AFR Insturmental in Farm Transportation Exemption
On Oct. 1, a new federal law easing the regulatory burden on agriculture producers transporting supplies and commodities took effect. American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) was instrumental in the beginning stages of the legislation and has continued to support the Oklahoma congressional delegation that introduced and sponsored the bills.
AFR congratulated the members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation who were instrumental in the success of this legislation and thanked Sen. Inhofe, Reps. Lankford and Boren, and former Rep. Fallin (now Gov. Fallin) for filing legislation that supports Oklahoma's agriculture industry
The new law is a part of a surface transportation measure that Congress recently approved. While the complete measure addresses several transportation issues, two provisions are of significant importance to the Oklahoma agriculture industry.
The first is an amendment that exempts farm trucks from some commercial vehicle regulations. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the amendment in the Senate, and Reps. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) introduced the Farmer's Freedom Act, into the House with identical language. Prior to the legislation, farm trucks were required to comply with commercial driver's license requirements when taking crops from farm to market. The issue was of particular concern when farmers had to cross state borders to get to the closest marketplace, possibly being ticketed in the process. The language in the amendment resolves the issue by providing a commercial driver's license exemption to farmers traveling within 150 air miles of their farm. AFR will be meeting with officials from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety regarding the implementation of the new law.
The second is an amendment that exempts farmers from the Hours of Service regulation when transporting crops from farm to market. Prior to this legislation, farmers and other agricultural operators could be required to comply with onerous rules that limited the amount of time they could drive because their farm trucks could be considered commercial vehicles. This amendment exempts farmers from the requirement when transporting crops or supplies from farm to market within 100 miles of their farm. This exemption applies only during the planting and harvesting season, as determined by the state, which is defined under Oklahoma state law as Jan. 1-Dec.31.
American Farmers & Ranchers was established in 1905, and is headquartered in Oklahoma City. AFR is actively supportive of Oklahoma's agricultural industry and rural population, and provides educational, legislative, and cooperative programs across the state. AFR also provides insurance products statewide, and is recognized as a leading domestic insurance carrier in the state of Oklahoma.