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What to Expect from OSHA Inspections

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

June 6, 2014

What to Expect from OSHA Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a division of the United States Department of Labor and exists to ?assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance? ( OSHA jurisdiction excludes businesses that employ fewer than 10 employees as well as family farm workers (farm owners and their immediate family members). Is your farm exempt? (Keep in mind that the 10 employee minimum refers to a farm that has employed 10 or more individuals over the past 12 months, though not necessarily at the same time. Therefore, small farms with high employee turnover may in fact be included).

Why are we talking about it? Two pretty convincing reasons. One, there have been some changes to the Hazard Communication Standard (formerly called the Right to Know law) which requires agricultural employers to keep workers informed about the identities and hazards of chemicals in the workplace. The new Hazard Classification system will provide specific criteria for classifying health and physical hazards, labels will be changed to make them easier to understand, and Material Data Sheets will be renamed Safety Data Sheets and will have a new specific format. Two, OSHA officials have notified several individuals in the dairy industry in New York State that they are planning to focus their inspections on dairy farms in the coming years.

What can be expected from an OSHA inspection? By law, OSHA cannot give advanced notice of an inspection. They will show up at the farm and expect to carry out the inspection with no more than an hour?s delay. The owner does have the right to request a warrant before OSHA carries out the inspection, which could possibly delay the process by a few days. Advice given in a webinar which is now available on Farm Credit East?s website (see below) was to always be polite to inspectors, and even if you?re planning to request a warrant, take the time to ask as many questions of the inspectors as you can. They may have limited dairy farm knowledge, so getting to know them before the inspection starts will help you to know how to talk to them and how much dairy jargon you can use.

Start with the Hazard Communication Standard. Reviewing the HCS is the best place to start in bringing your farm into compliance with OSHA regulations. This is the area in which farms have generally received the most citations during OSHA inspections. Farms must inform employees of any chemical hazards in the workplace and provide written protocols and trainings on how to deal with these chemicals. Once you meet the HCS, then it is time to prioritize what else needs to be done on your farm in order to come into compliance, which might include making changes to manure storage facilities, adding guarding to machinery or providing animal handling training to employees.

Here are a few good resources to help you make sure your farm is in compliance with OSHA regulations:
? Farm Credit East hosted a webinar in August 2013 entitled ?OSHA Compliance: What Farm Businesses Need to Know!?
? The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) offers free on-farm safety trainings in English and Spanish.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Dairy Cattle Summer Research Update

July 18, 2019
Batavia, NY

After the day's work is done, come hear about two new research trials conducted by Julio Giordano's lab:
  • Strategies for improving dairy cattle reproductive performance and economics
  • Using automated sensors for improving dairy cattle health monitoring and management

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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."

USDA Announces New Decision Tool for New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 ? Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today the availability of a new web-based tool - developed in partnership with the University of Wisconsin - to help dairy producers evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized
DMC, a voluntary risk management program that offers financial protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. It replaces the program previously known as the Margin Protection Program for Dairy. Sign up for this USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) program opens on June 17.

"With sign-up for the
DMC program just weeks away, we encourage producers to use this new support tool to help make decisions on participation in the program," Secretary Perdue said. "Dairy producers have faced tough challenges over the years, but the DMC program should help producers better weather the ups and downs in the industry."

The University of Wisconsin launched the decision support tool in cooperation with FSA and funded through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. The tool was designed to help producers determine the level of coverage under a variety of conditions that will provide them with the strongest financial safety net. It allows farmers to simplify their coverage level selection by combining operation data and other key variables to calculate coverage needs based on price projections.

The decision tool assists producers with calculating total premiums costs and administrative fees associated with participation in
DMC. It also forecasts payments that will be made during the coverage year.

The new Dairy Margin Coverage program offers very appealing options for all dairy farmers to reduce their net income risk due to volatility in milk or feed prices," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "Higher coverage levels, monthly payments, and more flexible production coverage options are especially helpful for the sizable majority of farms who can cover much of their milk production with the new five million pound maximum for Tier 1 premiums. This program deserves the careful consideration of all dairy farmers."

For more information, access the tool at For
DMC sign up, eligibility and related program information, visit or contact your local USDA Service Center. To locate your local FSA office, visit

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1