Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, with the backing of the Illinois delegation, intervened today with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation to overturn potential regulations that would require farmers to get commercial drivers' certification and otherwise fundamentally change the way farmers operate their business.
IDOT has interpreted regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration to mean that crop-share tenant farmers would be classified as "for-hire carriers," triggering costly and time-consuming commercial licensing requirements.
IDOT has also interpreted MCSA regulations to apply to "implements of husbandry," meaning any farm vehicles could not be driven on farm-to-market roads carved out of the prairie generations ago for the express purpose of getting crops to market.
"The consequences of these regulations, if allowed to stand, are mind-boggling," Rep. Johnson said. "They arise from a complete lack of understanding of the agriculture industry. The Illinois Farm Bureau has said the efficiency of modern crop production would be brought to its knees. I stand with the Farm Bureau in doing everything within my power to stop this latest form of Big Brotherism in its tracks.
"This kind of regulatory intrusion is unnecessary at any time, but in this fragile economy and at a time when the world is more dependent than ever on efficient American agriculture, this intrusion is unthinkable," Rep. Johnson said.