The Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act would help accommodate the seasonal spikes in transportation of food, fiber and other agricultural supplies by modernizing the agricultural exemption to the hours-of-service rules.
Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced the HAULS Act. The legislation would:
- Eliminate the requirement that ag and livestock hours-of-service (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
- Authorize a 150 air-mile exemption from HOS requirements on the destination side of a haul for ag and livestock haulers
“One year after COVID-19 began to disrupt daily life across the country, U.S. cattle producers continue to prove each day that they are committed to keeping grocery stores stocked with beef. Livestock haulers are a critical component of the beef supply chain and flexibility in livestock hauling regulations remains vital,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jerry Bohn. “NCBA strongly supports this bipartisan effort to provide livestock haulers with the flexibility they need to maintain the highest level of safety on the roads, transport livestock humanely, and ensure beef remains available to consumers.”
Current hours-of-service (HOS) rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and then require 10 consecutive hours of rest. When transporting livestock, there is a real need for further flexibility beyond the current hours-of-service. Unlike drivers moving consumer goods, livestock haulers cannot simply idle or unload their trucks when drive time hours run out without jeopardizing animal health and welfare.
“By expanding the agricultural exemption to trucking hours-of-service rules, Sen. Fischer’s HAULS Act of 2021 would greatly increase the rules’ usefulness for agricultural haulers across the country. Moreover, the bill’s addition of feed ingredients would clarify that agricultural products, such as soybean meal and distillers grains, are eligible for the agricultural exemption and create more certainty in the trucking rules,” said Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association.
Full text of the legislation is available here.