Federal proposal could add regulations to agricultural travel

FARGO – Sunday is the last day to weigh in on a federal proposal that could require farmers to carry commercial driver’s licenses in the future.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reviewing a handful of its regulations – including ones that would typically exclude agricultural operations.

The administration has invited public comment in helping determine whether any revisions to existing regulations should be made.

Current policies can exempt farmers from having a commercial driver’s license if they’re using public roads to haul produce or transport farm equipment.

However, states have options in dictating the exemptions, and FMCSA officials are concerned about a disparity in how the regulations are carried out across the country.

If the proposed regulation change goes through, farmers would be required to carry a commercial license and use log books to record travel time, Republican Rep. Rick Berg said in a statement.

Berg said condemned the idea, saying federal regulators “failed to recognize the unique needs of rural communities.”

“Every new regulation means new costs for our farmers and ranchers, and imposing a one-size-fits-all policy will hurt our farmers’ ability to effectively produce and sell their crops,” he said.

North Dakota Farmers Union officials are continuing to monitor the proposal, which is far from being a done-deal.

NDFU Executive Director Mark Watne said he remains confident that this comment period will help educate the FMCSA on what appropriate regulation ought to be.

“While we’re concerned, we’re confident that we can manage it so any new regulations won’t negatively impact farmers and ranchers,” NDFU Executive Director Mark Watne said.

To give input on the federal proposal, log on to www.regulations.gov and search for “Docket FMCSA-2011-0146.” Comments must be received before Aug. 1.

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  1. Pingback: DOT to farmers: No new, impractical regulations on ag transportation | Flickertales from The Hill

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