Livestock Groups Petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service Flexibility

Today organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.

“We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips,” the organizations wrote. The current requirements “place the well-being of livestock at risk during transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, particularly in rural communities across the country.”

The strong safety record of livestock haulers demonstrates their ability to ensure the well-being of both live animals and other drivers on the road. A 2014 analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that livestock haulers were underrepresented in truck-involved fatal crashes. Data cited in the petition also shows that, between 2013 and 2015, livestock haulers accounted for 6.6 percent of all commercial drivers but less than one percent of crashes involving large trucks.

Australia already implements rules for livestock haulers that focus on safety outcomes, not prescriptive limits. The petition encourages DOT to work with industry to develop and implement similar measures.

The petition was signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, and the National Aquaculture Association.

Source: NCBA Press Release

2016 Young Ag Couples Conference – Stockgrowers Delegate Nominations

We are looking for Young Stockgrowers interested in attending the 36th Annual Young Ag Couples Conference in Helena, January 13-16, 2016 at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel. Hosted by the Montana Department of Agriculture, the conference will explore contemporary issues facing family operated agri-business as well as development of leadership skills needed to survive in the cyclical economic climate of agriculture.

Montana Stockgrowers is able to nominate young ag couples to attend the conference each year. Couples selected to participate in the conference will have lodging and meal costs paid while in attendance. There will be a conference registration fee of $25 per couple.

To be eligible, couples should demonstrate leadership abilities and earn their primary living from farming, ranching, agribusiness, or other agricultural enterprises. Our age preference is 25-45 years of age. Due to funding restrictions, couples may only attend the conference once. If you have attended in the past, please let us know about your experience and nominate another young ag couple to attend.

To apply for the MSGA nomination, please submit a brief explanation of the following for you or a young ag couple you wish to nominate:

  • Description of the couple’s ag business/operation
  • Experience and educational background, community involvement, interest, hobbies, etc.
  • The couple’s vision for being leaders in the Montana agriculture community

Nominations and/or applications are due to the Montana Stockgrowers Association office no later than November 18, 2015, via mail to 420 N. California, Helena, MT  59601. Complete the electronic form below or click here to download the 2016 MSGA Young Ag Couples Nomination Form Submissions may also be emailed to ryan@mtbeef.org. For more information, contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420.

Nominations are now closed. Check back in October 2016.

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DOT Exempts Livestock from Hours of Service Requirement

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted a one-year exemption to the Hours-of-Service requirement for the transportation of livestock. The Hours-of-Service rules required all commercial motor vehicle operators, including livestock transporters, to take a 30-minute rest break for every eight hours of service. This is in addition to all scheduled stops not counting time for refueling and other breaks.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Victoria, Texas, cattleman, Bob McCan said the move alleviates many of the concerns of cattlemen and women as they face warmer temperatures this summer.

“This is great news for livestock producers and for the health of our herds,” said McCan. “As we come into summer, cattle producers have expressed concerns to the DOT that these rules would jeopardize the health and safety of our cattle. For over a year this has been a major priority for the NCBA and our members, but we will continue to urge DOT to make this exemption permanent. This exemption is a common-sense move that keeps our herds and our nation’s highways safe.”

The hours of service exemption will be effective immediately. More information can be found on the DOT website here.

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The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America’s cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or membership@beef.org.

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