A bipartisan Senate bill would require the Department of Transportation to take a look at the impact hours of service and electronic logging device regulations would have on the agriculture industry. 

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act would create a working group of DOT, Department of Agriculture, and ag and transportation industry officials to focus on guidelines to reform existing HOS and ELD language on the trucking of farm goods. The ag industry has expressed concern about existing language, especially for truckers hauling live animals that would be unable to pull over or rest without presenting an animal welfare risk. 

Appropriations riders have kept the ELD language from being enforced on ag truckers since it was rolled out, and the industry has sought broader legislative relief ever since. Sen. John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican and the top GOP member of the Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee, said the bill “builds on our efforts, establishing a process to address unnecessary burdens under these regulations and advance reforms based on the input of agriculture producers, while also ensuring roadway safety is maintained.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is the bill’s lead Democrat. In a statement, he said “it is important that we maintain safe roads while also recognizing the unique flexibility needed to move Colorado’s agricultural products to markets.”

In addition to Hoeven and Bennet, the legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, James Risch, R-Idaho, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

The bill also has the backing of several ag industry groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council.

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