From the Farm: Anhydrous ammonia training

Local News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A training program is now starting for farmers using anhydrous ammonia, which has been commonly used on the farm for nearly 50 years.

The safety-focused program results from a mishap in a populated area 3 years ago in the far northeastern corner of Illinois, says the Ag Department’s Chuck Cawley.

“Back in April of 2018 we did have a very serious release in Beach Park, Illinois, where there were injured people that needed to go to the hospital; and it was a Wisconsin farmer that had come down to Illinois and had had a release in the Beach Park area,” says Cawley.

Farm organizations and the fertilizer dealers developed the training program.

“The program has several modules, he says. “What we’ll go through first is learning about the properties and characteristics of anhydrous ammonia. We’ll also talk about the personal protective equipment to wear when you are working with anhydrous ammonia.  We’ll talk about first aid. 

“Also, there is a module on transfer, transportation, and handling of anhydrous ammonia as well as how to react and proper procedures for ammonia release situations.”

Farmers have 15 months to take the training.

“They will have until April first of 2022 to complete the mandatory training,” Cawley says. “The on-line training, I would say, runs about 1 hour, depending on the individual taking the program.”

In-person programs will come when COVID is over.  But Cawley, a farmer himself, who has applied anhydrous for many years, says the whole farm is involved.

“Everyone on the farm needs to complete this training,” he says. “This will be, its called the grower training, but it would be famers, your family members, full and part time hired help, and anyone else assisting on the farm at no fee.  They would need to do this if they transport anhydrous ammonia, if they apply, or otherwise work on anhydrous ammonia equipment.”

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