GAO Makes Recommendations to Improve CFATS Chemical Facility Assessments

From: HSToday.US

By: Mickey McCarter

At its current pace, it will take chemical facilities assessors at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) another seven to nine years to fully assess site security plans (SSPs) for high-risk security plants.

That means full implementation of the regulatory standards under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program may still be a decade away, said congressional investigators last Friday.

Mitigating the Chemical Threat

From: Ag Professional

Rich Keller, Editor

There are two systems and agencies working with ag retailer operations to assure materials that could be made into explosives or other types of mass destruction devices are being properly stored, inventoried and not allowed into the hands of unknown persons. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have different roles but cooperate to accomplish the same thing.

The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulations classifies facilities in tiers of risk based upon the quantities and types of 325 chemicals that might be used in terrorism—mainly mass destruction for causing large numbers of deaths.

DHS seeks comments on screening ag retailer employees

From: Agricultural Retailers Association

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Personnel Surety Program has a new proposed structure that would allow companies to directly submit employee background information for screening to DHS; to submit information to verify an employee was enrolled in another terrorism screening program; or to verify information using a Transportation Worker Identification Credential program reader.

DHS estimates the program would affect 192,000 individuals and cost $4.7 million to operate and maintain. A previous personnel surety proposal was withdrawn by DHS in July after industry groups raised concerns the program would impose significant burdens on facilities with limited security benefit.

Chemical Security: Risk-Based Solutions Key to Fixing Flaws

From: Heritage Foundation

By Jessica Zuckerman and David Inserra

Last month, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), a program that is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this hearing, DHS representatives claimed to have “turned a corner” on the CFATS program, putting slow and burdensome procedures behind them and moving forward with timely implementation.

Yet despite this pledge, the fact is that the CFATS program remains mired in serious problems, including incomplete risk assessments, slow implementation, and disjointed outreach to the private sector. Instead of perpetuating burdensome and complicated regulations, CFATS should be reformed to take a truly risk-based approach to chemical security.

Nearly 100 Antique Tractors To Cross Auction Block

From: ENR.com

By Tudor Van Hampton

contractor, inventor and manufacturer, George E. Logue Sr. spent his life collecting and maintaining antique tractors. On April 10, heavy-equipment enthusiasts will have the rare opportunity to buy Logue’s hoard at an unreserved auction.

“Almost 100% of the auction is antique tractors, which is unusual for us,” says Scott Edwards, territory manager for Ritchie Bros., which will hold the auction at Logue’s farm in Trout Run, Pa.

Agricultural Automation Drives the Global Harvesting Machinery Market, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc

From: Press Release

Harvesting equipment is broadly classified into five categories: grain and  seed crop machines, root-crop machines, row-crop machines, hay and silage  machines, and tree crop machines. A harvester performs simultaneous execution of  farm processes, such as cutting, threshing, and winnowing. Demand for harvesting  machinery is fuelled by the need to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of  agricultural practices. Growth is also driven by factors such as, increased  pressure on arable lands to improve agricultural yields; technological  advancements in agricultural machinery; and government support through  subsidies. The long-term outlook for the market remains optimistic guided by  growing population and increasing emphasis on food security and  self-sufficiency, especially in the developing countries. Also, opportunities  for harvesting machinery in emerging markets will be guided by the low rate of farm  mechanization in these regions.

Exports of U.S. ag equipment gained 16 percent in 2012

From: Agri-View

Exports of U.S.-made agricultural equipment increased 16 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year for a total $12.8 billion, with Africa leading the way in growth, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), citing U.S. Commerce Dept. data it uses in global markets reports for members.

AEM says the 16-percent gain for 2012 follows 23-percent growth in 2011 and 12-percent growth in 2010, after a 2009 decline of 23 percent in the depths of the recession.

CFATS has already spent $7.7 million on terrorist screening

Editor’s Note: The DHS OIG report, “Effectiveness of the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division’s Management Practices to Implement the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program” is attached here.

From: FierceGovernmentIT

By

The directorate within the Homeland Security Department responsible for  regulating chemical facilities for safety paid the Transportation Security  Administration $7.7 million to conduct terrorist screening on chemical workers  since April 2010–despite not releasing the notice of proposed rulemaking  regarding worker screening until March 22.

DHS seeks comments on screening ag retailer employees

From: Agricultural Retailers Association

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Personnel Surety Program has a new proposed structure that would allow companies to directly submit employee background information for screening to DHS; to submit information to verify an employee was enrolled in another terrorism screening program; or to verify information using a Transportation Worker Identification Credential program reader.

DHS estimates the program would affect 192,000 individuals and cost $4.7 million to operate and maintain. A previous personnel surety proposal was withdrawn by DHS in July after industry groups raised concerns the program would impose significant burdens on facilities with limited security benefit.

Smithsonian launches effort to preserve ag heritage

From: The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is unveiling a new website where the public can upload stories about technologies and innovation that have changed their work lives in agriculture — stories about precision farming, food-borne illness tracking, environmental concerns, government practices, irrigation, biotechnology and hybrid seeds.

This spring, the museum is launching the Agricultural Innovation and Heritage Archive, reaching out to farmers, ranchers and American agri-business to preserve America’s agricultural heritage and build a collection that reflects modern agricultural practices.

Curators are seeking stories, photographs and ephemera to record and preserve the innovations and experiences of farming and ranching.