A petition calling for greater hours of service for livestock haulers is expected to be published in the Federal Register today after a shutdown-induced delay. Allison Rivera, executive director of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, tells Agri-Pulse the petition was submitted to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in June. Six groups, including NCBA, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Livestock Marketing Association, all signed on to the request for a 16-hour work day for livestock haulers, 15 hours of which could be spent driving. The hours would then reset after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Rivera says the explanation for the original delay was a backlog of petitions due to weather disasters that led to an influx of requests. Publishing of the petition will trigger a 30-day comment period on the petition itself. In the meantime, Rivera said the focus will shift to Capitol Hill to ensure current exemption language included in spending bills is maintained in any potential deal to avoid a government shutdown at the end of next week. Nothing is a guarantee, but she said “when you talk about animal welfare, it doesn’t matter if you have an R or a D next to your name, most people understand that.”
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