“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Those in ag industry circles are hoping this is the case as ramped-up transportation and trucking regulations have been bearing down on business. The Agricultural Trucking Relief Act (S. 2025) might help clear the path. The new piece of legislation introduced by Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) would clearly define agricultural commodities by aligning the definition used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with those used by the USDA and the EPA. In addition, the legislation would ensure horticultural products are treated fairly when enforcing hours of service rules and electronic logging device regulations.

AmericanHort President and CEO Ken Fisher released a statement regarding the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act.

“We applaud Senators Perdue and Merkley for introducing this bill to finally create a single, concrete definition of agricultural commodities that reflects the consensus of many government agencies and the needs of the entire agricultural industry,” Fisher said. “While horticultural products are treated as ‘agriculture’ when they are grown and when they are sold, transportation of our products is hampered when drivers and inspectors alike are forced to attempt to interpret the current ambiguous definition. This bill would correct that problem and place all agricultural goods, including horticultural products, on a level playing field and ensure prompt delivery to the consumer.”

S. 2025 is a companion bill to H.R. 1673, introduced in the House earlier this year by Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08). Current law does not specifically define which products are classified as “agricultural commodities” relating to transportation policy and regulatory compliance, leading to fragmented regulations across agencies.

Paul Rusnak is Senior Managing Online Editor for the U.S. Horticulture Group at Meister Media Worldwide, which includes Florida Grower, American Vegetable Grower, American Fruit Grower, and Greenhouse Grower brand titles. See all author stories here.

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