HAULS Act would provide livestock haulers flexibility from Hours-of-Service rules.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

October 2, 2020

2 Min Read
Bill introduced to offer livestock haulers relief

Sen. Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) recently introduced legislation that would provide greater flexibility in the transportation of livestock and livestock feed. The Haulers of Agriculture & Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act addresses the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules, which govern the amount of time commercial truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives.

The HAULS Act would: (1) eliminate the requirement that agricultural and livestock HOS exemptions apply only during state-designated planting and harvesting seasons, (2) amend and clarify the definition of “agricultural commodities” to include livestock and animal feed based on feedback provided by agriculture and livestock organizations and (3) authorize a 150 air-mile exemption from HOS requirements on the destination side of a haul for agricultural and livestock haulers.

The National Pork Producers Council said it strongly supports the legislation and has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on HOS waivers for the transportation of livestock and livestock feed. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended its COVID-19 emergency declaration for HOS waivers through the end of the year, ensuring the continuity of the U.S. pork supply chain. 

Related:DOT updates trucking Hours of Service rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) also applauded the introduction of the legislation.

"For years, livestock haulers and producers were unduly burdened with Hours-of-Service regulations that do not take into account the unique difficulties that these drivers face every day," NCBA president Marty Smith said. "The COVID-19 pandemic has only further illustrated how important it is to allow these drivers to quickly and safely reach their destinations and, in turn, keep grocery store shelves stocked with beef. Thank you to Sen. Fischer for her continued work and recognition of the needs of our producers and haulers."

American Sheep Industry Assn. president Benny Cox said, “America’s sheep producers rely on safe and efficient transportation to get livestock from the farms and ranches across the country to the limited geographic areas where they can be processed. Sen. Fischer’s legislation allows producers like myself to continue to keep the supply of fresh American lamb running while ensuring the safety and welfare of our sheep and lambs during transport. The American Sheep Industry Assn. thanks Sen. Fischer for her efforts to promote American agriculture.”

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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