SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced a new anhydrous ammonia grower training platform available online Jan. 1, 2021.

Illinois farmers and any of their employees or family members who help transport or apply anhydrous ammonia are required by state regulation (8 IAC 215) to participate in the mandatory training approved by the IDOA. Training must be completed by April 1, 2022. Once completed, growers receive a certificate valid for three years to provide upon request to their anhydrous ammonia retailer. In-person training sessions will begin when state mitigations for COVID-19 determine it is safe to gather in a group setting.

“Anhydrous ammonia is an important tool for farmers that if handled improperly can be deadly,” said Jerry Costello II, IDOA acting director. “The department alongside the agriculture industry created a grower training platform that provides a source for new information and continuing education keeping our farmers and citizens safe.”

The department training module was developed in consultation with Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association.

The department and interested agriculture organizations are soliciting qualified volunteers interested in delivering in-person training to growers.

For those interested in providing in-person training the IDOA requires the following qualifications:

• Minimum five years’ experience in the anhydrous ammonia industry; practical experience with storage, application and equipment operation, inspection, maintenance and use;

• Comfortable speaking to groups and ability to relate to growers for Q & A interaction;

• Experience or have technical support on-hand in using computer/projector/microphone for the presentation and have access to suitable meeting rooms or outside venues to conduct training, including venues that can accommodate COVID-19 guidelines for in-person events.

• Good organization and communication skills and ability to maintain and transmit training rosters to IDOA.

• Be a Certified Competent Attendant certified by attending an IDOA-sponsored training; attend this training annually to continue training

If interested in becoming a trainer for Illinois growers, contact: Jeff Squibb at the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217-785-8212 or jeff.squibb@illinois.gov; John Rebholz at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association at 309-827-2774 or john@ifca.com; Travis Deppe at the Illinois Corn Growers Association at 309-557-3257 or tdeppe@ilcorn.org; Mike Levin at the Illinois Soybean Association at 309-808-3606 or levinm@ilsoy.org; or Lauren Lurkins at 309-530-0398 or llurkins@ilfb.org at the Illinois Farm Bureau.

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