Trucking & Agriculture Commodity Letter Sent to Appropriators
A bipartisan Congressional letter was sent to the House Appropriations Subcommittee handling transportation issues last week, asking that the ‘agricultural commodity’ language from the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act be included in FY2021 appropriations bills. The effort, which was led by Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), yielded 33 signatures in total– 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats representing 15 states. Of note, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) was among the signatories.
The language would specifically include horticulture and floriculture in the “agricultural commodity” definition used for transportation policy. If included and passed into law, this would put the industry in a very positive position, allowing for peace of mind regarding use of existing hours of service exemptions, such as the agricultural exemption, as well as other regulations specific to agriculture.
In another positive development, the coalition fighting for a change to the agricultural commodity definition grew larger, with organizations such as United Fresh Produce Association and U.S. Apple Association joining the cause. In total, the measure was supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, AmericanHort, American Trucking Associations, Catfish Farmers of America, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Aquaculture Association, National Christmas Tree Association, the Turfgrass Producers International, United Fresh Produce Association, United Potato Growers of America, U.S. Apple Association, and Washington Winegrowers.