WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and chairman of the subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, released the following statement today after introducing the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act:
“Ag and livestock haulers are essential to ensuring Nebraska food and fuel make it across the country. Their vital work has been further highlighted by their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to introduce the HAULS Act, which builds on my previous work to ensure ag and livestock haulers can continue feeding our nation,” said Senator Fischer.
“Nebraska plays an integral role in the U.S. beef production chain as a top state for commercial cattle slaughter, all cattle on feed, commercial red meat production, and livestock cash receipts. Unfortunately, current federal regulations fail to account for the intricacies involved with hauling live animals. The HAULS Act would help mitigate situations where a hauler is forced to choose between compliance with federal law or the health and welfare of the livestock on board. Nebraska Cattlemen sincerely thanks Senator Deb Fischer for her commitment to delivering needed regulatory flexibility for livestock haulers by helping facilitate longer hauls that are inherent to cattle production in our state,” said Ken Herz, president of Nebraska Cattlemen.
“Going back to her days in the Nebraska Legislature, Senator Fischer has been a long-time champion of a common-sense approach to transportation rules and regulations. The HAULS Act provides needed regulatory relief to our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and ag haulers. We appreciate the introduction of this important piece of legislation, and we stand ready to work with Senator Fischer to ensure it becomes law,” said Stephen D. Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation.
"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. 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 Senator Fischer for her continued work and recognition of the needs of our producers and haulers,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Marty Smith.
“AFTC applauds Senator Fischer on her introduction of the HAULS Act of 2020. This language provides the ag community with continued flexibility during the busiest times of the year, while expanding uniformity and clarity for the transportation of our nation’s ag products,” said Jon Samson, Executive Director of the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference.
“Nebraska Grain and Feed Association thanks Senator Deb Fischer for her leadership and introduction of these three important incremental changes in the Senate Bill 4720, Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2020. For Nebraska, the addition of feed ingredients, such as soybean meal and distillers grains, to the agricultural products definition benefits the transport of agricultural products providing more consistency and efficiency which benefits the consumer. The Association supports these changes and believes these changes will help the seasonal transportation spikes of food, fiber and other agricultural supplies,” said Kristi Block, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Grain and Feed Association.
The HAULS Act 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
Full text of the legislation is available here.