FMCSA Seeks Guidance on Agricultural Commodities

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After a two-year effort to urge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to address the opaqueness of the “agricultural commodity” definition used for transportation policy, the agency has finally issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking public comment on what should be considered an “agricultural commodity.”

Via a press announcement on July 29, both Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue noted the need for clarity on the definitions.

“The current regulations impose restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in the release. “We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Chao on revising these regulations.”

This is quite a development, as AmericanHort has been consistently pressing the agency to address this issue for the horticulture industry through letters from Congress, the introduction of legislation to fix the problem, as well as previous comments on proposed rules.

In addition to the agency putting potential changes in motion, efforts will continue to drive support for the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act in both the Senate and the House. The issue and corresponding legislation will be a main focus of the Impact Washington Summit in September.

The ANPRM comment period ends September 27. AmericanHort is collaborating with other organizations and will be filing extensive comments on behalf of the industry to show that nursery and floriculture production must be included in the definition. Look for a call to action on this issue in the coming weeks.

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