September 27, 2016

Court Halts OSHA Rule Change on Anhydrous Ammonia

In a huge victory for American agriculture retailers and farmers, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violated the law when it changed its interpretation of regulations affecting agricultural retail facilities that supply anhydrous ammonia.

In July 2015, OSHA issued an enforcement memorandum that redefined the retail facility exemption to the Process Safety Management Standard. These changes would have subjected 3,800 agricultural retailers to regulations intended for chemical manufacturers, at a cost of more than $100 million. These compliance costs could have driven many facilities out of business, leading to higher costs for farmers as well as increasing travel distances to transport the product. The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute led the legal challenge.

“This court decision is a big win for farmers and the ag community,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “Not only does this ruling protect farmers’ safe and affordable access to an important crop nutrient technology, but it also affirms that OSHA and other regulatory agencies must follow proper rulemaking procedures. That includes allowing for public notice and comment.”

“When government agencies are making rules that affect day-to-day farming operations, farmers should be invited to the table to have input on those decisions. At the same time, we in agriculture have a responsibility to come to the table with constructive solutions that can work for everyone. NCGA is committed to working with OSHA on how anhydrous ammonia and other technologies are regulated,” said Bowling.ethanol

The court ruled OSHA must first go through the formal notice and comment rulemaking process before implementing new standards on anhydrous ammonia retailers.

But for some retailers, it may be too late.

North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Goehring on OHSA Ruling

NCGA Release   Rusty Halvorson


Cautious Optimism on Beef Trade with China

cattle-conventionNew regulations announced on Thursday mean that some American beef is welcome back in China.  The devil is going to be in the details when it comes to when and how this market will open. USDA officials who are working with China’s inspection authorities to approve certificates and protocols to export beef to the country.

We spoke with North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President Steve Brooks about the topic – on the sidelines of the NDSA’s 87th annual convention and trade show in Minot.

Steve Brooks on China

Thirteen years ago, China banned U.S. beef imports. The move followed confirmation of a case of (BSE) in a dairy cow in Washington State.

By far, the largest seller of beef to China is Australia, with about 40% of the market. That country has seen herd numbers plummet to a 20-year low recently, due to increased demand and drought.



Mexican Trade Delegation To Tour North Dakota Soybean Production

image002The North Dakota Soybean Council will be hosting a Mexican Trade Team on Friday, September 23, 2016.  The guests will tour Alton Grain Terminal, Colfax Elevator, and area soybean farms.  North Dakota Soybean Council staff will be accompanying the group to answer questions from the guests and promote soybeans grown in the state.

The purpose of the visit is to build relationships between North Dakota soybean producers and international customers, and to educate them on the quality of North Dakota soybeans and purchasing opportunities for livestock feed.  The members of the trade team represent the animal feed industry in Mexico.


SCHEDULE – Friday, Sept. 23rd:

9:00 a.m.        Depart for Alton Grain Terminal – Hillsboro

10:30 a.m.      Lovas Family Farm – Hillsboro

Joel Thorsrud Farm – Hillsboro


1:00 p.m.        Depart for Ryan Richard Family Farm – Fargo

2:00 p.m.        Depart for Colfax Elevator



For questions regarding the delegation’s schedule and exact locations on Friday, September 23rd, please contact ND Soybean Council Marketing Director Stephanie Sinner on her cell phone at (701) 373-5226 or by email at