Beef groups support Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act | TSLN.com

Beef groups support Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on June 12 introduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, bipartisan legislation to reform the Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Further, the enforcement of the ELD rule would be delayed until the reforms required under the bill are formally proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Specifically, the Hoeven-Bennet bill would establish a working group at DOT to identify obstacles to the safe, humane and market-efficient transport of livestock and, within one year of the group's establishment, develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities. The working group will be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is required to consider:

The impact, incompatibilities and other challenges and concerns of existing HOS rules and ELD rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the commercial transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.

Initiatives and regulatory changes that maintain and protect highway safety and allow for the safe, efficient and productive marketplace transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.

“Improving highway safety is an important goal, but the rules we put in place must recognize the very real challenges faced by those who haul livestock and other perishable commodities. Our legislation would delay enforcement while ensuring that the HOS and ELD rules are reformed with the concerns of all impacted stakeholders taken into account. That means providing a permanent, flexible solution that both strengthens safety and ensures the humane transportation of livestock.” Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

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Other related issues that the Transportation Secretary considers appropriate.

Within 120 days of receiving the working group's report, the Transportation Secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.

"Improving highway safety is an important goal, but the rules we put in place must recognize the very real challenges faced by those who haul livestock and other perishable commodities," said Senator Hoeven. "Our legislation would delay enforcement while ensuring that the HOS and ELD rules are reformed with the concerns of all impacted stakeholders taken into account. That means providing a permanent, flexible solution that both strengthens safety and ensures the humane transportation of livestock."

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is supported by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) and the Rocky Mountain Farmer's Union (RMFU). Click here for statements in support of the Hoeven-Bennet legislation. The United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) appreciates the leadership of Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) in today's introduction of the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act. The legislation will establish a working group at the Department of Transportation tasked with reviewing the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, and corresponding Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations.

The working group, comprised of industry experts and members of the Administration, will submit a report one year after its formation that will recommend needed changes and clarification to the transportation of livestock in the U.S.

USCA Transportation Chair Steve Hilker commented on the bill's introduction, "This legislation will allow for the needed input and recommendations from both the livestock and transportation industries that were missing from the initial changes made to HOS regulations. The formation of a working group will allow workable and commonsense solutions to be presented, which will ensure safe transport of livestock and a path forward for both livestock haulers and the U.S. cattle industry."

"USCA will be on the Hill this week for our annual fly-in and a main focus will be in support of this bill. We look forward to working with both Senator Hoeven and Senator Bennet on moving this legislation forward and providing needed input on these regulations."

NCBA also supports the bill.

"The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the producers we represent are glad to see another bipartisan effort designed to provide much-needed relief for livestock haulers. The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to establish a working group to address the implementation of electronic logging devices and the overly-restrictive hours of service rules that livestock haulers face today. We look forward to continuing our work with members of Congress, industry groups, and the Department of Transportation as we work to find solutions to our current transportation concerns," said National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Kevin Kester.

–USCA, NCBA and Senator Hoeven news releases