A new bill concerning much-needed flexibility for livestock haulers was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. John Rose (R-TN-06) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL-09), is a companion to S.792, which the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) worked on to get introduced.
According to NCBA, the HAULS Act would add a 150 air-mile radius exemption under HOS regulations to the backend of hauls for those transporting livestock or agricultural commodities. This legislation also eliminates the seasonal harvest requirements for the agriculture HOS exemption (making the exemption available year-round in all states), and updates and clarifies the definition of an agricultural commodity.
“In times of crisis and in times of normalcy, livestock haulers are a critical part of the supply chain keeping grocery stores stocked with beef. The full year of disruption due to COVID-19 has only underscored the need for further flexibility in livestock hauling regulations,” said NCBA President Jerry Bohn. “NCBA is encouraged by the bipartisan and bicameral support for this commonsense legislation. Livestock haulers don’t need more regulatory hoops to jump through – they need the freedom and flexibility to continue transporting animals safely and humanely.”
Current hours-of-service (HOS) rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and then require 10 consecutive hours of rest. NCBA notes when transporting livestock, there is a real need for further flexibility beyond the current hours-of-service. Unlike drivers moving consumer goods, livestock haulers cannot simply idle or unload their trucks when drive time hours run out without jeopardizing animal health and welfare.