Investigators of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas last month have determined that ammonium nitrate was the source of the explosion.
Steve Taylor, president of the Missouri Agribusiness Association, points out that the cause is not yet known. As in Texas, Missouri’s main fertilizer is ammonium nitrate because of its use on pastures for the beef cattle industry.
Taylor said the explosion in Texas is a very rare occurrence but the fertilizer industry should expect more scrutiny even though ammonium nitrate is a stable product.
“Ammonium nitrate is a very stable product. It’s very safe when handled appropriately and safely. In our membership there is a high level of concern about making sure our products are handled safely.”
A number of agencies oversee the industry but Taylor said much of the oversight is handled at the state and local level, and he believes that’s the way it should be.
“It’s an important product. I think it’s a produc—we know it’s a product that can be used very, very safe. We don’t know what happened in Texas. We know we’ll find out more and we’ll take what we learn and we’ll make the product even safer.”
Each state has its own oversight agencies for fertilizer production because it’s different in each state. Some states use primarily anhydrous ammonia, for example.
Taylor said Missouri leads the nation in ammonium nitrate usage.
Taylor will be heading to Washington, D.C., in a few weeks for meetings on the issue and said they are determined to work toward prevention of a similar tragedy.