National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted comments to Thomas Yager of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) about a possible reinterpretation of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The FMCSA is exploring the possibility of categorizing “implements of husbandry and other farm equipment” as commercial motor vehicles, thus requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate.
“Most farmers have little, if any, control or knowledge of the final destination of the commodities they produce,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “As such, it is inappropriate to consider a farmer’s commodity delivery to a grain handling facility, for one example, within the state as interstate commerce. Deeming this sort of commodity delivery as interstate commerce and subjecting the farmer to additional levels of regulation is an overly burdensome interpretation of statute. NFU asks that a more reasonable approach be found.”
NFU also asked that individual states be given more leeway in determining the rules for what types of vehicles and transportation do and do not require CDLs.
“This is a determination that may be best left to the states, of which many already have certain exemptions for agricultural transportation,” said Johnson. “Our members strongly encourage FMCSA to consider its guidance language regarding agricultural transportation to ensure that it allows farmers to continue to safely operate their farms without additional layers of regulatory oversight. Additional explanation and application of these rules should recognize the unique aspects of agricultural transportation and be reasonable and sensible for agricultural practices across the country.”