Ag safety training advances with new complex
State agriculture and industry officials envision unlimited hands-on safety training and courses at the new Asmark Institute Agricenter that opened this week in Bloomington.
Published: Aug 24, 2012
“This building is agriculture’s commitment to the life, safety, and health of people who work in agriculture,” said Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA). IFCA is a partner in the new facility.
Asmark Institute, based in Owensboro, Ky., IFCA, and the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI) worked together on the 26,000-square-foot training complex. The groups first announced the project in early January and broke ground in mid-March.
The unique facility offers real grain handling equipment and will allow participants to experience real-life scenarios.
For the agrichemical and fertilizer sector, extensive equipment and scale models provide the opportunity for a variety of courses. A national agronomic environmental health and safety school was held in the facility the day after it opened.
During an open house, industry and state officials marveled at the real equipment installed in the facility. “The sky’s the limit on the uses,” said Warren Goetsch, head of environmental programs for the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA).
For the grain industry, the new agricenter is the first of its kind, according to Jeff Adkisson, GFAI executive vice president. “We know of no other facility like this anywhere in the nation,” he told 200 open house guests.
GFAI’s goal is to offer safety training for grain facilities. “We’ll be able to simulate (grain) engulfments and some of the many hazards in the grain industry,” Adkisson said.
In addition to the training rooms, the facility has a large conference room and smaller meeting rooms.
Farmers, too, likely will be offered courses in the new facility. “We plan on working with growers’ groups to develop curriculum for growers. There’s a need for training,” Payne said.
IDOA officials also are considering ideas for training in the new facility. Goetsch noted the building would provide an ideal facility for state pesticide training.
Goetsch complimented ag industry leaders for developing the facility. “The industry has seen the need,” he concluded.
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