SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Each spring and fall, Illinois farmers apply anhydrous ammonia to provide essential nitrogen to their corn and wheat crops. Fertilizer dealers and farmers transport anhydrous ammonia to the field in white nurse tanks and connect the tanks to tool bars behind a tractor. The product then is injected into the ground where it bonds to soil to provide nitrogen at the root zone of the planted crop.
Because of the potentially hazardous nature of anhydrous ammonia, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) and Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) have produced a 12-minute video outlining the proper safety procedures that famers should take each and every time they handle the product. The video highlights the most common safety errors that can lead to an anhydrous ammonia accident or release and is intended to supplement the training that the IFCA provides each year to over 1,000 commercial ag retail employees who handle ammonia at retail facilities.
“Our Association saw that a basic need exists for farmers to have ready access to proper safety, handling, first aid and emergency response information to help ensure the farmer’s own personal safety and to better understand what procedures to follow if a release of ammonia occurs while the farmer is transporting or applying the product,” IFCA President Jean Payne said.
The Fertilizer Research & Education Council (FREC) paid for the video with proceeds from a 12.5 cent fee on each ton of agricultural fertilizer sold in Illinois. FREC’s purpose is to fund projects that improve fertilizer efficiency as well as promote proper use of fertilizers.
“While preparing for spring planting, I encourage farmers to review proper ammonia handling and safety procedures,” Illinois Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “Thanks to FREC and the Fertilizer and Chemical Association, all it takes is 12 minutes, which is a small investment of time to prevent potentially costly errors.”
The high-resolution video can be accessed at the IFCA website at www.ifca.com or at the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website at www.agr.state.il.us. It also is available free of charge if other organizations would like to embed it on their websites. For more information, contact the IFCA at (309) 827-2774.