The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented two sections of the recently passed Highway Bill (MAP-21) this month, providing exemptions for farmers and ranchers.
The sections – 32934 and 32101 – include an exemption from regulations for the operation of covered farm vehicles by farm and ranch operators and their employees, and an exemption from the hours of service regulations for certain carriers transporting agricultural commodities and farm supplies.
"We're pleased to see these two provisions of the Highway Bill finally enacted," said National Cattlemen's Beef Association Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus. "This transportation legislation is important to farmers and ranchers across the country. It's vital for America's agriculture producers to be able to deliver commodities, livestock and farm supplies in a timely manner."
In the exemption from commercial drivers license requirements, the operation of a covered farm vehicle is exempt from regulations such as meeting CDL requirements and inspections, repairs and maintenance. A covered farm vehicle includes a commercial motor vehicle driven by a farm owner or operator, or an employee or family member of the farm owner or operator. Such vehicles are also exempt from these regulations if they are transporting agricultural commodities, livestock or farm machinery. The vehicle must also be equipped with a special license plate or other state designation. ]
The hours of service exemption provides relief from federal hours of service rules during the planting and harvesting seasons. This exemption covers drivers transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies within a 150 air-mile radius from the source or distribution point.
"The last thing cattlemen need is more regulatory overreach," said Bacus. These provisions help provide relief and certainty for producers, balancing the need for efficient and effective transportation policies with the importance of safety."
For more information about the exemptions, click here.