Archive for June 2011
Interview by Clint Misselhorn
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What a difference 95 degree temperatures and sunshine can make on what was a rain soaked Franklin County just 10 days ago. This week farmers have basically finished planting and were able to do so in dryer conditions that allowed even normally wet spots to be planted. The high temperatures and dry weather are hastening the coming wheat harvest which will probably begin early next week. The only problem is now the weather man is predicting rain all next week. Is there never an end to dealing with weather on a farm?
The Franklin County Farm Bureau board met last night and it was obvious that the dry weather and heat was having an adverse affect on each of their operations or could it be that we are all just tired…
This week I participated in a conference call with IAA officials concerning truck regulations. The law has not changed but the way officials are interpreting the law is changing. There are three areas that are important to farmers concerning this change in interpretation.
First – the definition of interstate and intrastate transportation has an effect on how a farmer will be required to register with the DOT. The law indicates that interstate transportation is not affected by many of the IDOT regulations because grain hauled under interstate rules is “grain that remains in the state of Illinois”. Intrastate is commerce that when a farmer delivers grain to an elevator and then that grain leaves the state – even though he does not own the grain – he is involved in intrastate commerce and has responsibilities for regulations with IDOT beyond the normal realm of interstate regulations. This rule has been validated in the court system and we are unable to change this action by IDOT.
Second – the issue of farm wagons being pulled by tractors has come under scrutiny by IDOT in which they are involved with intrastate commerce by hauling grain to a local elevator. Under this idea tractors and wagons would be required to have IDOT numbers and other requirements that farmers would find difficult with which to comply.
Finally – the issue of “for-hire” designation is being challenged by IDOT when a farmer has a “crop-share” agreement rather that a “cash-rent” agreement and they interpret the law of “crop-share” as a “for-hire” action. Even though we all know that farmers do not receive money for the hauling of that landlords grain.
Therefore, we are asking farmers who are affected by these issues to make comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the federal registry. Please call our office at (618) 435-3616 if you would like to make a comment and we can give your direction on how this can be done. This issue will affect virtually every farmer and we need farmers to respond and we will help you through the process.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can let us know.
Drier weather is allowing planting of crops and haying. Soil moisture conditions are as dry as any we have had this spring and the 90 degree temperature are causing crop to emerge and grow more rapidly. I believe that it is warm enough for sweet corn to germinate, which many gardeners have had trouble with this spring.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reviewing regulations for operation of certain farm vehicles and is seeking public comment on the interpretation of existing rules.
One of the proposals relates to a new interpretation of “for-hire carrier” rules and farmers with crop-share leases who truck their landlords’ share of the grain. Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson emphasized the need for Farm Bureau involvement: “It is important for the county Farm Bureaus and members to weigh in and state their case to get out points across on these issues and on the impact to agriculture.
On May 23 the FMCSA issued a public notice requesting comment on previously published regulatory guidelines on the distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce with regard to agricultural operations.
The notice also requested public comment concerning the distinction between private and for-hire farm vehicle operations and whether off-road farm equipment or implements of husbandry operated on public roads for limited distances are considered commercial motor vehicles.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation interpreted federal rules to mean farmers who truck their landlords’ share of grain would be considered “for-hire carriers” and no longer qualify for an agricultural exemption from having to obtain a CDL.
Another issue deals with implements of husbandry and the applicability of federal motor carrier safety regulations. IDOT has interpreted implements of husbandry to qualify as commercial motor vehicles under the federal regulations, subjecting them and their driver’s to all the regulations that apply to trucks and trailers.
I want to urge anyone who went through the audit process at the beginning of the year, anyone with crop-share agreements, or farmers who make short trips to the local elevator to contact us at 435-3616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible and work with us on submitting comments for the record. I have a conference call slated for this coming Thursday and would like to have some feedback from our local farmers.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.