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Legislation Would Allow for Safe, Efficient Transport of Ag and Livestock Products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after additional Senate cosponsors signed on to her Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act, and bipartisan companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“I am pleased to see my bipartisan legislation gaining momentum in both chambers of Congress. Ag and livestock haulers play an important role transporting food and fuel across America. The HAULS Act will ensure that these haulers can do their critical jobs safely and efficiently.”

Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) have joined as cosponsors to the Senate HAULS Act, bringing the bipartisan bill to 16 cosponsors. A House companion was introduced by Representatives John Rose (R-Tenn.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.)

The legislation would:

  1. Eliminate the requirement that ag and livestock hours-of-service (HOS) exemptions only apply during state designated planting and harvesting seasons
  2. Amend and clarify the definition of “agricultural commodities” based on feedback provided by agriculture and livestock organizations
  3. 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.

Support for the HAULS Act:

“Nebraska plays an integral role in the U.S. beef production chain as a leading 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 William H. Rhea III, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.

“Farmers and ranchers must be able to get their crops and livestock to market efficiently and safely. The HAULS Act modernizes trucking regulations to meet the needs of our members. I applaud Senator Fischer for her leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with her to get the HAULS Act enacted into law,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau. 

“We thank Sen. Fischer for reintroducing the HAULS Act to provide much needed regulatory relief to our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and agriculture haulers. The efficient transport of livestock is critical to the agriculture sector and to the welfare of our livestock animals. Sen. Fischer has been a long-time champion of common-sense approaches to transportation rules and regulations. The HAULS Act reflects this common-sense approach by updating oversight of livestock transport to provide flexibility and better reflect the unique challenges that exist in hauling live animals. We stand ready to work with Sen. Fischer to enact this important legislation,” said Mark McHargue, President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“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.   NGFA commends Sen. Fischer for her leadership, and urges that her bill be incorporated into a reauthorization of the FAST Act,” said Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association. 

“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. NCBA strongly supports this effort, and thanks Sen. Fischer, Sen. Tester, Sen. Wicker, and Sen. Tina Smith for their bipartisan leadership on the issue. Congress must 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,” said Jerry Bohn, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“AFTC supports Senator Fischer in her reintroduction of the HAULS Act. The Senator’s tireless work on this important issue shows her deep understanding of the need for flexibility within the agriculture community. This legislation takes great strides in clarifying those covered under the exemption, while eliminating unnecessary restrictions on seasonality. Since the inception of the exemption in 1995, agriculture has evolved and this exemption has continued to evolve with it. We are grateful that we have a champion that understands, so well, an industry that feeds and clothes those around the world,” said Jon Samson, Executive Director of the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference.

“The LMA appreciates Sen. Fischer’s continued work on livestock transportation, which has been further advanced by the reintroduction of the HAULS Act. LMA member markets and the farmers and ranchers they serve need a long-term and meaningful solution to the lack of flexibility in this space. The HAULS Act goes a long way toward achieving that flexibility,” said Jara Settles, Livestock Marketing Association General Counsel and VP of Risk Mitigation.  

“The Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2021 couldn’t be re-introduced at a more needed time. The bill provides clarity with the addition of feed ingredients, such as soybean meal and distillers grains, to the agricultural products definition. Clarity keeps the transport of agricultural products moving when there are unforeseen bottlenecks with from Mother Nature and ‘Acts of God’ such as Nebraska’s 2019 floods, the pandemic, and the most recent utterly cold temperatures experienced in the Midwest halting some animal feed manufacturing. A stable and consistent food supply is needed by all and this bill helps better meet that need.  The Nebraska Grain and Feed Association supports these changes and thanks Senator Fischer’s leadership on this important food and transportation bill,” said Kristi Block, Executive Vice President of Nebraska Grain and Feed Association.