Ag, livestock redefined by FMCSA for HOS regs
Article from Truckers News
BY TRUCKERS NEWS STAFF
"The U.S. Department of Transportation will soon publish an interim final rule that clarifies agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in federal hours of service regulations to make enforcement of the regs more consistent. Specifically, the rule clarifies the definition of the terms “any agricultural commodity,” “livestock,” and “non-processed food,” as the terms are used in the definition of “agricultural commodity” for HOS regs.
For the definition of “livestock,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is keeping the current definition, but also expanding it to include insects and “all other living animals,” including aquatic animals. The definition of “agricultural commodity” is being clarified to include horticultural products at risk of dying or degrading during transport."
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"The United States Cattlemen’s Association’s Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker issued a statement following the release of the interim final rule:
“For several years, USCA has specifically requested FMCSA provide clear, consistent regulatory definitions for transporters of live animals and/or beef. Both are highly perishable commodities, and the lack of clarity surrounding these definitions has held up numerous drivers over the years facing errant roadside enforcement.
“The interim final rule issued today actually made current HOS regulations stricter, as it excludes frozen foods from current exemptions. There is no way for a driver to prove that a load they are carrying in a refrigerated truck is NOT frozen without risking rejection of the load by breaking the seal and opening the boxed meat.
“USCA’s Transportation Committee will meet in the days ahead to review our formal response to this interim final rule.”"
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"The existing definition of “agricultural commodity” that was adopted by Congress and used until now by FMCSA included “any agricultural commodity, non-processed food, feed, fiber or livestock.”
Under the interim final rule to be published in the coming days, “any agricultural commodity” will be defined as “horticultural products at risk of perishing, or degrading in quality, during transport by commercial motor vehicle, including plants, sod, flowers, shrubs, ornamentals, seedlings, live trees and Christmas trees.”"
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""FMCSA will now interpret “livestock” to include those animals, as well as “insects, and all other living animals cultivated, grown or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals.”
Finally, the agency also clarified the definition of “non-processed food” as follows:""
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"The interim final rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days and will take effect 15 days after it is published. FMCSA is asking for public comment on the revised definitions above, including answers to the following questions:"
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