The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School was originally founded as the Fertilizer Safety School by the late Billy Creel from Wilmington, North Carolina. The school was focused primarily on fertilizer issues in the beginning. In 1978, and in conjunction with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the National Safety Council, the name was changed to the Fertilizer Health and Safety School. The coordinators of the school were Don Farabaugh, Art Harrell, N.H. Rozier and R.W. Thomas.
With the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971, retailers and distributors indicated the need for more comprehensive training and suggested the school expand from strictly fertilizer related issues to include more information on crop protection chemicals and regulatory compliance. Over the life of the school, the Board of Directors have a history of responding to the ever-changing agricultural retailer industry. As the school moved into the 1980’s, the Board of Directors was diversified to include members from all areas of the industry, as well as a representative from the North Carolina Department of Labor. This diversification continues today with the addition of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Fertilizer Institute, CropLife America, the Asmark Institute, as well as nationally-recognized basic manufacturers and retailers who share the vision of the school.
Raleigh, North Carolina was the site of the school for many years with professionals attending from throughout the United States and Canada. As the agricultural industry began to change and consolidate, the Board of Directors decided in 2003 to move the school to a more central location in the Midwest. The first Midwest school was held in conjunction with the Nebraska Agri Business group in Lincoln, Nebraska. The school was invited to join forces with the long-established Midwest Ag Industry Exposition (MAGIE) show and moved to Bloomington, Illinois the following year. This partnership proved to be a good match and the school continues to be held in conjunction with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association’s (IFCA) MAGIE show. Future plans call for this type of cooperation to continue to allow a wider exposure of the school and to meet the needs of the industry.
The Board of Directors strives to continue the original purpose of the school. The focus is “to meet the training needs identified by the attendees and to communicate beneficial information identified by the board members.” The agricultural industry is an ever-changing field due to health, safety, environmental and economic issues. The National Agronomic Environmental Health & Safety School strives to provide quality training to industry professionals to help meet the challenges faced by the agricultural industry.