Spanberger Supports Bipartisan Bill to Ease Restrictions on Central Virginia Livestock Producers, Fights to Give Agriculture Industry a Voice in the Decision-Making Process

Earlier this Year, the Congresswoman Joined a Bipartisan Effort to Address the Negative Impacts of Federal Trucking Regulations on Livestock Haulers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced her support for a bipartisan bill that would give livestock producers the opportunity to share their concerns about updated federal electronic logging device (ELD) regulations. The bill would also delay enforcement of the ELD rules until reforms are proposed.

The bipartisan Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act would help provide flexibility to livestock producers and truckers by establishing a working group at the U.S. Department of Transportation to examine proposed Hours of Service (HOS) and ELD regulations. These restrictions could have significant impacts on farmers’ bottom lines, the health of their livestock, and their ability to ensure motorist safety.                                                                                        

Spanberger’s support for the bipartisan bill is part of her efforts to ease federal restrictions that negatively impact Central Virginia crop and livestock producers. In April, Spanberger joined a bipartisan effort to delay implementation of ELDs for commercial vehicles transporting livestock, plants, and other perishable goods.

“As I speak with livestock producers across our district, I consistently hear about the unintended consequences of one-size-fits-all federal regulations on the farm economy. We need to mitigate the adverse effects of burdensome restrictions on transporters—and that process starts with an honest, open dialogue about how we can safely reduce unnecessary stops and delays during the hauling process,” said Spanberger. “Our bipartisan legislation would provide much-needed certainty to ag businesses, small trucking companies, and producers. By making sure producers have a seat at the discussion table, we can move forward on regulatory reforms that don’t stifle the growth and success of our rural communities. I’m proud to stand with our region’s livestock industry—and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’ll keep fighting to make their voices heard.”

The Spanberger-supported bill is endorsed by numerous farm organizations, including the Virginia Farm Bureau.

“Congresswoman Spanberger recognizes that livestock haulers have the unique and difficult task of ensuring both motorist safety and animal welfare during transport,” said Ben Rowe, National Affairs Coordinator, Virginia Farm Bureau. “These responsibilities are taken seriously, but ELD regulations and hours of service complicate this situation by imposing fixed time and distance limits on livestock haulers, rather than allowing them to do what is best for the animals’ health. The proposed delay would lessen the burden on Virginia’s livestock industry as it awaits the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s determination on more workable ELD and hours of service regulations.”

Specifically, the bipartisan bill would require the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group to identify how ELD regulations could obstruct the safe, humane, and efficient transport of livestock, insects, and other perishable commodities. Additionally, this working group would be tasked with developing guidelines and recommending actions to improve the secure transportation of livestock and other commodities. The group would include representatives from across the agricultural, trucking, and transportation industries.

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act  is also supported by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA), The American Horse Council, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and Greg Pence (R-IN-06).

BACKGROUND

In March, Spanberger heard directly from Central Virginia livestock producers in Amelia County about issues related to ELD rules. After hearing their concerns that the new ELD rules could put their cargo at risk, she joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in outlining her support for a provision in the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill delaying implementation of ELDs for one-year and providing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration time to make necessary adjustments to HOS rules.

Spanberger is a proud member of the House Agriculture Committee, where she serves as Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. Spanberger also serves as a member of the Committee’s Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee.

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