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An additional 90-day waiver from the electronic logging device rule for agriculture-related transportation was approved today by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“Today’s ELD waiver is good news for our farmers and ranchers,” Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said. “This will help ensure that our ag products can get to market. Moving forward, we will continue working with our colleagues in the Senate and FMCSA to provide a solution that does not impose unworkable requirements, which threaten the safety of livestock while in transit.”

The waiver ensures drivers transporting agriculture products will not be forced out of service if they are still using paper logs to record their hours of service. 

“The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

"If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination," he said. "The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers.”

The ELD rule went into effect in December 2017, with the U.S. Department of Transportation granting the agriculture industry an initial exemption that was set to expire on March 18.  With the granting of another extension, the agriculture industry will now have additional time to comply.

“Livestock and produce haulers, farmers, and rodeo enthusiasts are rightfully worried about the new ELD rules, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has not done enough to clarify who will be exempted,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said. “A one-size-fits-all approach to regulations simply doesn’t work in rural America, and this rule clearly lacked input from those who stand to be impacted the most."

Transporters of livestock, honeybees and perishable produce that the new ELD rules could put their cargo at risk. The other options trucking companies have, rather than paying a second driver, is to find a place to unload the animals or allow them to stand in the truck while the driver sleeps

“In North Dakota, ranchers and recreational rodeo enthusiasts alike depend on our nation’s highways to move livestock to market and participate in rodeos across the region,” Heitkamp wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “As this rule has been implemented though, I have grown concerned about the lack of input agricultural and rural stakeholder groups have been able to provide during the rule-making process."

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City Editor