This week Reps. Angie Craig (MN) and Lloyd Smucker (PA) introduced legislation that would give farmers and ranchers more flexibility when transporting live animals and perishable goods.
The Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination Act (H.R. 4919) would make it possible for drivers hauling live animals and perishable goods to finish their routes if they are within 150 air miles of their destination. Additionally, the bill allows this exemption to be utilized year-round rather than only during harvesting seasons.
“I’ve heard about the unique challenges farmers in my district face when transporting livestock, and the burdensome regulations that stand in the way of their businesses,” says Craig. “This common-sense bill would allow agricultural haulers bringing livestock back to their farms to drive the hours and distances that make sense for them and their farms, and I’m proud to be leading this effort that is so critical to so many Minnesota farmers.”
“This legislation is a big win for Pennsylvania and its sprawling agriculture community, especially our dairy sector which moves milk over long distances. For too long, haulers have been at the mercy of an overly burdensome hours of service requirement. That’s why I’m introducing this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Craig that will bring necessary relief to our farmers. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it is my hope that this commonsense legislation is brought up for a vote and adopted,” says Smucker.
The bipartisan original cosponsors include Reps. Bob Gibbs (OH), John Garamendi (CA), Doug LaMalfa (CA) and Cindy Axne (IA).
The TREAD Act is supported by the National Pork Producers Council. Similarly, NPPC supports the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposal to increase flexibility for truckers, including livestock haulers. The Hours of Service of Drivers proposal revises rules around the amount of time truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. In its recently submitted comments on the proposal, NPPC urged the agency to allow for other time splits for livestock haulers and eliminate the distinction between on-duty and driving time, among other suggestions.