Listen: What you need to know about anhydrous ammonia, the chemical spilled in Beach Park
"And this week in agriculture all input product made the news not in the way, we like to see it. But people have been asking what's it all about? Well, my arms wrong has a guest who will explain to us much Santana hydros ammonia fertilizer is in the news this week. We wanted to talk about about the nature of that fertilizer is used how important it is to farmers the president of the fertilizer and Asian gene pain joins us here and genus something folks are very very familiar with give us a little bit of history and hikers ammonia has been used for decades has it not on our farm fields. In the nineteen sixties really after World War Two was over and the industrial revolution kind of focused on improving wife on on domestic plane, it became very prevalent and Illinois agriculture in fact, our association with four originally as the Illinois anhydrous ammonia, and that's because we knew this product always needs to be handle with care. And we knew our members would have to have the right training and quit knowledge and expertise in order to bring this to Eleanor agriculture boy now it is used in this state on probably tens, and tens of thousands of acres, but it's used another state as well. Not primarily used for corn. Although it also used for week, but in Illinois where we have ten to eleven million acres of corn planted every year, it provides nitrogen probably for about sixty percent of the corn crop and the other forms of nitrogen means would be liquid ammonia called A N. We call it which is just twenty eight percent nitrogen or then dry urea, which is a forty six percent nitrogen and hydrogen eighty two percent. So anybody that's looking for fishing, teas and concentration and able to cover a lot of acres with not a lot of product. That's why it's been so so you so well in Illinois for so many years because we can get a lot of nitrogen to a lot of cornfields in short amount of time state, really respond. Well, do they not? In other words, it has significant yield impact. Nice bridge organic lace oils and hydrogen Mon you likes to attach to water. And and so in our soil's really grab onto the which is why we can even fall apply it and have armor Z ready in the spring. Plant, and they had their fertilization already done. So we're fortunate knowing they have the kind of oil that are very conducive to among is not unusual to hear a handling incident. It seems like with so many rural communities where the product is used you do here every now and then on the social media or you'll hear a report about a some kind of an escape of the gas and quite often, it's very very minor insignificant. But it is always treated seriously by association members and the farmers the product. Storage tanks. Eleanor twenty five thousand nurse. They go out to field. So the scope is rather large nurse. Help us out the nurse tank for those who aren't familiar with it? What are you talking about one that we use the term to feed the farmers fields? So we attach him to the applicator Vars, and that ammonia gets injected down into the soil at the retail level. We have larger storage tanks, then we transfer the product into the nurse tanks in the nursing what you see on the road going out to the of application have been what we saw from the aerial photographs of news. Helicopters those nurse tanks behind that tractor tanks. Shipley or either one thousand or one thousand five hundred gallons each and those are the ones that we have twenty five thousand annoy to the to your point about we have releases from time to time. Yes. Because the scope of the industry extremely large. However, we performed thousands of movement in the spring and the fall and move close to seven hundred fifty thousand tonnes of Monja in that manner. And really we've been quite proud of our. Safety records, keep this nonflammable gas under pressure very much into close system and never exposed to the environment certainly not to people but from time to time. It does happen. Typically doesn't happen densely populated area. Which is why yesterday's event caught so much attention when former is handling or someone with agriculture retail who serves the farmers how do they prepare for handling it when they're connecting disconnecting tag do many of them wear a mask where protective gloves? How do they prepare? Department regulations impeccable. Former retailer so the personal protective equipment as required. Minimum dog that completely protect your is usually long-sleeve protect your skin and then gloves to protect your hands. So they don't have any skin or exposure to ammonia and always have water on hand the first aid for ammonia is water water water and fresh air. And so we always carry at least five gallons of water on every nurse tank at all of our we have one hundred fifty gallon container that someone could actually jump into if they're supposed to ammonia. So it's really rather simple when it comes to exposure and first aid and personal protective equipment. But a lot of the times when that cloud of ammonia forms liquid hits the atmosphere vaporized expand eight hundred fifty times. And that's why that cloud looks so large yesterday in may have only been a couple thousand gallons of product, but it expanded so far because it favorite is is when it hits the atmosphere, and then it. Water maps and in early morning time when the moisture levels are down by the ground. That's why you saw that cloud. Kind of hanging takes sober pneumonia for you to be able to smell and react to it. I'm sure for the people experience that you could see from the interviews, and it's certainly can harm your UK's membranes. And you saw that reaction of the people that were exposed to the first responders may not have known what they had their one could imagine especially thirty in the morning, you're in the suburb of Chicago and rolling up on something like that the has met response hazardous material response by the fire and emergency services in the region seem to be very appropriate though, once they realized what they had their shelter in place. Close your windows. Turn off all your ventilation is the number one recommendation, and I really commend them because yes, I doubt at four thirty in the morning, it works acting anything like that. And it's a white cloud. It could look like fog at a distance until of course, you get upon it. And then you know, egress is something we always train about usually when these happened in the field of that. -cation in the cornfield is fairly easily to get away. From the cloud. You go the other direction of the wind or or get away from it. You don't have encumbrances like rose and highways and houses and things like that. So that's why we always recommend to our members to use a different form of nitrogen in densely populated area. And and really in hydrogen is more properly used in areas of the state where you don't have a dent population."