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National Grange applauds USDOT decision to uphold states' rights

By National Grange Press Release via PRLog (8/17/11)

  AUGUST 21, 2011 --

On Wednesday, August 17, Ed Luttrell, President of The National Grange commended the decision by USDOT regulators to listen to opposition from the Ag community and refrain from imposing new regulations on the transport and operation of agricultural equipment.   

“We are very pleased that the USDOT listened to America’s farmers and ranchers,” Luttrell said, after more than 1,700 individuals and organizations submitted comment on the inquiry posed by the USDOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) listed in the May 31 federal register. The request for comment, which probed the public opinion on several issues, included whether farm equipment operators should obtain commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) if they used public roads. 

“Such operators are currently exempt by USDOT policies and efficiently regulated by state departments of transportation,” Luttrell said. “Being able to safely get crops and workers to and from market are more important to farmers and ranchers, than anyone else. Their livelihoods depend on it. Had USDOT imposed new rules related to the day-to-day operations and transport of crops and equipment on those in rural America, especially farming and ranching communities, it would have added burdens to an already overregulated industry without offering additional safety.” 

The Department of Transportation Office of Public Affairs, responded to the sea of comments on August 10, by saying the office had “no intention of instituting onerous regulations on hardworking farmers.” More specifically, that “after considering the public comments, the Agency has determined that farmers who rent their land for a share of the crops and haul their own and the landlord’s crops to market should have access to the agricultural CDL exemptions given by the states. The FMCSA has [also] determined that most States have already adopted common sense enforcement practices that allow farmers to safely move equipment to and from their fields.”   

Established in 1867, the National Grange has more than 200,000 members in 2,700 communities throughout 40 states of the United States. The organization meets annually to develop its legislative policy for the coming year, and to recognize the talents of its members. This year, the national convention will be held Nov. 8 to 11 in Tulsa, Okla. For more information on the National Grange, its legislative policies and programs, please visit www.nationalgrange.org.

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