ResponsibleAg Established; Ammonium Nitrate Safety and Security Guidelines are Issued



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-- WITH PHOTO -- TO BUSINESS, AND RETAILING EDITORS:

Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute Join

Forces to Promote a Culture of Safety and Security at the Nation's

Retail Fertilizer Outlets

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Agricultural Retailers

Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) are announcing

plans to create ResponsibleAg, an independent, not-for-profit

organization designed to support fertilizer retailers' compliance with

federal safety and security regulations. During the announcement,

made at a March 6 Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee

hearing, Crop Production Services' Senior Director of Environment,

Health and Safety Billy Pirkle also announced publication of "Safety

and Security Guidelines for the Storage and Transportation of

Fertilizer Grade Ammonium Nitrate at Fertilizer Retail Facilities," a

new publication developed by TFI and ARA for use by the industry and

first responders. During the EPW hearing, Committee Chairman, Barbara

Boxer (D-Calif.) voiced strong support for ResponsibleAg and praised

the industry for taking voluntary action.

Under ResponsibleAg, retail fertilizer dealerships will have access to

comprehensive inspections based on federal regulatory requirements.

The inspections will be carried out by trained auditors who will have

successfully completed an intensive training course based on the

objectives of ResponsibleAg.

"While the vast majority of fertilizer retail businesses operate

safely, securely and in compliance with federal regulations, we are

acting out of an abundance of caution and concern for the wellbeing of

workers and communities," said TFI President Chris Jahn.

"ResponsibleAg will verify compliance at more facilities and with

greater speed than is currently being done by the multitude of federal

agencies that regulate the nation's fertilizer retailers, so we are

choosing to act now rather than waiting for the next government

inspection."

"ResponsibleAg will help ensure existing regulations are conveyed and

easily understood by fertilizer retailers," said ARA President & CEO

Daren Coppock. "Retailers want to do the right thing, but overlapping,

duplicative or potentially conflicting requirements make compliance a

challenge. This program will help retailers by collecting the

regulatory requirements into one checklist, and offering them tools

and information to ensure their facilities conform to all current

federal regulations."

ResponsibleAg will credential auditors who will inspect and verify

individual facilities' level of compliance with applicable federal

regulations. Facilities that successfully complete assessments will be

recognized for having done so. Any site that does not successfully

complete an assessment will be provided a list of recommended

corrective actions. Additionally, random quality assurance reviews to

verify the assessments will be conducted by third party auditors.

TFI and ARA are each contributing $100,000 in startup capital for the

organization, and the Asmark Institute is providing an ongoing

contribution that provides for training programs, training facilities

and administration of the ResponsibleAg website and database. Once

established, ResponsibleAg will be funded by registration fees paid by

participating fertilizer storage and handling inventory points and

their suppliers. Auditor training costs will be funded by tuition paid

by those seeking the ResponsibleAg auditor credential. Membership in

TFI, ARA or any other organization is not a requirement for

participation.

ARA and TFI will nominate a nine person Board of Directors which will

be filled from a cross section representing the entire fertilizer

distribution network. Once the Board of Directors has been seated, it

will adopt ResponsibleAg bylaws, create an annual operating budget and

appoint a business manager to oversee day-to-day operations. When the

initial Board of Directors' term has expired, subsequent Directors

will be nominated from ResponsibleAg participating organizations.

TFI and ARA today also announced publication of "Safety and Security

Guidelines for the Storage and Transportation of Fertilizer Grade

Ammonium Nitrate at Fertilizer Retail Facilities." The guidance which

was developed by a panel of technical experts from the associations

fills an existing void in emergency response guidance by providing

recommendations that are specific to ammonium nitrate when it is

stored and transported by a retail fertilizer facility.

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) The Agricultural Retailers

Association (ARA), a 501(c)(6) nonprofit trade association, advocates,

influences, educates and provides services to support its members in

their quest to maintain a profitable business environment, adapt to a

changing world and preserve their freedom to operate. ARA represents

the interests of agricultural retailers and distributors across the

United States on legislative and regulatory issues by educating

members of Congress and agency officials on important issues affecting

the industry. For more information about ARA, go to www.aradc.org ,

like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@agretailers).

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation's

fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI's membership

includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading

firms. TFI's full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its

members through legislative, educational, technical, economic

information and public communication programs. Find more information

about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at

@Fertilizer_Inst and SlideShare . Learn more about TFI's nutrient

stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at

@4rnutrients .

Asmark Institute is a national resource center serving the retail

agricultural industry, consisting of retail agribusinesses, state and

national trade associations, educational institutions and government

agencies. The Institute provides compliance materials and services,

develops common sense solutions to new regulatory requirements,

assists the government in its mission of protecting life, property and

the environment, monitors enforcement activity for uniformity,

supports industry efforts to arrive at fair and reasonable regulation

and provides a wealth of unique resources to give wings to the ideas

designed to help lift an industry. The Institute is a private,

not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for organizations to

effectively collaborate on issues for the benefit of the retail

agricultural industry.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140310/PH80083

SOURCE The Fertilizer Institute

-0- 03/10/2014

/CONTACT: Kathy Mathers, The Fertilizer Institute, (202) 515-2703, or Brian Reuwee, Agricultural Retailers Association, (636) 579-0290

/Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140310/PH80083

PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

/Web Site: http://www.tfi.org

http://www.aradc.org

CO: The Fertilizer Institute; The Agricultural Retailers Association

ST: District of Columbia

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0000 03/10/2014 17:33:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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