Ag Groups Praise Senate Legislation Clarifying Agricultural Hours of Service Exemption


Washington, D.C. – The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) of the American Trucking Associations, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) voiced their support today for legislation that would clarify transportation regulations that are critical to the agricultural sector’s ability to expeditiously distribute farm supplies. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced the legislation intended to resolve questions regarding the applicability of the agricultural hours of service exemption.

The exemption came into question in 2009 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an interpretation of the regulations that resulted in transportation restrictions for certain farm supplies.  The legislation introduced this week amends aspects of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, which served as the basis for FMCSA’s 2009 interpretation, to clarify the applicability of exemptions for agricultural products.  Identical legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in October by Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).

“When I visit with agricultural retailers across the country, one of the top issues they bring up as a threat to their business is the Hours of Service issue,” said ARA President & CEO Daren Coppock. “We are pleased to see Senators Klobuchar and Roberts introduce the Senate Bill. This legislation helps ensure that agricultural retailers are able to serve the needs of farmers during the busy planting and harvest seasons.”

“The timely transportation of agricultural products during the busiest times of the year is of the utmost importance for our members and their customers and applaud Senators Klobuchar and Roberts for introducing the Senate companion to the House bill.” said AFTC Chairman, John Wittington. “This language will provide us with the flexibility to ensure those products are delivered on time.”

Specifically, the legislation clarifies that the agricultural hours of service exemption is applicable to:

  • Drivers transporting agricultural commodities within a 100 air-mile radius;
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes from a wholesale or retail business to a farm or other location where the farm supplies are intended to be used within a 100 air-mile radius from the distribution point; or
  • Drivers transporting farm supplies from a wholesale location to a retail location so long as the transportation is within a 100 air-mile radius.

“This legislation will ensure that farmer co-ops can continue to meet the farm supply needs of their farmer-owners during the busiest times of the year in agriculture,” said NCFC President & CEO of Chuck Conner.  “We appreciate the leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Roberts in seeking to  permanently resolve this issue.”

“TFI commends Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Roberts for recognizing the importance of this issue to the agricultural community by introducing this legislation in the Senate,” said TFI President Ford B. West.

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Agricultural Retailers Association

Richard Gupton

Phone: (202) 457-0825
Richard@aradc.org

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) is a nonprofit trade association representing the interests of retailers across the United States on legislative and regulatory issues on Capitol Hill. As the political voice of agricultural retailers, ARA not only represents its membership but also educates members on the political process and important issues affecting the industry.

 

 

Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference

American Trucking Associations

Jon Samson

Executive Director

Phone: (202) 478-6850

jsamson@trucking.org

Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC), founded in 1995, is the national organization representing motor carrier and allied members of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) on critical issues affecting agricultural and food. For additional information, visit the AFTC website.

 

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Justin Darisse
Phone: (202)-879-0816

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives is a national association representing America’s farmer cooperatives. There are nearly 3,000 farmer cooperatives across the U.S. whose members include a majority of our nation’s more than 2 million farmers, ranchers and growers. These farmer cooperative businesses handle, process, and market agricultural commodities and related products; furnish farm supplies; and provide credit and associated financial services. Earnings from these activities are returned to their members on a patronage basis. Farmer cooperatives also provide jobs for nearly 250,000 Americans, many in rural areas, with a combined payroll of over $8 billion. Additional information about NCFC can be found at http://www.ncfc.org.

The Fertilizer Institute:
Sarah Monke
Phone: (202) 515-2716

The Fertilizer Institute represents the nation’s fertilizer industry. Producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms which comprise its membership are served by a full time Washington, D.C., staff in various legislative, educational and technical areas as well as with information and public relations programs.  Further information and resources on 4R nutrient stewardship is available at www.nutrientstewardship.com  

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