Rep. Austin Scott Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Provide Relief to Agricultural Truckers
Thursday, March 14th, 2019
Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, released the following statement upon reintroducing the bipartisan Agricultural Trucking Relief Act (H.R. 1673). H.R. 1673 would provide clarity for the definition of “agricultural commodity” as it relates to transportation policy and compliance with new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and the Hours of Service (HOS) rules and regulations.
“Transportation carriers are vital to the movement of goods and services from coast to coast and everywhere in between, and our farmers depend on them to ensure that we are able to feed and clothe not only our country, but the world,” said Rep. Scott. “H.R. 1673 would more clearly define ‘agricultural commodities’ as applied to transportation laws, extending regulatory relief for all farm commodities including aquaculture, floriculture, and horticulture.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the main agency responsible for administering agricultural trucking laws, including new ELD and HOS rules and regulations. Currently, the “agriculture commodities” definition does not apply to all agricultural products, making it difficult for those that transport these commodities to comply with regulations.
H.R. 1673 would create a clearer “agricultural commodity” definition for FMCSA to use when implementing and enforcing ELD and HOS. Currently, horticultural products have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USAD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and numerous other federal and state agencies as an agricultural commodity. However, horticultural and aquaculture products such as nurseries, sod, turfgrass, and freshwater and saltwater aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms are not currently included in the “agriculture commodity” definition used by the FMCSA. H.R. 1673 would ensure that agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural, and floricultural commodities are clearly defined as “agriculture commodities” for use under the FMCSA.
Joining Rep. Scott as original co-sponsors of the bill include U.S Representatives Neal Dunn (R-FL-02), Al Lawson (D-FL-05), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05).
H.R. 1673 is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, AmericanHort, and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.