What is in this article?:
- Two bills introduced to up amount of diesel fuel allowed to be hauled by agriculture sector employees without federal safety regulations kicking in.
- Would allow custom harvesters to move from 118 gallons to 1,000 gallons.
On the 1,000 gallon limit…
“The U.S. Custom Harvesters Association has been fighting for the 1,000 gallon limit for 20 years. This amount would be much more than many custom harvesters would use, for now. However, equipment continues to change and grow. Fuel is needed on a daily basis for combines, forage harvesters and tractors. Most combines hold approximately 250 gallons.
“A farmer currently has an exemption to haul up to 502 gallons of diesel fuel. The custom harvester is only allowed to haul up to 119 gallons.”
On how long it has taken to get traction on this issue…
“The legislation was only started this past spring.
“We’ve attempted anything and everything we could think of through the (PHMSA) and the (FMCSA). They listened to us for 20 years. We tried to create a pilot program, a rule-making change and other processes.
“Several of us went back to Washington, D.C., last spring and sat down with (U.S. Department of Transportation) officials. They finally just said ‘Look, we understand what you’re doing but we enforce the laws. If you want to change the laws, you’ll have to talk to the ones who make the laws.’
“So, that’s what we did. We finally found several (legislators) willing to create legislative wording. Senate Bill S.1288 was introduced … on June 28 and H.R. 2429 was introduced on July 6. … Both legislators have shown a true commitment to agriculture and realize this change in law would be a common sense fix to a burdensome regulation.”
Any idea when Congress might move on those?
“No. I’ve been told it’s unlikely that anything will happen very fast.
“They don’t think this will be passed by itself. It’s legislation that will probably have to be attached to a bigger bill like the transportation bill or the farm bill.”
Do you know how many custom harvesters there are in the United States?
“No. There are a lot of custom harvesters that, unfortunately, aren’t part of our group. U.S. Custom Harvesters has approximately 450 members.
“A typical crew is anywhere from two to four combines. Some have one combine and others have up to 30 combines. Members of the organization include custom forage harvesters and cotton harvesters. All harvesters will benefit from this law change.”
“We need people who are involved in agriculture to contact their senators and representatives today and ask them to support these bills by cosponsoring them. It’s very important.”