USDOT nixes proposing more regs on farmers, ranchers

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The US Department of Transportation (DOT) made the right decision to walk away from proposing additional transportation regulations on America’s farmers and ranchers, said Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association manager of legislative affairs. Proposing more regulations would have resulted in new financial and regulatory burdens without providing significant improvements to the safety and efficiency of transportation, he added.

“The safety of cattle, equipment and other pedestrians on roads is a priority for cattlemen,” Bacus said. “That is why farmers and ranchers invest time and financial resources to ensure their equipment meets all current transportation standards. We were concerned that the questions raised by DOT failed to recognize the diversity within production agriculture and would have imposed unnecessary, burdensome regulations on cattlemen without providing significant improvements to a safe and efficient transportation system. We commend DOT for recognizing that new regulations are unnecessary and we appreciate the agency’s commitment to common sense rules for farmers and ranchers.”

DOT relays it received approximately 1,700 comments on the proposal, which would have expanded the scope of interstate commerce, further limited agricultural commercial drivers’ license (CDL) exemptions and expanded the definition of “implements of husbandry or off-road farm equipment” to bring these implements under jurisdiction of DOT.

“We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” said Secretary LaHood in a DOT press release. “Farmers deserve to know that reasonable, common sense exemptions will continue to be consistently available to agricultural operations across the country.”

Although NCBA had significant concerns with the questions raised by DOT, the organization will continue urging DOT to make improvements to agricultural transportation regulations, Bacus added. He said NCBA supports standardizing truck weight limits across state lines to improve the efficiency of commerce and reduce the number of trucks on roadways, providing reciprocity agricultural waivers for Class C drivers’ licenses and improving consistency of regulations of farmers and ranchers who participate in both interstate and intrastate commerce.

“The US beef industry and all of production agriculture is extremely diverse and consists of farmers and ranchers in all 50 states,” he said. “We need a transportation system that allows farmers and ranchers to safely and efficiently transport their products without placing undue burdens on them. It is extremely pleasing that DOT walked away from proposing new and expanded regulations.”
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