Bipartisan Support from Congress Members on Livestock Hauling Petition

A petition from groups representing livestock haulers has the support of 59 members of Congress and could be a potential fix to hours of service regulations. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

A bipartisan letter was submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by members of Congress supporting a petition that would exempt livestock haulers from certain provisions of Hours of Service rules.

The petition letter was signed by 59 members of the House of Representatives including House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), and members Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

The petition asks for additional hours of drive time for livestock haulers to give more flexibility during long, cross country hauls. In exchange livestock haulers would receive additional training designed by FMCSA. The petition was originally submitted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), American Beekeeping Federation (ABF), American Honey Producers Association (AHPA), and National Aquaculture Association (NAA).

“Current hours of service regulations do not accommodate the unique needs of livestock haulers,” says Ranking Member Peterson. “This petition will allow them to deliver agricultural products to market more effectively while maintaining their proven record of safety.”

“The safe transportation of livestock is an essential part of feeding America,” says Congressman Yoho, who is also a veterinarian. “This petition would modify the current regulations so we protect the safety of both haulers and livestock in route to their final destination. I want to thank Congressman Peterson, Congressman Marshall, and all my colleagues who lead this bipartisan letter in support of the petition to provide relief for livestock haulers.”

“Livestock haulers across the country have the difficult task of ensuring motorist safety while also tending to the health and welfare of the animals transported,” says Congressman Marshall. “I was proud to support this petition that works to address a livestock haulers unique tasks, while also maintaining their strong safety record.”

On June 13, Rep. Yoho introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Peterson called the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act- H.R 6079. The bill was cosponsored by 48 Representatives, including Rep. Marshall.

“When livestock and other live animals are transported, it’s important to get them to their destination safely and without delay or disruption,” says Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Safety for the driver and others on the road is a priority. That is why we are petitioning DOT to adopt modern fatigue-management practices that provide the same or greater level of safety while avoiding unintended and unnecessary stress on the animals entrusted to our care. We greatly appreciate Reps. Yoho, Peterson, Marshall and the other Members of Congress who wrote DOT in support of the petition.”

“We’re very thankful to Congressmen Peterson, Yoho, Marshall, and others for helping lead the effort to bring some common sense and flexibility to the Hours of Service rules that govern livestock haulers,” says Kevin Kester, fifth-generation California rancher and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We hope that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sees the support of many Members of Congress from across the United States for this petition, and recognizes the need for flexibility. We look forward to continuing our work to deliver more flexibility for haulers while maintaining a very strong safety record for fellow highway travelers.”

“The members of the Livestock Marketing Association greatly appreciate the leadership of Representatives Yoho, Peterson, and Marshall,” says Tom Frey, President of the Livestock Marketing Association and owner of the Creston Livestock Auction of Creston, Iowa. “This bipartisan, cross-country showing of support of important changes to the livestock hauling regulatory framework demonstrates just how important flexibility for our haulers is.”

Additional comments were made by representatives of Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, National Aquaculture Association, American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation.

A copy of the letter is available by clicking here.

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