U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined U.S. Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in a bipartisan effort to level the playing field for the transportation of agricultural products. The Agricultural Trucking Relief Act will expand the definition of an “agricultural commodity” to include horticultural and aquacultural products, promote consistency across all federal and state agencies, and ease regulatory burdens on the trucking industry. This bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
“With this legislation, Oklahoma farmers will no longer be forced to comply with some of the burdensome and unnecessary regulations they have had to deal with while transporting their products over the years,” Inhofe said. “Oklahoma is rightfully recognized as and benefits from being one of the nation’s leading transportation hubs—Oklahoma agricultural truckers are a big reason for this. I’ve long fought to reduce burdensome hours of service regulations and I am proud to introduce this today for the Oklahoma agricultural community. I will continue to fight in Congress to make it easier for them to get their jobs done.”
“Oklahoma Farm Bureau applauds Sen. Jim Inhofe’s recent decision to sign onto The Agriculture Trucking Relief Act,” Rodd Moesel, President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said. “As a horticulturalist myself, I’ve experienced firsthand the dramatic impact that trucking regulations can have on the health and wellbeing of our live plants and plant products. By further expanding the definition of ‘agricultural commodity’ to include horticulture, aquaculture and floriculture, the legislation ensures agricultural producers of all kinds can safely and efficiently transport our products to market.”
Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency responsible for administering agricultural trucking laws, excludes horticulture products, such as greenhouse, nursery, ornamental, and turfgrass sod, from the list of defined “agricultural commodities” under transportation rules. Expanding the definition of an agricultural commodity will relieve regulatory burdens on the trucking industry, while also streamlining rules across the FMCSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and all other federal and state agencies.
The Agricultural Trucking Relief Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 12, 2019 by U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (R-GA-08), Al Lawson (D-FL-05), Neal Dunn (R-FL-02), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05).
Click here for bill text.