December 12, 2007 | By: Aimee Nielson

In November the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a list of chemicals of concern, known as “Appendix A.” Appendix A includes such chemicals as ammonium nitrate, anhydrous ammonia, potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate. Kentucky farmers might use one or all of these common chemicals in their operations. If they possess the chemicals above specified quantities, farmers will need to register with DHS and complete what’s known as a “Top-Screen” assessment by Jan. 21.

“After farmers register and complete the Top-Screen assessment, DHS will notify them if the farmer is considered ‘high risk’ and let them know if any additional requirements need to be met,” said Greg Schwab, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture extension soils specialist. “Unfortunately, because of the very low threshold quantities, many Kentucky farmers and most agriculture retailers are required to complete this Top-Screen assessment.”

Schwab said farmers who do not currently have these materials, but take a delivery at a later date, have 60 days from the day of delivery to register. 

“Also if someone is registered, and then they increase the quantity of materials they possess - above the amount they told DHS in the original Top-Screen - they have 60 days to update their information.”

The following is a partial list of common agricultural chemicals and quantities specified in Appendix A:

• Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer – 2,000 pounds in a shipping package (bags, truck, fertilizer buggies – basically anything except bulk storage) 
• Anhydrous Ammonia – 10,000 pounds total (Add all quantities in nurse tanks and bulk tanks to get possession quantity.) 
• Potassium Nitrate – 400 pounds in a shipping package 
• Sodium Nitrate – 400 pounds in a shipping package 
• Some common fumigants and insecticides. (Check Appendix A for specifics.)
Propane – 60,000 lbs (not counting tanks 10,000 pounds or less).

“All of the rules revolve around possession of the chemicals,” Schwab said. “So if a farmer has the fertilizer retailer custom apply their fertilizer, only the custom applicator needs to be registered.”

The new DHS requirements were put into play when Congress passed and President Bush signed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007. A section of the act authorizes DHS to require high-risk chemical facilities to complete security vulnerability assessments, develop site security plans, and implement risk-based measures designed to satisfy DHS-defined risk-based performance standards. The act also authorized DHS to enforce compliance with the security regulations, including conducting audits and inspections of high-risk facilities, imposing civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day, and shutting down facilities that fail to comply with the regulations.

Schwab said farmers or agricultural retailers who meet any one of the criteria should log onto the DHS web page at
 and complete the Chemical Security Assessment Tool. 

For more information about the DHS’ Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards visit the DHS Web site at or call the CSAT Helpline at 866-323-2957 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., EST, Monday through Friday. 


Greg Schwab, 859-257-9780