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December 16, 2020

Interim rule on ag trucking regulations causes concern

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published an interim final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The rule would include live chickens, cows and hogs in the definition of agricultural commodity, making live-haul trips exempt from current HOS rules. Frozen product is not included within the definition of an agricultural commodity. FMCSA began the rule-making process in 2019, releasing a proposed rule for public comment. However, after the COVID-19 national emergency was announced on March 13, 2020, FMCSA provided an Hours of Service National Emergency Declaration on April 8 that expanded the exemption to HOS rules during the emergency. This declaration was extended on May 13, July 13, Aug. 11 and Sept. 11, 2020. The interim final rule would make these changes permanent. Read more