Trucking-Ig-01

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Comments

Regulatory Representation for Truck Transportation

Trucking is a critical mode of transportation for rural America. It carries 70 percent of agricultural and food products, alcohols, fertilizers, lumber, wood products, paper, pulp, and paperboard articles. It links farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service industries to grain elevators, ethanol plants, processors, feedlots, and markets, as well as ports, intermodal, rail, and barge facilities.

Because of agriculture's reliance on trucking, the availability of trucks and drivers, especially during planting and harvest, is critical to farmers' profitability. Commercial motor vehicle safety and driver health and safety requirements are enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Since 1988, Congress and FMCSA have recognized the need to provide agricultural operations and drivers with flexibility in the transportation of agricultural commodities, livestock, farm supplies, and farm machinery due to a wide variety of time and weather sensitive planting, harvest, and livestock feeding activities in the United States.

These flexibilities include the statutory 150 air-mile and farm truck exemptions, waivers, and other limited exemptions from the Commercial Drives License (CDL), interstate commerce, drivers’ hours of service, and electronic logging device regulations, summarized in Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service (HOS) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Rules

Under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. §1622), USDA meets with FMCSA and provides comments on issues of concern to agricultural operations.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Notices, Guidance, and AMS Comments Concerning Agricultural Operations

Statutory 150 Air-Mile Agricultural Exemption from Hour of Service Rules (49 U.S.C. § 31136 note)

Regulations regarding maximum driving and on-duty time for drivers used by motor carriers shall not apply during planting and harvest periods, as determined by each State, to-

  1. drivers transporting agricultural commodities from the source of the agricultural commodities to a location within a 150 air-mile radius from the source;
  2. drivers transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale or retail distribution point of the farm supplies to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 150 air-mile radius from the distribution point; or
  3. drivers transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale distribution point of the farm supplies to a retail distribution point of the farm supplies within a 150 air-mile radius from the wholesale distribution point.

Agricultural commodity is “any agricultural commodity, non-processed food, feed, fiber, or livestock (including livestock as defined in section 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 (7 U.S.C. 1471) and insects). “

The livestock defined in 7 U.S.C. 1471 are “cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary (at the Secretary's sole discretion) that-

  1. are part of a foundation herd (including producing dairy cattle) or offspring; or
  2. are purchased as part of a normal operation and not to obtain additional benefits under this subchapter.”

Farm supplies for agricultural purposes are “products directly related to the growing or harvesting of agricultural commodities during the planting and harvesting seasons within each State, as determined by the State, and livestock feed at any time of the year.”