engenia, FeXapan, Xtendimax and Tavium.  To download the base labels and the new SLN labels click here.  This area on the IFCA website has many helpful resources on dicamba stewardship.     We want to make it crystal clear how the new July 15, 2019 cut-off date for application of these products to soybean works.    There are several cut-off parameters for dicamba application, July 15 being only one of them.  IF ANY ONE OF THE ...

NH3 Competent Attendant Training: On-Line Training Begins Sept 1

Since the COVID situation made having in-person fall ammonia safety schools problematic, IFCA worked with the IL Dept of Ag to get approval for an on-line training program that will issue a competent attendant certificate for use this fall.  Because classroom training is more in-depth, this on-line program covers the basics but the certificate is only good until January 1, 2021.  Only persons whose certificates have expired or who are new hires that will be working with ammonia this fall need to take this on-line training to get certified for the fall.     Here are the steps ...

No Classroom Fall NH3 Classes: On-Line Training for Competent Attendants

IFCA and the IL Dept of Ag were hopeful that we could have in-person classes for the fall anhydrous ammonia competent attendant training.  But because of the on-going concerns over the health of essential workers in our industry, IFCA and IDA have come to the conclusion that it is just too problematic to have in-person training at this time.  The last thing we want is to have someone potentially exposed to COVID as a result of attending a mandatory classroom event, and then everyone at the attendee's retail plant is potentially impacted as well.   ...

Options for Spring Ammonia Safety Training

IFCA had to cancel the remaining anhydrous ammonia competent attendant class scheduled for March 27 in Bloomington.  However, you can go on-line to take the IFCA/IDA temporary training program, and upon completion you will receive a 90-day training certificate.  IFCA has waived the on-line training fee until April 5, 2020.  For those who take the temporary training, watch for the fall ammonia training classes to be announced in the coming months, and be sure to sign up for one of those classes to receive your 3-year competent attendant training certification.  To access the IFCA on-line ammonia training course ...

Other Considerations at This Time

The State of Illinois has been making some very helpful decisions to facilitate on-going commerce in Illinois.  The state agencies that rely upon the most have contacted IFCA directly to keep us informed of provisions they are making to help with certain regulatory requirements that cannot be normally processed during this national emergency.  Here is a summary:   1.  The IL Dept of Ag will extend expiring pesticide licenses for one year at no fee.  For applicators and handlers still needing the required training for dicamba and paraquat, please use the available on-line resources.  Go to ...

Other COVID-19 Considerations

In the days and weeks to come, we will all know more about the extent of COVID-19 in Illinois, the USA and other countries.  We can likely expect many more disruptions to our workplaces and our normal lives.  In addition to delays in pesticide licensing and training programs, other regulatory requirements such as drug and alcohol testing for employees, permit applications for your business, impacts to the supply chain, etc. may be affected.  We in agriculture, working closely with our regulatory agencies, feel confident that reasonable measures will be exercised by our state and federal governments to ...

Pesticide Applicator Testing, NH3 Certificates, Updated FAQ

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working to develop an on-line testing option for persons seeking to become newly certified pesticide applicators, but who missed the opportunity to test in General Standards and Field Crops or other categories before testing was cancelled.  As soon as we learn that this option is available we will let you know (we expect it to be available shortly).     Those who attended the IDA/IFCA anhydrous ammonia competent attendant classes this spring also may still be waiting for your certificates from IDA.  With IDA being closed for the time being, you ...

Pesticide Training, Testing Suspended for March

The Illinois Dept of Ag and the University of Illinois have cancelled the commercial and private applicator training and testing clinics scheduled in March.  You also cannot take the pesticide tests at the IDA office in Springfield or Dekalb at this time.      We are all hopeful that with proper care and precaution to curtail the spread of COVID-19, that classes and testing can resume in April.  We can also assure you that IDA realizes the uncertainty this causes for our industry and will do all they can in concert with the USEPA to exercise options ...

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 ...

Regulatory Alert

NH3 Competent Attendant On-Line Training   Anyone needing to renew their Competent Attendant Certificate to handle anhydrous ammonia or work on ammonia equipment can access this online training by clicking here.  This training will also fulfill the certification requirement for any new hires.  Click here for the flyer on the on-line program; there will be no classroom events offered this fall.   Key points to remember when accessing the on-line competent attendant training:   ►Each individual that needs training must register separately and take the training separately on their work computer or laptop.   ►You can print your ...

Regulatory Alert: FMCSA to Announce Delay in Driver Training Rule, IFCA Office Closed on Friday

FMSCA to Announce Delay in Driver Training Rule   The following article may be of interest. FMCSA will soon announce a two-year delay of the entire ELDT rule. Because this is a timely matter, with the rule becoming effective on Feb. 7, IFCA wanted to share this information as soon as possible. Please note that we have not yet seen the official Federal Register notice, but all information indicates it is coming soon.     IFCA office will be closed Friday, November 29th.   At this time of Thanksgiving celebration, our thoughts turn gratefully to our members with warm appreciation. ...

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 ...

Remove FT & FS License Plates

Please be sure to remove the FT and FS license plates from your fertilizer trailers (FT plate) and your fertilizer spreaders (FS plate) prior to going out on the highway this spring.    These implements of husbandry no longer need to be registered with the Secretary of State, and therefore the license plates are no longer valid.  If you are on a public roadway with plates still on these vehicles, with the orange 2019 sticker on them, that just sends a signal to law enforcement that the plate is expired.  We can't expect all local or even ...

Remove License Plates on Fertilizer Wagons & Floaters

It's our pleasure today to share good news with our members.  It's news that will save you money and time.    As of January 1, 2020, please remove the FT or FS license plates on any fertilizer trailers or self-propelled spreaders/sprayers.  IFCA initiated legislation (HB 2669) to remove the registration requirement that has been in effect for decades.  Normally, all the renewals would have been sent out last December requiring a $13 fee for each trailer; the fee for loaded sprayers and spreaders was $250.  IFCA highly recommends that everyone removes these ...

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 ...

Three New Guidance Documents on Changes in Licensing & Testing

The Illinois Department of Agriculture just issued a "Frequently Asked Questions" document explaining how the pesticide dealer, applicator and operator licenses will be managed during this time.  The IDA FAQ can be viewed here:  https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Pesticides/Pages/Cancellations-FAQ.aspx   The Illinois Secretary of State also has a FAQ to answer many questions about licenses, vehicle registrations, etc.  Their FAQ is available here:  https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/special/covidfaq32020.pdf​   USDOT just issued guidance on how to comply with drug & alcohol testing for DOT regulated employers.  ...

Three Sec of State Offices to Open for CDL Business Only

The Illinois Secretary of State has announced they will open three offices next week to accommodate persons needing CDL services.  See the announcement here.  The offices will only be open for that purpose, and the three offices opening for this will be:   1.  Secretary of State Office in Springfield (2701 South Dirksen Parkway) 2.  Secretary of State Office in Marion (1905 Rendleman Street) 3.  Secretary of State Office in West Chicago (1280 Powis Road)   The ONLY services they will be offering are the CDL skills and written tests.  You can take any of the CDL and endorsement exams ...

Transportation Regs Resource Guide

A big thank you to the American Trucking Association who has published a great resource guide for navigating through the COVID-19 impacts on the trucking industry.  This guide also provides links to each State, and the state guidance on trucking rules within the state.  

Update on Pesticide Licenses

With all pesticide training and testing clinics cancelled and all testing suspended for the time being, the IL Dept of Ag is taking the necessary steps to assure that we have licensed pesticide applicators and operators for the spring 2020 season.  Here is what we know:     1.  If you are currently a licensed applicator/operator and recently took your exams before the testing was suspended, it may take a while for you to get your renewal letter from IDA.  IDA has limited staffing until further notice.  But rest assured you will be considered as licensed for ...

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. &...

Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

On November 2015 USEPA revised the worker protection standards to implement more protection for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Most of the revised WPS standards became effective on January 2018.  The WPS requires commercial pesticide handler employers to provide specific information and protections to workers, handlers when WPS-labeled pesticide products are used on agricultural establishments in the production of agricultural plants.  Additional resources on Worker Protection Standards can be found on IFCA’s website under Regulations.  Feel free to contact IFCA with any questions.    Who is Included in WPS:   ●      &...