The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed a rule to reclassify all farm equipment as commercial vehicles. This proposed change would mean that anyone operating any piece of motorized farm equipment would have to have a CDL (commercial driver's licence), with all the resultant schooling, expensive licensing and insurance, and record keeping that those who drive 18 wheelers have. It would also mean that farm workers, from the farmer's 14 yr old kid who helps with baling hay, to the elderly farmer who no longer drives on public roads, could no longer operate farm equipment, even on their own property. Now just to be fair, the DOT is holding public hearings on this matter until today, August 1. But in my experience this really means they're going to do what they want but want to give the impression that they're listening to input from affected parties. However, just last week, a DOT opinion piece closed with this statement:
"Everyone in this Administration - from President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary LaHood on down - is committed to the long-term success of America's agricultural industry. In many ways, agriculture is the backbone of our economy - feeding hundreds of millions of Americans and billions more around the world. As the largest user of freight transportation in the nation, the agricultural industry is also one of USDOT's most important constituents. We hope that this comment period is the start of a new and productive relationship. We may not ultimately agree on every issue, but we will always listen - and do our best to help America's farmers succeed."
If this is helping farmers to succeed I'd hate to see what damage they could do if they were actually TRYING to hurt us. It is up to not only every farmer, from those with backyard gardens to those who make it their livelihood, as well as everyone who eats, to oppose this. If you think this doesn't affect you because you don't own any farm equipment, wait till the increase in costs is reflected in the increase in prices at the grocery store. To make a comment to the DOT, visit www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket site. Or you can fax your comments to 1-202-493-2251. To read more about this proposed legislation see http://www.theblaze.com/stories/agenda-21-update-family-farms-are-under-attack/
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