Michigan, South Carolina and Georgia are ready to go paperless.
The states will begin accepting June fertilizer tonnage data from fertilizer retailers electronically-a big step in a larger effort to achieve paperless tonnage reporting by the end of 2016. Full implementation of a paperless system will afford cost efficiencies while ensuring greater accuracy in reporting at both the state level and nationally, where the data is used to calculate the efficiency of fertilizer use.
Today, 47 states require fertilizer and feed tonnage reporting, registration and payment of fees and taxes-with 47 different sets of rules and forms. In most states, reporting is achieved using hard-copy, paper-submitted forms, creating an administrative burden for both companies and the state governments.
"Michigan supports the paperless tonnage project imitative and is pleased to be one of the first pilot states to accept June fertilizer data," said April Hunt, feed and fertilizer specialist for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. "The project benefits both the industry and states with efficiencies that will improve accuracy and timeliness of reports."
The Paperless Tonnage Reporting Project aims to provide cost-savings to both the states and the industry by using an industry standardized format, streamlining the reporting process, and utilizing electronic communication technologies. After nationwide implementation, all industry companies and states will benefit from a uniform reporting system that is faster, less error prone, and more efficient both in t erms of financial and human resources.
The pilot project, launched in February 2013 to prove the concept, has now been completed. The next step for the project is a 3.5 year nationwide initiative for full implementation.
The project, which is a collaborative effort among AgGateway, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO), also receives resources from departments of agriculture in Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Georgia and South Carolina.
"The trend in data communications with federal, state, and local governments is away from paper and toward electronic methods," said AgGateway President and CEO Rod Conner. "In 2016, after all states have adopted the uniform standard for tonnage reporting and companies have standardized their reporting procedures, the industry will achieve its goal of more accurate, timely, and efficient reporting. Achieving that goal will result in a large economic benefit for all the parties."