After one extension, the comment period on “proposed guidance” for farm vehicles from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ends Monday, August 1. Farm organizations across the spectrum are throwing up flags with this guidance due to its potential to require drivers of nearly any farm vehicle to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL). Specifically, the proposed guidance delves into three areas:
- Previously published regulatory guidance on the distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce in deciding whether operations of commercial motor vehicles within the boundaries of a single State are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations;
- proposed guidance on the relevance of the distinction between direct and indirect compensation in deciding whether farm vehicle drivers transporting agricultural commodities, farm supplies and equipment as part of a crop share agreement are subject to the commercial driver’s license regulations; and,
- proposed guidance to determine whether off-road farm equipment or implements of husbandry operated on public roads for limited distances are considered commercial motor vehicles. The Agency indicated the guidance would be used to help ensure uniform application of the safety regulations by enforcement personnel, motor carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Jake Cummins, the Executive Vice President for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, heard from the Administrator for the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration while in Washington, D.C a short while back.
As you might expect, the nation’s ag organizations are weighing in on this issue along with the Montana Farm Bureau. On Tuesday Russell Nemetz spoke with Dana Peterson, the CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers.
The National Farmers Union is one such group submitting comments. John Walton spoke with NFU President Roger Johnson on Tuesday.
For more details on the proposal, including a summary and more background, read the original docket.
© Northern Ag Network 2011
Haylie Shipp, Russell Nemetz & John Walton