Cooperatives relieved at
Cooperatives will be able to breathe a bit easier this harvest season as President Obama is expected to sign the Surface Transportation Bill passed by Congress that includes language to clarify the agricultural hours-of-service exemption.
For farmers and their cooperative suppliers, the hours-of-service exemption for farm supply shipments is an acknowledgment that there are significant delivery constraints beyond their control.
Without the clarifications to the exemption, cooperatives are almost certain to run short of agricultural inputs during key planting and harvest times.
In the past, Cooperative Network has sought numerous emergency declarations from governors of both Minnesota and Wisconsin to lift the hours-of-service rules to assure that farmers could care for and harvest their crops within the limited windows of opportunity dictated by weather conditions.
With this change, there will be no further need to seek such declarations.
"The Minnesota and Wisconsin cooperative community is very pleased by passage of this very important legislation. This will stabilize anhydrous ammonia and other agricultural supplies at a time when demand is high and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) played instrumental roles in ensuring this got done," said Bill Oemichen, president and CEO of Cooperative Network.
Many agricultural supplies are delivered on a "just-in-time" basis. For example, when demand is high, anhydrous ammonia supplies can be tight - as was the case in recent years.
Unnecessary trucking regulations can further reduce supply, which this federal legislation addresses.
Specifically, the legislation clarifies that all movements of farm supplies throughout the distribution chain are covered, including wholesale shipments, and expands the existing 100 air-mile radius to 150 air-miles.
Moreover, it will not matter if the shipment is interstate or intrastate.