NCBA Delivers Introduction of House Companion HAULS Act
WASHINGTON (April 14, 2021) – Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) endorsed the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2021. Introduced in the House by Rep. Rose (R-TN-06) and Rep. Soto (D-FL-09), the bipartisan bill would deliver much-needed flexibility for livestock haulers. The House bill introduced this week is a companion to S.792, which NCBA worked to get introduced in the Senate last month.
“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. 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.
“Transporting live animals is not like transporting a truckload of toilet paper — and nobody knows that better than livestock haulers. When one-size-fits-all government mandates fail to account for expertise on the ground, haulers are put in the impossible position of either complying with regulations or doing what they know is best to humanely and safely complete their haul. The HAULS Act represents a step in the right direction — an extension of a current ag exemption to existing hours-of-service regulations that preserves animal welfare as well as safety on our roads, while also making sure producers can keep our grocery stores stocked with beef,” said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera.
This legislation is the latest of many steps NCBA has taken to win greater flexibility for livestock haulers and producers. Since the pandemic began, NCBA has successfully fought every month for a renewed emergency declaration which provides an exemption from hours-of-service for livestock haulers, while also working with Congress to maintain the ELD delay for livestock haulers until Sept. 30, 2021.
NCBA is also working with Congress to ensure that any infrastructure spending package reflects the unique needs of rural communities and agricultural producers.
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.