The Ag Exemption...a critical component of Agriculture

Agricultural Education Group

 

 

 

                   Working to support the transportation of American Agriculture

 
     
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Mission Statement

The Agricultural Education Group was established to protect and preserver the agricultural exemption to the hours of service rules contained in federal law. The exemption applies to companies that transport agricultural products and farm supplies during planting and harvest seasons, as determined by the states. The Law was enacted in 2005.  The AEG also advocates for safe and efficient agricultural transportation in Washington, D.C. and nationwide.

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Hours of Service - Press Release 10/1/2010 - See Updates

 

Why is the agricultural exemption necessary?

The agricultural industry of the United States is the largest user of freight transportation services in this country.

Because of the fragile and perishable nature of fruits, vegetables, livestock, and grains, transporting these products in a timely manner is an essential component of food safety.

Weather can delay planting seasons when snow or rain extends into the planting season.  A rainy Spring can cause a problem for farmers who cannot work the soil and plant because of wet fields.  That delay ultimately affects crop harvesting and can move that process into late fall and often into early winter.  Early frosts or unexpected snow during October and November can cause damage to crops before they can be harvested or processed. 

The delays and inefficiencies of loading and unloading at the point of pick up or delivery can also affect product quality.  Imagine growers waiting to plant strawberries, left in refrigerated trucks until field conditions turn right for all the strawberry plants to be planted. Then imagine ripe fields of strawberries waiting to be picked, packaged and shipped.  Imagine companies trying to pick up and deliver perishable food items in a timely manner.  For some farm products, such as milk, eggs, tomatoes and strawberries, overnight can be too long a delay to transport these products in a timely manner.

All of these issues can affect quality, quantity, and cost of our food supply.   Agricultural transportation of products and inputs such as

 fertilizer, pesticides, and farm machinery drive the cost and efficiencies of every sector of agriculture.  All together, transporting farm products represents one-third of all freight transportation in this country. Members of Congress must understand and recognize the

 

 need to continue the Ag Exemption as a way to maintain the existing efficiencies in the nation’s delivery of fresh foods.  Removing this vital exemption would be detrimental to the country’s food distribution systems, food processors. grocers, restaurants, and consumers would suffer.  Transportations specialists pride themselves on being able to deliver fruits, seafood, and grains from farms to markets before they spoil and perish, and farms want to provide quality food in a timely manner so that consumers get the freshest farm products possible.

 

 

 

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Lawmakers understand the importance of the agricultural exemption

 

 

Lawmakers acknowledged and agreed on the importance of this critical piece of legislation when the Transportation Bill was passed in 2005.  With the reauthorization of the Transportation Bill scheduled for later this year, our purpose is to ensure that the lawmakers continue to recognize the critical nature of this exemption and how it  relates to our safe food supply and our economy. 

AGRICULTURAL EXEMPTION. -- Section 229(a) (1) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (as added by section 4115 of this Act), is amended to read as follows:

The language concerning the definition of agricultural commodity, the definitions found in the definition section of The Emergency Livestock Act of 1988 (7 U.S.C. 1471), now apply.

The statutes were included in Section 395.1(K) of the Federal Motor Carrier regulations, and administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

 

 

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Publications and help with safety

The Ag and Food Transporter's Conference publishes the “Manager’s Guide to Safe Trucking During Agricultural Planting and Harvest Season”, just one example how companies continue to educate their drivers and fleet managers in the agricultural transportation industry.  This is just oneof the many  example of the numerous safety initiatives employed by the trucking industry.

 

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Facts  that matter

The number of people being fed in the United States is estimated to be 306,000,000 (over 300 million).

The number of farms in the United states is estimated to be 2,200,000 (over two million), with approximately 960,000 persons claiming farming as their principal occupation. 

That means that each farmer produces enough food to feed about 319 other people.  How close do you live to someone that produces food?  How long does it take to get  your food get to your plate?  Think about it!  How important is fresh food to your family or business?

How important is it to transport enough food to feed 319 people breakfast, lunch and dinner each and every day of every year?  Now, how many trucks do you think it  takes to move the food from the farm to the market for over 300 million people?

 

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