Approximately a year ago, the news of the horrific event in the little town of West Texas was thrust upon us with the shocking account of devastation and the tragic loss of many lives. While not all details are yet known about the causes of the explosion, we do know that our industry has come under critical scrutiny from varying levels of governance and the very communities that we serve. As a result, there has been a great erosion of public confidence in our industries’ ability to operate in a safe and prudent manner. To address this rightful challenge, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) have worked together to establish a non-profit entity called RESPONSIBLE AG, LLC. RESPONSIBLE AG is an industry supported stewardship initiative that will assist fertilizer storage and handling facilities to achieve and maintain compliance with federal laws and regulations. The mission of this initiative is to strengthen the fertilizer industry’s credibility and perception with the public at large, the policy makers at all levels of government and with the many regulatory agencies that have oversight to our industry. The primary effort will be developing an assessment tool that can be used to demonstrate to all, that facilities that handle hazardous products are inherently safe structures and are being managed responsibly. As part of this development, a system that will include trained auditors, assessment protocols and an informational data base will be created. Initially, the focus will be directed to only those who store and handle ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia. We all can expect to see a number of steps over the next few months to initialize this effort, one of which is to establish a Board of Directors made up of five ARA members and four TFI members to oversee RESPONSIBLE AG, LLC. That Board will be the driving force for this very necessary effort.
Participation in RESPONSIBLE AG will be strictly voluntary, but it is incumbent to all that we are a safe, responsible and proactive industry. We at CGB Fertilizer will be very active participants, as this initiative reaches to our core culture of working safe and taking care of one another. We hope to engage with all our customers and trade partners to achieve a level of compliance and responsibility that will firmly establish a level of confidence in us within all our communities in which we operate. We have an industry to be proud of, let’s work together to keep it that way.
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