Well, it appears I jumped the gun in the last issue. I reported that we had nailed a one-year delay for our bull haulers on the Electronic Logging Device regulations from the D.C. politicians. Wrongo…it appears as though my ignorance of how the political machine works is showing. I got the news this summer that the House had approved the delay in a vote, and everyone in the industry that worked to achieve it was really happy, so I ran with it. What I didn’t know is that it needed to get passed by the Senate, a vote, which, as we go to press, still hasn’t taken place. As it stands, any tractor with an engine that is 2000 or newer has to be fitted with an approved ELD before December 18 of this year. That’s a couple of months, folks, and that ain’t good.
What can you do to help the industry get this badly needed delay put in place so we can figure out our next move? Call your Senator’s office and let them know we need that ELD delay. If they don’t hear from you, they won’t pay us any mind. I never called a Senator or a Congressman/woman in my life before this issue, and I found it quite easy to do. Their offices are staffed by young, energetic and always helpful LA’s (Legislative Assistants) who graciously take your message and pass it up the chain of command. It was quite a surprise to find that the LA’s were not only cheery, but actually interested in what I had to say, and I found myself being reassured and almost calmed that our government offices were in such capable hands. It kind of reaffirms my faith in the good of this country. There are still young people who care. And, when I called Nevada Senator Pete Goicoechea and left a message, he called me back from the road not half an hour later. Reach out, they are ready to take your call.
Now, the good news is, we received clarification on the 150 air-mile agricultural exemption rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). For those of you in the know, the rule, which is part of the MAP-21 package we reported on a couple of years back, was not clear enough that it included “for hire”, meaning commercial bull haulers, in the exemption. We went back to the FMCSA and they gladly considered our concerns, which resulted in the following clarification:
The HOS regulations do not apply to the transportation of agricultural commodities operating completely within the 150-air mile radius by for hire or private carriers.
So, in a nutshell, this means that any bull rack, commercial or farm, can operate within 150 air miles (or approx. 175 road miles to make it easy) from the source of the load and be exempt from Hours Of Service regulations. Yes, that means no log books. However, if you venture outside the 150 air-mile radius, and your truck’s engine is year 2000 or newer, you need to have an FMCSA-approved ELD device installed and you must switch it on because you are no longer agriculture exempt (you also need to annote the exempt miles you spent in the 150 air-mile zone). The factsheet can be found here for download and printing on rain paper so each driver in the fleet can have one to present to Law Enforcement who may be confused about the scope of the exemption as it pertains to commercial “for hire” carriers, and it can also be found in full by turning to page 17 of this issue.
Our next challenge is to get all states to agree that Planting and Harvest season is year round for livestock. It’s currently all over the board for crops. We’re on it. I must add, Mr. Joe DeLorenzo, Director, Office of Enforcement and Compliance, and his team at USDOT / FMCSA were very courteous, pleasant and professional to work with…again, restoring my faith in the system and the dedicated, hard working individuals that keep the wheels turning. It’s not totally broken (the system, that is) but it definitely needs to be pressure washed and drug into the shop for a winter overhaul.
Secretariat was foaled in 1970 at Meadow Stud in Doswell, Virginia, not Bourbon County, Kentucky as presented in the Bloodlines column in the June July ‘17 issue.
FB page Fun
We’re always having a blast on our Facebook page every Friday, and a while back I got to thinking, “There’s all these emojis for your text messages, like a heart and a smiley face, but we don’t have any cowboy / rancher emojis for how our day is going”. So after posting that, I sat back and watched almost a hundred of these gems roll in…
Ummm honey, I broke the thingy on the doo-hickey emoji
Bloated cow emoji
Forgive me for what I said working cattle emoji
Tractor stuck in the mud emoji (wait, that really happened today have yet to get it out)
Don’t yell at me in the alley emoji
I’m too tired to cook emoji
Hunters cut the fence again emoji
Stepped in newborn calf poop emoji (that stuff sticks like glue)
Hay baler on fire emoji
Cow out the top of the squeeze chute emoji
Who forgot to shut the gate, cows in the corn again emoji
Backwards calf emoji
Finger bandaged with duct tape emoji
Hay on truck leaning precariously emoji
Too tired to sleep emoji
Drop the fb posts in here rotated
WR Radio Show
When Tigger Erhardt called me up out of the blue last year and said, “Mr. Obrien (that’s O’BYRNE I yelled back through the receiver, geez) you don’t know me, but I stole a copy of WR from the sale barn awhile back, and I like it so much that I want to make a radio show out of it”.
Here we are, 50 episodes later and coast-to-coast on SiriusXM Rural Radio channel 147, and several AM/FM stations in the awesome American Heartland. Tigger knows what he’s doin’, and I look forward to every week when he and I get together and he leads us off into another airwave adventure. Stay tuned.