FMCSA Announces Safety Advisory for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Devices

Posted October 25, 2016 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a safety advisory October 21, 2016 to provide notice to commercial motor vehicle owners, operators and passengers on the risks and regulations as they pertain to the recently recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone as well as other damaged, defective or recalled lithium cells or batteries used for portable electronic devices.

Individuals who own or possess a Galaxy Note 7 may not transport the device on their person or in bags in or on commercial motor carriers, to, from or within the United States. The emergency order also prohibits the shipment of the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones as cargo.

The FMCSA advises drivers and passengers to take the following precautions:

  1. Turn off the phone.samsung-galaxy-note-7
  2. Disconnect the device from any charging equipment.
  3. Disable all applications that could activate the phone inadvertently (such as an alarm clock.)
  4. Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation.

The transportation of electrical devices, such as batteries and battery-powered devices that are likely to produce sparks or generate a “dangerous evolution of heat” is forbidden unless packaged in a manner which precludes such an occurrence, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Hazardous Materials Relations. The recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are subject to this regulatory prohibition and may only be transported by commercial motor vehicles as cargo under the conditions of a special permit or approval issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s associate administrator for hazardous materials safety.

FMCSA Awards Almost $1M in Grants for Veterans

Posted October 18, 2016 by Administrator

The beautiful red US Truck with chrome

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently amended their regulations to help integrate more veterans into the transportation industry. The amendment increases the window veterans have from exiting the service and applying for a skill waiver test to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

The FMCSA has taken additional steps to display their commitment to recognizing and utilizing veteran’s skills. On October 18, 2016, the FMCSA announced almost $1 million in grants for seven institutions across the nation. These grants will help these institutions train and prepare veterans for jobs in the transportation industry. The FMCSA provides this funding through their Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) program. These grants will provide training for over 250 students.

The FMCSA’s grants do more than help veterans transition into civilian lives. They also help institutions train veterans to be the best drivers in the industry. This includes knowing and following best safety practices. Given their previous military experience in addition to continued training, the FMCSA believes veterans provide an excellent resource for quality and safe drivers.

The focus on safety is not without good reason. 2015 saw a drastic increase in road fatalities. Couple that with the fact that trucking has the highest on-the-job fatality rate in America, and it is easy to see why the FMCSA has safety concerns. Driver safety should always be a major concern for fleet managers. To stay up to date with the latest federal regulations to improve trucking safety, contact Cline Wood.

Feds to Hold Livestock Haulers Responsible for Inhumane Treatment of Animals

Posted October 12, 2016 by Administrator

livestock imageIn an unprecedented ruling, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service has announced a new proposed policy that would hold livestock transporters responsible for the mistreatment of the animals they carry. The new rule would allow civil or criminal action to be taken against instances of animal abuse related to animals with a connection to an official slaughterhouse establishment.

The current law holds farm owners and slaughterhouses solely responsible for the care of animals in conjunction with slaughter. This policy proposal is the first time that carriers will be held accountable for the handling of the livestock they are hired to transport. This is significant because many of the truck carriers are not employed by either the farmers or the slaughterhouses and are therefore exempt from the current law. Policymakers hope that the new policy will improve the welfare of livestock during transport.

One major change policymakers have explicitly included in the proposed rule is that speeding while transporting livestock will be considered inhumane treatment. Speeding while hauling animals bound for slaughter has been known to result in the animals slipping and becoming injured due to falls. Under the proposed new ruling, FSIS can investigate and find the transportation professional liable. The FSIS believes the new ruling will improve conditions for livestock bound for slaughter by making sure the proper procedures for hauling will be enforced.

The official notice will be published in the Federal Register. The proposed policy will go into effect in 90 days unless public comment calls for a revision of the ruling. At Cline Wood we represent top agribusiness insurance carriers across the country with access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Our goal is to go beyond simply providing you with affordable insurance. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.

Drug and Alcohol Seminar (Kansas City location)

Posted October 11, 2016 by Erin

Cline Wood is happy to share some information on upcoming free seminar scheduled in Kansas City, Missouri next week. This is a drug and alcohol seminar for supervisors taught by Mark Woodward from Missouri Employers Mutual and John Throckmorton from TOMO Drug Testing.

7:30 a.m.  Registration begins. Continental breakfast provided.

8 a.m.-noon Seminar

Oct. 13—Kansas City
Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts
4747 Flora
Kansas City, MO 64110

Participants who complete the full session will receive a Certificate of Completion indicating compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements, and most state requirements for Supervisor Drug and Alcohol Recognition Training. This is a free seminar.  This certification would normally cost $75/person.  Here is the link to the information and sign-up on our website.

 http://www.worksafecenter.com/safety/Seminars.page

If you have contacts who can benefit from such training, please forward this information.

 

Webinar: New DOL Standards Pose Challenges for Trucking Companies

Posted October 6, 2016 by Administrator

Join Cline Wood and Roberts Perryman as we discuss the challenges facing the trucking industry in light of new Department of Labor regulatory standards. Effective December 1, the new DOL standards regarding payment of overtime will affect most trucking industry occupations. This includes drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, sales and recruiters. Subject matter expert Ted L. Perryman will address the impact on your trucking business and more. Topics include:

* FLSA Overtime Changes man and truck
* Criminal Background Checks
* Misclassification
* Whistle Blower Litigation
* Retaliatory Discharge

Date & Time: Wed, Oct 19, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT

Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1805350090969271812

Congratulations to Skip Wombolt, Michael Gully and Jeff Buchheit. MOTA award recipient and newly appointed board officers.

Posted September 29, 2016 by Erin

mota-logo-img

Last Thursday during the 79th Annual Missouri Trucking Association Convention, Cline Wood Producer Skip Wombolt was presented with the “G. Findley Reed Award” the allied industry’s highest service award.

G. Findley Reed was a long-time allied member of the Missouri Motor Carriers Association and a leader in the insurance industry. Fin Reed passed away some years ago, and in his memory and to remember his service to the Association, and honor other valued allied members, the G. Findley Reed Award was established.

G. Findley Reed had a high regard for the Missouri Motor Carriers Association and recognized the importance of bringing together, at least once a year, both the allied industry and the motor carrier members of the Association.

Each year at the annual convention, an allied industry member is recognized for service to the motor carrier industry and, in particular, for service to the Association.

Congratulations Skip!

Cline Wood would also like to congratulate our client Michael Gully, of Gully Transportation, Inc., on his election to serve as Chairman of the board for MOTA for the 2016-2017 year. Congratulations Michael!

Cline Wood would also like to congratulate our client Jeff Buchheit, of Buchheit Logistics, on his election to serve as 3rd Vice Chairman of the board for MOTA for the 2016-2017 year. Congratulations Jeff!

To see the full press release from this year’s MOTA convention, please visit their website here.

 

Are U.S. Farmers Moving Away from Commodity to Niche Markets?

Posted September 27, 2016 by Administrator

Today’s farmers are re-evaluating their crops and enterprise centers by considering whether it makes sense to continue producing commodities or to expand their customer base.

In the past, U.S. farmers primarily produced lower-priced commodity yields. Contracts for major commodity suppliers, such as canning and seed processors, were lucrative and there was little incentive to expand their markets. More and more farmers are looking to establish their reputations as top-tier suppliers who provide high-quality yields and who can charge accordingly.

But in the 1980’s there were massive consolidation of processor industry companies, which resulted in giant corporations that monopolized the industry. These corporate giants have imposed a single price-driven tier structure on their growers in many enterprise sectors, which forces farmers to lower their standards in order to keep renewing their contracts and stay in business.

Niche markets open up many new market possibilities for today’s farmers. Examples of this might include:

  • Roadside stands that offer local, fresh products
  • Specialized grains for local microbreweries and distilleries
  • Pre-selling meat to local buyers such as pastured pigs, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, etc.
  • Organic grain for local millers and bakeries
  • Minimally processed dairy products to local outlets
  • Organic vegetables sold to consumers who want food grown without pesticides
  • Pasteurized goat milk for consumers who are allergic to cow milk

shutterstock_3008334There are thousands of niche markets open to innovative farmers. There are many factors that influence the development of the niche market, including transportation costs and the growing demand for locally grown and organic products. Farming to niche markets is limited only by the imagination and willingness of the farmer to think creatively along with the courage to test new markets and find ways to make them profitable.

Here at Cline Wood we represent top agribusiness insurance carriers across the country with access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Our goal is to go beyond simply providing you with affordable insurance. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.

Our dedicated agribusiness staff of professionals are committed to giving you the best service at an affordable price. Click here to learn more.

Market Intelligence Critical to Livestock Industry

Posted September 20, 2016 by Administrator

HogsA new program has been created to expand livestock pricing information accessibility through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (through its USDA Market News Division.) The USDA Market News Division provides market information to producers of cattle, swine, lamb and livestock in the U.S. The new program, the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting program, will encourage competition in the marketplace by improving price and supply data. The USDA Market News Division will improve its service by increasing transparency, breadth and depth of market reporting.

Livestock producers are not the only beneficiaries of the new program. Livestock processors, retail food outlets, restaurants, exporters and many other stakeholders will benefit from the daily market intelligence accessibility. Literally thousands of agricultural business transactions depend on having access to the LMR data.

Funding, and authority, for the program was awarded through the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999. Reauthorization will be required by March 1, 2018. Parties involved in the reauthorization efforts include cattle, swine and lamb producers, packers and other market participants.

The first step in the reauthorization process is to conduct a baseline analysis of the livestock and meat industry during the past year. The baseline study will provide an overview of the evolving livestock and meat markets, which need to be taken into consideration in the comprehensive final study.

Changes are happening rapidly in the livestock and meat industry. Here are a couple of the changing trends in the industry.

  1. Packers have become larger, more concentrated, and more vertically integrated.
  2. The industry has made major investments to improve supply chain management.
  3. The use of LMR has expanded beyond price discovery
  4. Consumer preferences have changed, and packers are marketing a wider variety of value-added and specialty products to meet consumer demand.

With greater vertical integration and concentration in the industry, the LMR information has expanded beyond price discovery. AMS will be inviting industry representatives from National livestock and meat trade associations and organizations to participate in a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss the marketing methods, the current challenges with reporting livestock and meat markets, and the needs of the industry regarding future revisions to LMR.  The goal of these meetings is to reach consensus on what each commodity area needs changed in the next reauthorization.  AMS has tentatively scheduled the first meeting for mid-November.  More information will be shown when the schedule is finalized.

We are looking forward to the completed comprehensive LMR study and the report for Congress, which will serve as the basis to inform the next reauthorization.

Webinar: Best Practices for Truck Brokers to Reduce Costs & Improve CSA Scores

Posted September 13, 2016 by Administrator

The beautiful red US Truck with chrome

Join Cline Wood University as we discuss insurance and risk management best practices for trucking brokers. Subject matter expert Ben Armistead, Partner at Greenwich Transportation Underwriters, will explain the critical components required to make truck brokers appealing to underwriters. Implementing these safety strategies and best practices will reduce insurance costs, improve CSA scores and attract business to your organization. Topics include:

* Broker Management Goals
* Risk Management Strategy & Objectives
* Critical Best Practices
* The Insurance Underwriting Strategy

Date & Time: Wed, Sep 21, 2016 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM CDT

To Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3433061607192271619

Cash Flow Can Make or Break Your Farm Business

Posted September 6, 2016 by Administrator

tablet farmerUnderstanding the cash flow of your business is one of the most important aspects of being a business owner. The way businesses track and record cash flow is called a cash flow statement. A cash flow statement can help a farmer identify trends in business performance that can benefit or harm the operation in the long run.

A cash flow statement is simply a list of the cash that flows into and out of your farm. It also concerns the timing of the flows. The cash flow statement compares the actual income and outflow compared to projected cash flow budgets. It generally projects the cash balance remaining at the end of the year but also the cash balance at the end of each month. Your cash flow statement will help you understand how the cash flows in and out in relation to what you projected and why there is a deficit or surplus.

The cash flow statement is used in conjunction with other financial statements, such as the balance sheet and income statement. These documents are designed to assess the progress of your farm business from year to year. The cash flow statement will help you keep your “finger on the pulse” of your operation.

It’s important to keep your cash flow statement up-to-date so that you can quickly identify if there is going to be a significant cash deficit or surplus. The cash flow statement will help you make well-informed management decisions such as when to purchase new equipment or when to open a new line of credit to cover cash deficits.

Some farmers find that they don’t have to keep a cash flow statement every month because there isn’t much change on a month-to-month basis. Some farmers find that their farms function on a seasonal basis and so they need to track their cash flow during the growing and harvesting seasons but don’t need to update it that frequently during the winter month. Once you get on a schedule with your cash flow statement you will be able to determine how often you need to update your cash flow statement.

One thing to keep in mind is that farmers can choose to keep a cash flow statement for the entire farm or focus on a specific aspect, or profit center, of the farm. For example, a dairy farm might have several enterprises in addition to milk production, such as hay sales, custom work or maple syrup production. Analyzing a specific profit center of your farm allows you to determine if that project costs more than it generates in revenue. It also can help you decide if it’s a good idea to take on another new project or not.

A cash flow statement can help you assess the financial health of your farm as well as your smaller enterprises. Taking the time to track, record and analyze your cash flow will help you understand what these performance measures mean for your business.

For more on agribusiness best practices and coverages, contact us.

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