Luetkemeyer, Graves Seek to Clarify Farm Transportation Regulations in Highway Bill
In an effort to ensure Missouri farmers have timely access to the supplies they need to be successful, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (MO-6) have successfully secured language in the federal highway bill that will exempt truc
In an effort to ensure Missouri farmers have timely access to the supplies they need to be successful, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (MO-6) have successfully secured language in the federal highway bill that will exempt truck drivers transporting certain agricultural products from current Department of Transportation restrictions.
The proposal, which is nearly identical to legislation introduced by the congressmen last year, reinforces existing law by clarifying that a driver transporting farm supplies from source to retail, source to farm and retail to farm is included under existing Agriculture Hours-of-Service (AgHOS) regulations. The measure extends the AgHOS exemption for a motor carrier in the distribution system provided that the motor carrier is delivering farm supplies for agricultural purposes where none of the transportation movements exceed a 150 air-mile radius.
The AgHOS regulations are issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which, through several waivers granted over the past two years, has recognized the need for an exemption to their motor carrier regulations. In 2010, Luetkemeyer and Graves were successful in securing a two year waiver that runs through October 9, 2012 for the delivery of anhydrous ammonia.
“The timely delivery of farm supplies is crucial to the success of Missouri agriculture, so I am pleased that this important provision will be included in the upcoming highway bill. It is imperative that we clarify in existing law that a driver transporting farm supplies from source to retail, source to farm and retail to farm is included in the agricultural hours of service exemption,” Luetkemeyer said. “Congressional intent demonstrated in previous sessions clearly allows the transportation of all farm supplies from any distribution point to a local farm retailer or to the ultimate consumer. Unfortunately, in 2009, FMCSA began to misinterpret congressional intent.”
“Planting and harvesting a crop is tough enough without having to deal with overbearing federal regulations,” Graves said. “This language will ensure that Missouri farmers have access to the farm supplies they need, whenever they need them. I believe this bill balances the need for quick delivery while not compromising safety.”
In the past, many members of Congress have expressed repeated concern regarding FMCSA’s interpretation of the AgHOS exemption, which currently allows for the transportation of only anhydrous ammonia from a distribution source to retail outlet, from a source to a farm and from a retail outlet to a farm. Luetkemeyer, Graves and many other members of Congress believe that federal statute and congressional intent allow for the transportation of all necessary agriculture products under the AgHOS exemption.