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MNLA E-Training, Project Plant

Association Report: Insights & Updates

With Michigan State Police, please keep in mind the following when you are driving your commercial motor vehicle on our State Trunkline Highway System (consisting of all the state highways in Michigan, including those designated as Interstate, U.S. Highways, or State Trunkline highways. In their abbreviated format, these classifications are applied to highway numbers with an I-, US, or M- prefix, respectively).

  • Crash reduction is an ongoing goal. Some of the things that are being looked at more closely to achieve crash reductions are speed, proper lane use, hours of service, following too close (they are pulling over vehicles following less than 200’) and load securement.
  • Off-Road Fuel (red dyed diesel) is not allowed for use in commercial motor vehicles. Typically seen in conjunction with Ag plates, make sure that your red dyed diesel is not found in your commercial motor vehicles if you are driving on our State Trunkline Highway System.
  • Weigh Stations – do you know if you’re supposed to be pulling in to them? Here’s a simple guide that explains what commercial motor vehicles have to pull into our Weigh Stations when they are open:
  1. All commercial motor vehicle trucks, other than pickup trucks, with or without vehicles in tow have to pull in.
  2. All commercial motor vehicle truck tractors with or without vehicles in tow have to pull in.
  3. All commercial motor vehicle pick up trucks towing trailers.

NOTES:  
-A pickup truck being use commercially that has been converted to a flat bed, dump box, etc. is no longer considered a pick up truck and meets the requirements of #1 and must pull in to the Weigh Station.
-Temporary Weight/Inspection Stations (typically found in Rest Areas) are considered the same as permanent Weigh Stations with all rules applying the same to both.
-Pesticide Use Investigations – the MI Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are reporting the following statistics from October 1 through April of this year in relation to their Pesticide Use Investigations:
         -There have been 22 investigations initiated. Of these, 19 were not agriculture related (so could apply to our industry) with these alleged issues:
                  *Drift
                  *Notifications
                  *Misuse
                  *Exposure
                  *Not certified
                  *Posting
          - While the goal of the Department is to work with the firm the complaint is filed against for compliance, in some cases administrative penalties are levied. In 2011 these totaled $150,000 and in 2012 they totaled $130,000.
For more information on compliance go to our website at www.mnla.org and visit our Legislation and Compliance Center.



Updates
1) I’ve fielded a few calls recently asking if there are any residual soil issues where Imprelis was used. Here’s the scoop from Dr. Bert Cregg at Michigan State University on Imprelis, Two Seasons Later:
Regarding Imprelis, at this point Imprelis in the soil should not be an issue.  The published soil half-life values (time for concentration to decrease by 1/2) are around 100 days.  So after 100 days concentration is 1/2 of initial, after 200 it's 1/4th and so on.  We are now 2 years out from Imprelis applications from Spring '11.  This is approximately 700 days or 7 half lives.  This means the soil concentrations are less than 1/100th of the original concentration.
There are, however, two outstanding issues remaining.  One is the residual Imprelis in affected trees that have been removed and whether this could have adverse effects if it is used for mulch.  Apparently Purdue has done some trials and found that mulch from Imprelis-affected trees impacted tomatoes in a green house study.  I haven't seen the data so I don't know if they top-dressed with mulch, used the chips as a substrate or what they did.  Common sense would tell you just to burn the stuff or send it to the landfill.
The other issue is that affected trees continue to have symptoms, which we would expect.  Even for trees that survived, the product caused severe impacts in 2012 since tree growth in that year was based on buds that formed in 2011 when the Imprelis effect was at its maximum.  We are seeing lingering effects for trees that are recovering and it's likely that the 2012 drought probably added a year to the eventual recovery time for many trees.

2) I’ve been spending a great deal of time on Aquatic Invasive Species as they relate to plants.
BACKGROUND:  In 2011 the Legislature passed a law that required State agencies to look at the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) issue with respect to stopping AIS from coming into Michigan. Through this law a Council was formed and was tasked with looking at different pathways for AIS to get in and to form recommendations on how to stop it from happening. One of these pathways is Organisms in Trade. Unfortunately, our industry was one being looked at and so, for over a year now, we've been at the table with this Council providing input and resistance to their ideas and recommendations.
As of June 5, 2013: Recommendations have to be made and one of these requires that our industry change how we operate and to move from the Restricted and Prohibited lists that we're used to dealing with for plant materials, to now include a Permitted list. While we've resisted a Permitted list, it’s been advised that it's not a battle that we can win at this level and so we've turned it into an opportunity to get some things that we've been wanting in exchange. Bottom line, here's what is being recommended (these are not final and would still have to go to the legislature to make it law):

1)    All aquatic plants for sale in the State of MI would have to be approved and put on the Permitted List.
a.    We were able to get all aquatic plants currently in trade grandfathered in and automatically placed on this list. We would have 12 months after this became law to develop this list with the Dept. of Ag.
b.    If there is something that we're currently selling and someone claims it's invasive, it would have to go through a scientific assessment process. Right now anyone that wants to put something on can get it done without the use of science.
c.    If it didn't make it through this process and was put on a prohibited list, the industry would receive compensation at fair market value by the state for the loss of that species.
    
2)    For the future, any plant completely new to MI would have to go through a scientific Risk Assessment process and be approved for the permitted list before you could bring it in from another State/Country and sell it here. There would be an application/review fee associated with this not to exceed administrative costs.
a.    We were able to get language in that would recognize all plants as individuals, including cultivars.
b.    While we're wary of another fee, once a plant had been assessed and approved for the Permitted List it would provide us with proof to stop the claims of invasiveness being spread by the environmental community about our plants.
Let me know your thoughts on these or any other issues you’re encountering by contacting me at either 800-879-6652 or by email to: amyf@mnla.org.