Letter

Dear Member of Congress:

The undersigned organizations thank you and your staff for the countless hours of work and dedication you are collectively contributing to address the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The farmers, ranchers, food and beverage manufacturers, processors, package suppliers and agricultural product marketers that make up 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 you to join Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) in sponsoring the FARM to TABLE Act that assists our nation’s agricultural suppliers, producers, and transporters.

Federal law currently provides an exemption from federal hours of service rules for the transportation of agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius from the source of the commodities, during planting and harvesting periods, as determined by the State.

While the majority of states have year-round planting and harvesting periods, allowing for a consistent application of the exemption, 15 states have chosen to narrowly define their planting and harvesting seasons. These varying regulations create confusion as to what rules a driver is operating under at any given time. Additionally, the current narrow definitions unnecessarily inhibit industries, such as dairy, livestock and agricultural inputs, which transport their supplies year-round.

The FARM to TABLE Act which will simplify the exemption for agricultural commodities by eliminating the state by state planting and harvesting period definition and allowing the exemption to apply year-round. Additionally, the bill provides greater transparency by defining an “agricultural commodity” with respect to the federal hours of service rules exemptions. The definition in this legislation would provide clarity for truck drivers and is consistent with input proposed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by over 100 agricultural and trucking organizations last fall.

As COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated, a reliable food and fiber supply chain is critically important to meeting the needs of families across the nation. This commonsense legislation will provide relief to the agricultural producers and their drivers who have worked tirelessly to feed America during this crisis.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request to co-sponsor the FARM to TABLE Act. If you have questions or would like to register your support for this bill, please contact Libby Callaway in Rep. Joyce’s office at Libby.Callaway@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Agribusiness Association of Iowa

Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference

Agricultural Retailers Association

Agriculture Transportation Coalition

American Cotton Shippers Association

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Forest & Paper Association

American Honey Producers Association

American Seed Trade Association

American Sugar Alliance

California Grain and Feed Association

Consumer Brands Association

Corn Refiners Association

Cotton Warehouse Association of America

Grain and Feed Association of Illinois

Hardwood Federation

Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association

Kansas Grain and Feed Association

Michigan Agri-Business Association

Minnesota Grain and Feed Association

Missouri Agribusiness Association

National Aquaculture Association

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Barley Growers Association

National Cotton Council

National Cotton Ginners Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Grain and Feed Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Oilseed Processors Association

National Pork Producers Council

National Potato Council

National Sorghum Producers

National Sunflower Association

Nebraska Grain and Feed Association

North American Millers’ Association

North Dakota Grain Dealers Association

Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance

Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Pacific Northwest Grain and Feed Association

Pet Food Institute

Renew Kansas Biofuels Association

Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association

South Texans’ Property Rights Association

South Texas Cotton & Grain Association

Southwest Council of Agribusiness

Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance

Tennessee Feed and Grain Association

Texas Corn Producers Association

Texas Deer Association

Texas Grain and Feed Association

Texas Irrigation Council

Texas Poultry Federation

Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association

The Fertilizer Institute

The National Grange

United Fresh Produce Association

USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council

USA Rice

U.S. Canola Association

U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

U.S. Dry Bean Council

Wisconsin Agri-Business Association Council World Pet Association

Date Sent:

June 9, 2020

Sender:

Coalition Group

Recipient:

U.S. House of Representatives

Subject:

Federal hours-of-service rules

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