Soto, Rose Introduce Bipartisan Legislation for the Safe Transport of Agriculture and Livestock Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) and Congressman John Rose (TN-06) introduced the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act, bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed flexibility to livestock and agriculture haulers. Specifically, this bill would help accommodate seasonal spikes in the transportation of agricultural product by modernizing the agricultural exemption to the hours-of-service rules.
"The Central Florida economy would not survive without the hard work and dedication of our agriculture and livestock haulers,” said Congressman Soto. “I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort that considers the unique challenges they face and provides necessary accommodations for them to deliver their products to millions of families in our community."
"As an eighth-generation farmer in Middle Tennessee, I know how critical livestock and agriculture haulers are to keeping grocery stores’ shelves stocked with produce and meat,” said Congressman Rose. “Even in the wake of COVID-19, our farmers and livestock producers have been working non-stop to keep food on the tables of Americans. However, federal regulations do not take into account the special challenges involved in moving certain products. Haulers are a critical component of the supply chain and I’m proud to introduce this legislation to provide them the flexibility they need to deliver food across the country safely and efficiently.”
"Livestock haulers need more flexibility, and the HAULS Act represents a step in the right direction — an extension of a current ag exemption to the existing hours-of-service regulations that preserves animal welfare as well as safety on our roads, while also making sure producers can keep our grocery stores stocked with beef,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President, Jerry Bohn.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service (HOS) requirements limit the time a commercial motor vehicle driver may be on duty to 14 hours and driving to 11 hours. However, agriculture and livestock haulers face unique circumstances due to the perishability of their products. Although this group has received exemptions in the past, they still face many challenges. The HAULS Act updates the agriculture and livestock HOS exemptions to ensure haulers have the flexibility they need to deliver their perishable products.
The HAULS Act would:
- Eliminate the requirement that ag and livestock HOS exemptions only apply during state designated planting and harvesting seasons.
- Amend and clarify the definition of “agricultural commodities” based on feedback provided by agriculture and livestock organizations.
- Authorizes a 150 air-mile exemption from HOS requirements on the destination side of a haul for ag and livestock haulers.
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NB) has introduced this legislation in the Senate.
Full text of the legislation is available here.