Sunday, July 31, 2011

More unnecessary government regulation

It seems like everyday I hear about some new regulation that will affect our life here on the farm. Different agencies dictating what we grow, what we don't grow, how we grow it, and where we can sell it. It is mind boggling. Those who don't farm cannot possibly comprehend the scale of these regulations. When I lived in the city I had no idea!

The latest shocking affront comes from the Department of Transportation (DOT) which has proposed new standards that would require all people operating farm equipment to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) - you know, the kind long-haul truckers must have - in order to operate any farming equipment EVEN ON THE FARM PROPERTY. The agency is going to accomplish this by reclassifying all farm vehicles and implements as Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs).

What does this mean to farmers? Anyone operating motorized farming equipment would need to pass the CDL test and keep the same logs and paperwork as long-haul truckers. This means things like hours worked and how far the vehicle traveled. Of course the DOT with their "we know better than you" wisdom fails to realize that most tractors don't have an odometer - they measure engine hours.

Not only is this ridiculous but its an invasion of privacy - they want this type of compliance for using farm equipment on your own private property. To what end? There is no purpose or benefit to all this extra paperwork and reporting. There is no public safety issue related to tired or unsafe drivers. I just cannot see the justification for it. But the outcome will be more burden and cost to farmers. And to some it may be the last straw.

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