Farms will be hit by Homeland Security rule

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SALEM, Ohio – New U.S. Department of Homeland Security chemical regulations may change the way farms and agribusinesses handle fertilizer and other chemicals.
The nationwide rule requires farms and chemical suppliers to register their use with the federal government, in an effort to increase the security of high-risk chemical facilities, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Bulk chemical. Late last year, the Department of Homeland Security released a list of chemicals that, if possessed by a facility or farm in large enough quantity, would require them to complete a Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Top-Screen assessment.
Included in that list of chemicals is chlorine, both bagged and bulk; anhydrous ammonia; ammonium, sodium or potassium nitrate; and propane.
The initiative will leave many smaller farms untouched, but will hit harder at larger farms and agribusinesses that offer custom spraying and fertilizer application.
Learn about it. The Department of Homeland Security originally set a Jan. 22 deadline for farms and agribusinesses to register, but confusion over the regulation led the department to extend that deadline.
Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Robert Stephan extended the deadline until further notice for facilities that possess any of the chemicals above the screening threshold to be used for crops, feed, land, livestock or agricultural production.
In the meantime, states are urging farmers to explore the assessment’s impact on individual farms.
“Pennsylvania farmers and agribusinesses storing fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals might be affected by these new regulations, so it is important that they quickly determine if they meet the new federal requirements,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.
Failure to comply with the regulations could result in civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day or the shut down of the facility.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at azippay@farmanddairy.com.)

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