Pictured Above: Farrier David Kimbrough does not believe this bill will do anything to help farriers and other small businesses.

New legislation in the U.S. Senate aims to relax federal rules for transporting livestock, but it might not benefit the farrier industry.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act on May 23, 2018, according to a press release.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a mandate in December 2017 that required commercial vehicle drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to monitor the number hours they drive and to have a mandatory rest period of 10 hours after driving 11.

These rules sparked considerable backlash from the agricultural community with concerns that this mandatory rest period would harm livestock, especially during times of extreme heat and cold.

Sasse’s legislation would remove these regulations by doing the following:

  • Hours of service (HOS) and ELD will not kick in until the driver has traveled more than 300 miles.

  • Loading and unloading time will not count toward HOS.

  • The HOS would change to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours.

  • Drivers will have the flexibility to stop and rest at any point without effecting their HOS.

  • Drivers can complete their trip regardless of their HOS if they are within 150 miles of their destination.

  • When the driver finishes their delivery, they only need to take a break for 5 hours less than the maximum time that they were on-duty.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NFB) released a statement announcing their support for the the act.

“Sen. Sasse’s legislation will drive needed changes to ensure our transportation regulations reflect the ideals of modern livestock farming and transport that are founded in the principles of reducing animal stress,” says Steve Nelson, NFB president.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association was also supportive.  

“Hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling products like paper towels or bottles of water,” says Kevin Kester, NCBA president. “Live cattle can’t simply be left unattended in a trailer — especially in very hot or cold weather — for extended periods of time, and this bill takes that into account.”

However, Alabama farrier David Kimbrough does not see the benefit this bill has for farriers. He says that the act is a step in the right direction, but remains skeptical as to how much it will actually change things for concerned farriers.

“The issue is that it says nothing about small businesses, which is farriers,” he told American Farriers Journal. “It does not help with farriers at all. Farriers are tied to agriculture, and as a small business they can still be harassed by this bill.”