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21 February 2010 - Farming Regulations get Tougher

I’m grateful to you, my readers, for keeping me posted on activities and events taking place in your part of the country. Very often, what you tell me leads to a ‘Samuelson Sez’, and that’s the case this week.

A farmer in Pennsylvania e-mailed me and said “there are some restrictions that will be put in place in Pennsylvania on March 1st. The restrictions and requirements will apply whenever farm trucks, farm tractors and other agricultural vehicles are used on any state or township road, including just crossing the road.”

These are the rules:

#1 - Anyone under 18 years of age will not be able to legally operate a farm tractor or truck, if the tractor or truck is pulling another vehicle, farm equipment or trailer, and the vehicles together weigh more than 17,000 pounds. This includes the farmer’s children.

#2- Medical certification required - Any driver on a public road of a farm tractor or truck will need to be medically tested and have a certificate declaring the driver to be physically qualified.

#3 - Driver’s Logs/Employer Recordkeeping required - Drivers of trucks or tractors towing implements or farm trailers will be subject to the same hours-of-service requirements of trucking companies. It will include minimum periods of ‘break time’, limits on hours driven between breaks, along with record keeping (commonly known as drivers’ logs). Farmers will be responsible for getting and keeping records of all the paperwork that federal regulations require trucking companies to keep and maintain.

#4 Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Required - this means farmers will be required to conduct pre-trip inspections and complete written post-trip reports on the functions of the vehicle’s safety equipment. Inspections and reports must be filled out each day the vehicle is used.

Again, all of the above rules apply if the combined weight of the tractor and towed equipment exceeds 17,000 pounds and if you are just crossing a state or township road! This is just what farmers and ranchers need…more paper work to produce food. The rules take effect in Pennsylvania March 1st and I would like to know if these rules are in effect or in the works for any other state. Let me hear from you at orion@agbizweek.com.

Whatever happened to common sense?

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.