Feds say no new road regs for agriculture
August 10, 2011
• Transport of agricultural products will not face new federal rules
• ‘Farmers will not be subjected to new and impractical safety regulations’
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says Wednesday that it has no intention to propose new regulations governing the transport of agricultural products.
The agency also 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.
After hearing from concerned farmers earlier this year, FMCSA initiated a review “to make sure states don't go overboard in enforcing regulations on agricultural operators,” as it puts it, and to ensure consistent access to exemptions for farmers.
No regulations will be proposed for any new safety requirements or changes to the rules governing the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says.
“We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Farmers deserve to know that reasonable, common sense exemptions will continue to be consistently available to agricultural operations across the country, and that’s why we released this guidance.”
The guidance – which does not impose any new rules on farmers – follows the Federal Register public notice that FMCSA issued on May 31, asking farmers, farm organizations and the public to give input on the agency’s longstanding safety rules.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that farmers will not be subjected to new and impractical safety regulations," adds U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari. "The farm community can be confident that states will continue to follow the regulatory exemptions for farmers that have always worked so well."
Earlier this year, farm groups came to FMCSA with concerns that some states might not allow exemptions to Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements for certain farm operations using “crop-share” leasing.
When FMCSA investigated, there appeared to be wide differences among states in how the “for-hire” and related agricultural exceptions were being applied. In order to ensure consistency, FMCSA asked state officials to cease all new entrant safety audits on farmers engaged in “crop-share” leasing and issued the public notice soliciting input that would provide insight on the complex use of farm equipment on public roads.