The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clarified the final rule for agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
According to the Federal Register, “Under current regulations, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, from the source of the commodities to a location within 150 air miles of the source, during harvest and planting seasons as defined by each State, are exempt from the HOS requirements. Furthermore, the HOS requirement for a 30-minute rest break does not apply to drivers transporting livestock in interstate commerce while the livestock are on the commercial motor vehicle.”
The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) issued a statement on the final rule, stating the definition of “non-processed food” could lead to “inconsistent roadside enforcement for transporters of beef and meat products.”
USCA Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker stated the final rule is stricter, as it excludes frozen food from the HOS exemption and the only way to prove it is not frozen would require breaking the seal and opening the boxed meat. “These definitions and regulatory changes will impact each and every driver hauling boxed beef and trim. As a producer or livestock hauler, you cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while these discussions are happening,” said Hilker.