The American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is a not-for-profit 501c(6) organization that has taken the lead in developing a stewardship inspection program for agricultural retail facilities that store bulk, mini-bulks, Portable Refillable Containers (PRCs) and packaged crop protection chemical products.
This program is designed to enhance stewardship and increase efficiency. The AASA has developed a single checklist and schedule for inspecting agricultural retail facilities. This replaced the duplicative bulk inspections of facilities conducted by manufacturers for several years. Working together with manufacturers, distributors and retailers, we have developed a more effective way to conduct facility inspections.
Facilities are inspected more efficiently; instead of each manufacturer conducting a facility inspection, the AASA conducts the inspection with resulting data available on a fee basis to all participating manufacturers and distributors. Distributors that are AASA members do not pay a fee for inspection data for their retail facility. Retailers have fewer and more efficient inspections based on one stewardship checklist. There is no cost to retail facilities and they are provided with a copy of the inspection report free of charge.
Manufacturers and distributors have a one-stop access to facility inspection data through the AASA. Better data about facilities means better decision making. The program replaces costly and duplicative inspections previously conducted individually by manufacturers. The AASA's inspection data services are available to all participating crop protection product manufacturers on a fee basis. Distributors that are AASA members do not pay for inspection data for their locations. Release of inspection data is confidential and limited to those locations where manufacturers and distributors have a bulk presence. Inspection data is available to these manufacturers and distributors for stewardship purposes only. Manufacturers and distributors who have or plan to have a bulk presence at a facility will use the inspection data as a tool to determine where crop protection products can be stored and used safely.
The AASA has a Board of Directors that includes crop protection product manufacturers, retailers, distributors and state regulators. The board provides oversight to the organization in accordance with its by-laws. AASA has a management agreement with the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association to provide administrative management of the AASA program and to serve as the main point of contact. The AASA conducts inspections, issues an inspection report to each facility inspected, trains inspectors and insures the checklist is kept current.
Approximately 5,000 U.S. facilities storing bulk and packaged crop protection products have been inspected over a three-year cycle that began in 2004. (Packaged-only retail sites may be included in a later cycle.) This three-year cycle provides for fairness by giving facilities time to address any areas of concern.
Inspections are conducted by third-party vendors using the comprehensive AASA stewardship checklist. This checklist covers general facility data, information about bulk and packaged product storage and safety training. Inspections occur primarily from June through September of each year. Facility managers are provided with a copy of their inspection reports.
Inspectors from Regulatory Consultants Inc., FarmChem, Piedmont Environmental Consulting LLC and JTAG, Inc will be contacting facility managers to set up inspection appointments. Inspector credentials can be verified at www.aginspect.org. Regulatory Consultants Inc. is also responsible for all data management.
In 2017, AASA will inspect approximately 1,500 facilities in these states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. AASA will notify the managers of these facilities in advance of the inspection.
Facility inspection data is available to participating crop protection product manufacturers and distributors who have, or plan to have, a bulk presence at the retail facility. The inspection data will be used to assist with decisions about where products can be stored safely.
Before AASA, the crop protection product manufacturers and distributors inspected retail facilities using their own inspection programs. In some years, a retail facility may have had multiple inspections, based on multiple sets of criteria. Now, retailers are receiving a single, regular inspection, using one checklist. The AASA is providing one-stop inspection data for manufacturers and distributors who are participating in the AASA stewardship program. Some manufacturers and distributors may continue to conduct bulk site inspections at facilities on an annual basis for the years when there will not be an AASA inspection. Companies may also continue to conduct inspections when new bulk tanks are added at a facility, tanks are taken over from other suppliers or when there is a change in product to be stored in established tanks.
Yes. AASA contracts with two additional independent inspectors to perform “quality assurance” inspections to verify the quality of the original inspection. In 2017, Miller Risk Management and Mahoney Safety LLC will conduct quality assurance inspections at 50 facilities that are selected at random. The results of these quality assurance inspections have demonstrated over the years that there is a high level of accuracy and quality of the AASA inspection program.
Individual facility inspection data is not shared with or made available to regulators, individuals or groups. The data is owned by the AASA. Only the retail facility that received the inspection and the crop protection product manufacturing companies or distributors that requested and paid for the inspection to occur will have access to inspection data.
If requested, AASA will provide a general summary of the inspection results if a state or federal regulator request it. The name and location of the individual facilities is NOT provided to these agencies. They receive only a summary of the overall industry level of compliance with regard to required regulatory requirements.
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