Central Illinois agriculture leaders remind farmers about the dangers of anhydrous ammonia; how to handle if there is a spill

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS– Agriculture leaders want to remind farmers about the dangers of anhydrous ammonia.

“Anhydrous ammonia is a compressed liquid gas with a nitrogen source. A liquid fertilizer we’ll call it. Very important to the corn crop in this area. It’s an important input in the growing stages,” said Ag-Land FS Operations Manager Eric Long.

Long says that being trained to handle the nitrogen-based liquid fertilizer could actually save lives.

“You want to take precautions. Number one you want to have the proper protective equipment. Gloves, goggles is minimum,” said Long.

In April, a valve malfunction at the Hanna City facility lead to the release of some anhydrous ammonia.

The company took precautions; first responders were called and luckily no on was hurt.

You can see our article on that anhydrous ammonia release here.

“There are reportable quantities, for anhydrous ammonia. Those reportable quantities are 100 pounds of product. In this instance, we came under that, but we air on the side of caution and we automatically called the proper first responders,” Long said.

Sometimes people try to steal some of the product; not to use it for their corn crop, but to make meth.

Long says Ag-Land FS has really increased its security recently, and the number of thefts have gone down.

“Not only cameras but we have locking valves, and different things like that we’ve done to prevent those unfortunate incidents,” Long said.

John Rebholz with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association says his organization holds classes for farmers to learn how to properly handle anhydrous ammonia.

He encourages anyone who interacts with the gas to attend.

“If you’re a farmer that utilizes anhydrous ammonia on the farm, I would highly recommend coming to the class,” Rebholz said.

Long mentioned how Ag-Land FS employees go through annual anhydrous ammonia training.

The class goes over the properties of anhydrous ammonia, how to transport it, and how to apply the product.

The classes started in Bloomington, are heading to Galesburg, Springfield, and finish up on Oct. 11 in Bloomington again.

You can find out how to sign up for this training on the IFCA’s website located here.

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