Letter

Dear Member of Congress:

The undersigned organizations write you today with a request to amend HR 2, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act). We appreciate the opportunity to provide input that impacts our nation’s agricultural sector. The farmers, ranchers, food and beverage manufacturers, processors, package suppliers and agricultural product marketers that comprise our memberships are dedicated to providing the safe, abundant and affordable food, fiber and feed required to ensure our country stays healthy and fed.

We respectfully request your support for a crucial amendment proposed by Rep. Mike Bost (IL). The amendment would strike “Sec. 4306. Hours of Service.”, language that focuses on unnecessary additional oversight, review and requirements for current and future exemptions to the hours of service rule. Many of these, including an original agricultural exemption (title 49, sec. 395.1(k)), have been in place for up to 35 years without issue. These exemptions are crucial in providing flexibility to our nation’s agricultural suppliers, producers, and transporters.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency granting and overseeing these exemptions, has an arduous process in place to properly vet those applying for the exemptions (title 49, sec. 381). When an individual or group applies for an exemption or waiver, they are required to submit a checklist full of items for review, including statistics showing their operation will be as safe or safer whilst utilizing the exemption. In addition to the laundry list of requirements put forth by FMCSA, a public notice on the exemption is published in the Federal Register for at least 30 days for public comment. Upon completion of the comment period, the Agency then has another opportunity to deny or alter the exemption prior to finalizing it.

The proposed language in the INVEST in America Act would not only duplicate efforts currently being done by FMCSA, it would add several additional levels of requirements and scrutiny to a process that has worked safely and efficiently for years. At a time of limited resources and an uncertain economy, the last thing we need to do is encumber our agricultural sector with changes to a process that has proven safe and fair for decades.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request to support Congressman Bost’s HOS amendment.

If you have questions, please contact Mark Ratto in Rep. Bost’s office at mark.ratto@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference

Agricultural Retailers Association

Agriculture Transportation Coalition

American Beekeeping Federation

American Beverage Association

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Forest & Paper Association

American Honey Producers Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Sheep Industry Association

American Soybean Association

Cotton Warehouse Association of America

Equipment Dealers Association

Hardwood Federation

International Dairy Foods Association

Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

Leather and Hide Council of America

Meat Import Council of America

National Aquaculture Association

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Barley Growers Association

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

National Corn Growers Association

National Cotton Council

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Grain and Feed Association

National Grange

National Milk Producers Federation

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Pork Producers Council National Potato Council

National Sorghum Producers

National Sunflower Association

North American Meat Institute

North American Millers’ Association

North American Renderers Association

Southwest Council of Agribusiness

Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance

The Fertilizer Institute

United Dairymen of Arizona

United Fresh Produce Association

USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council USA Rice

U.S. Canola Association

U.S. Dry Bean Council Western Growers

Date Sent:

June 17, 2020

Sender:

Coalition Group

Recipient:

Members of Congress

Subject:

Transportation of agricultural goods

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