When DHS first started implementing CFATS it gave farmers and agricultural facilities an indefinite extension on the deadline for submitting a Top Screen. The idea was to give DHS some time to figure out how farmers and ag facilities fit into CFATS and what the best process would be for this subgroup.
Now DHS has sent out 1,000 surveys to CFATS facilities requesting information on the sale or transfer of Chemicals of Interest (COIs) or products containing COIs to farmers and agricultural facilities. An example of these products would be pesticides and fertilizers. According to DHS they will also be asking for information, where available, on these agricultural customers' use and handling of COI-containing products.
The deadline for the surveys is Monday, September 20, 2010. DHS has added the CSAT Agriculture Survey Questions Guide and the CSAT Agricultural Survey User Guide to the CFATS Knowledge Center page. DHS is also offering help for facilities that have questions with the survey.
Chemical Security Assessment Tool users can call the CSAT Help Desk to get answers to questions about the Agriculture Survey or anything else about CFATS. The Help Desk can be contacted via email or phone at CSAT@dhs.gov or 866-323-2957 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (ET) Monday - Friday. The help desk is closed on Federal holidays.
DHS defines agricultural facility and farmer as follows:
For the purpose of this questionnaire:
• Agricultural activities means (1) preparation for the treatment of crops, feed, land, livestock (including poultry) or other areas of an agricultural facility; or (2) application to or treatment of crops, feed, land, livestock (including poultry) or other areas of an agricultural facility.
• Agricultural facility includes farms (e.g., crop, fruit, nut, and vegetable); ranches and rangeland; poultry, dairy, and equine facilities; turfgrass growers; golf courses; nurseries; floricultural operations; and public and private parks.
Most industry followers believe that DHS will come up with a different Top Screen process for farmers and agricultural facilities.
There is also some government help for agricultural businesses when it comes to chemical security. The Heartland, Habitat, Harvest and Horticulture Act of 2008 established a 30 percent federal income tax credit for qualified chemical security expenditures incurred by eligible agricultural businesses to protect fertilizer and pesticides located at their business facilities.
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