From his perch on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who worked for three and a half decades as a large animal veteran before winning a congressional seat in 2012, is leading the charge on Capitol Hill to help livestock haulers.
This week, Yoho rounded up more than 50 members of Congress to send a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, urging it to support a “petition to provide a waiver from certain Hours of Service (HOS) rules for livestock haulers.” Other organizers of the letter included U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
Yoho made the case for his proposal on Wednesday.
“The safe transportation of livestock is an essential part of feeding America; this petition would modify the current regulations so we protect the safety of both haulers and livestock in route to their final destination,” Yoho insisted. “I want to thank Congressman Peterson, Congressman Marshall, and all my colleagues who lead this bipartisan letter in support of the petition to provide relief for livestock haulers.”
“From an animal safety perspective, it is important to transport these animals from point a to point b with minimal interruption. That’s why both the American Farm Bureau Association,the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association are in support of this letter,” the congressman’s office noted.
Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, went to bat for Yoho’s proposal.
“When livestock and other live animals are transported, it’s important to get them to their destination safely and without delay or disruption,” said Duvall. “Safety for the driver and others on the road is a priority. That is why we are petitioning DOT to adopt modern fatigue-management practices that provide the same or greater level of safety while avoiding unintended and unnecessary stress on the animals entrusted to our care. We greatly appreciate Reps. Yoho, Peterson, Marshall and the other members of Congress who wrote DOT in support of the petition.”
“We’re very thankful to Congressmen Yoho, Peterson, Marshall, and others for helping lead the effort to bring some common sense and flexibility to the Hours of Service rules that govern livestock haulers,” said Kevin Kester, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We hope that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sees the support of many Members of Congress from across the United States for this petition, and recognizes the need for flexibility. We look forward to continuing our work to deliver more flexibility for haulers while maintaining a very strong safety record for fellow highway travelers.”
“Cattle are no longer trailed thousands of miles, on the hoof, to railheads and processing centers. They are trucked to their destinations by dedicated individuals who have the safety of their cargo and other motorists as a paramount concern.” said Alex Johns, the president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. “All cattle ranchers are impacted by hours of service regulations, however in my home state of Florida that impact is huge. Simply due to our geographical location in respect to much of our industry’s infrastructure, we on the peninsula are at the greatest risk of inflexible regulations preventing us from getting our cattle safely and efficiently to their next destination. I applaud the efforts of those congressmen, from many states, who have urged FMCSA to give fair consideration to the petition filed by NCBA and other industry groups.”