Officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration say they have no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm. The agency also has released guidance designed to make sure states clearly understand the common-sense exemptions that allow farmers, their employees and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the DOT has no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed the U.S. and fuel its economy. LaHood says farmers deserve to know that reasonable, common-sense exemptions will continue to be consistently available to agricultural operations across the country.
Earlier this year, farm groups went to FMCSA with concerns that some states might not allow exemptions to Commercial Driver's License requirements for certain farm operations using crop-share leasing. U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari says the farm community can be confident that states will continue to follow the regulatory exemptions for farmers that have always worked so well.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association Legislative Affairs Manager Kent Bacus says the U.S. Department of Transportation made the right decision to walk away from proposing additional transportation regulations on America's farmers and ranchers. Bacus says additional regulations would have resulted in new financial and regulatory burdens without providing significant improvements to the safety and efficiency of transportation. NCBA appreciates the agency's commitment to common-sense rules for farmers and ranchers.
Still, NCBA would like to see standardized truck weight limits across state lines to improve the efficiency of commerce and reduce the number of trucks on roadways. NCBA also would like to see reciprocity agricultural waivers for Class C drivers' licenses and improved consistency of regulations of farmers and ranchers who participate in both interstate and intrastate commerce. Bacus promises that NCBA will continue working with the department to improve transportation standards for cattlemen by improving efficiency and safety without imposing additional financial burdens on cattlemen and women.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is also happy with LaHood's announcement. AFBF President Bob Stallman says it is great news for America's farm and ranch families. He says it's common sense and refreshing to see the federal authorities heard the concerns expressed by those in the ag industry.