Viewing posts from: August 2016

USDA Announces Climate-Change Initiative to Support Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Land Owners

Posted August 25, 2016 by Administrator

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new climate change initiative aimed at supporting the nation’s farmers, ranchers and forest land owners. The initiative, Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry, is a comprehensive and detailed approach to issues related to climate change in the U.S. The goal of the initiative is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage and generate clean renewable energy. The USDA’s strategy is to implement best practices that are designed for working production systems that provide multiple economic and environmental benefits. The strategy will also help support resilience to extreme weather, which is a vital consideration for agribusiness.

The USDA expects to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year by 2026. This equals about 2% of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions, the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our future generations according to President Obama. The effects of climate change can no longer be ignored or denied. The planet’s warmest year on record was last year, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened since the year 2000. America’s ranchers and farmers have already been experiencing the devastating effects of impacts of climate change, such as severe flooding, extreme heat, drought, wildfires, disease and pests. These frightening climate-change related changes are driving the historic actions of the President to cut the carbon pollution that drives climate change and protect America from the impacts.

The 2014 Farm Bill gives the USDA the authority to provide incentives and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest land owners. The initiative will address soil health, improve nutrient management, conserve and enhance forest resources on private and public lands. In addition, the USDA will increase efforts to improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy and use biomass both as a liquid fuel and to contribute to heating, cooling and electric needs.

The Climate-Change Initiative consists of the following 10 strategies:

  1. Soil Healthlivestock image
  2. Nitrogen Stewardship
  3. Livestock Partnerships
  4. Conservation of Sensitive Lands
  5. Grazing and Pasture Lands
  6. Private Forest Growth and Retention
  7. Stewardship of Federal Forests
  8. Promotion of Wood Products
  9. Urban Forests
  10. Energy Generation and Efficiency

For more information about the Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Initiative click here.

To learn more about agribusiness news, coverages, and educational webinars, contact us.

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Flooding suspends hours regs in Louisiana for truckers carrying emergency relief loads

Posted August 22, 2016 by Erin

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the state Aug. 12 in light of the historic flooding around Baton Rouge and across the southern part of the state. Per federal law, certain federal safety regulations have been temporarily suspended for some truck drivers through the duration of the declaration.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says such a declaration by a state “trigger[s] the temporary suspension of certain federal safety regulations, including hours of service, for motor carriers and drivers engaged in specific aspects of the emergency relief effort.”

FMCSA says drivers responding to provide “direct assistance” to an emergency, as defined here, are exempt from applicable regulations in all states on their route to the emergency, even through states that may not be involved in the emergency or stated in the declaration of emergency. The agency adds the exemptions only apply to regulations in 49 CFR Parts 390-399 and do not “exempt drivers/carriers from the requirements relating to CDL, drug/alcohol, hazardous materials, size and weight or state/federal registration and tax requirements.”

Drivers and carriers should coordinate with state officials before providing assistance, according to FMCSA. The agency also says truckers should use good judgement when operating under the temporary exemptions.

The state of emergency is in effect until Sept. 10.

Read the full story from CCJ here.  

Article written by Matt Cole and originally published on ccjdigital.com

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Annual Brake Inspection Blitz set for September

Posted August 22, 2016 by Erin

Inspectors will be keying in on brake safety again this September when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week takes place Sept. 11-17.

Across North America, law enforcement agencies will conduct inspections on commercial vehicles to look for out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake system and anti-lock braking system violations during the week.

Specifically, CVSA says inspectors will be looking for “loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake system components.” Inspectors will also be checking ABS malfunction indicator lights to make sure they’re in working order, CVSA says. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out-of-service.

Most inspections occurring during the week will be full Level I inspections, according to CVSA, and 10 jurisdictions will be using performance-based brake testing to measure braking efficiency.

“CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life,” CVSA says. “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to driver and public safety.”

During 2015’s brake inspection spree, inspectors conducted 18,817 inspections and placed 2,321 of those trucks out-of-service – or 12.3 percent.

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake program in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Read the full story from CCJ here.  

Article written by CCJ Staff and originally published on ccjdigital.com

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Roadway Hazards Cause Thousands of Crashes Every Year

Posted August 17, 2016 by Administrator

Roadway hazards of all types cause motor vehicle accidents involving long-haul trucks every year. In a study released by the American Automobile Association the dangers of roadway debris was highlighted.

The study reviewed data from 2011 through 2014 and found that, during that 3 year span, road debris was responsible for causing 200,000 crashes. Road debris also accounted for 39,000 injuries and over 500 deaths during that time period.

Roadway debris includes substances, materials and objects that don’t belong on the road. Debris can come from passing vehicles, the environment and from natural disasters and weather. Wind, storms, tornadoes and hurricanes all can cause dangerous debris to be swept into the paths of vehicles on the road. Accidents have been caused by dust, dirt, sand, mud, asphalt, concrete, stones, pebbles, rocks, ice, snow, water, grease, engine oil, glass, nails, screws, auto parts, food, furniture, mattresses, garbage, luggage, animal corpses, construction supplies, leaves, twigs, seeds and more. Basically, anything that is foreign to the normal roadway surface can be a culprit.

Most crashes from road debris – about 66% of crashes – happen because an item fell off of a truck or vehicle. In one-third of the fatal accidents that can be attributed to road debris the driver swerved to avoid an object in the highway.

Sadly, most of the crashes that resulted in injury or death were avoidable. A lot of crashes are easily preventable if drivers take the necessary precautions to maintain their vehicles properly as well as secure their loads.”

All 50 states impose penalties on drivers found at fault for debris on the road. Other types of roadway hazards that can cause crashes include:

  • PotholesRoadWork
  • Sinkholes
  • Black ice
  • Water
  • Loose gravel or stones
  • Blind spots
  • Curves
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Animal carcases
  • Winding roads
  • Manhole covers that have been improperly placed
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FMCSA Rulemaking Meetings Continue Amid Sleep Apnea and Trucker Debate

Posted August 10, 2016 by Administrator

The beautiful red US Truck with chrome

The debate about rulemaking and who pays in the screening and treatment for truck drivers with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) continues as the FMCSA holds late August meetings for recommendations. The public meetings will be held Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 22-23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern at the FMCSA National Training Center in Arlington, Va.

Drivers are raising concerns about lost time and money after being referred for a sleep test by a medical examiner. The guidelines for referring a driver for a test are also in question regarding the neck circumference and body mass index (BMI) ratios that can trigger the testing.

Although the rulemaking process has not reached the stage of whether the FMCSA will issue a regulation or just guidance truckers are attempting to get out ahead of any final rulings regarding both testing criteria and cost burden. Many have suggested the agency pursue a pilot program to help determine what the practical costs and implications of such a rule would be.

What is clear at this point is that not all insurance providers cover screenings, equipment and everything that goes along with OSA. The American Transportation Research Institute has also released its findings of a study on sleep apnea conducted this year. ATRI found that costs to truckers can exceed $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses when referred for sleep apnea screening and much higher costs for treatment if it is not fully covered under their insurance. To learn more about FMCSA regulations and trucking news, visit our blog regularly or view our webinars.

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Transportation Industry News: Have You Been Keeping Up?

Posted August 3, 2016 by Administrator

truck with the container goes on the country highway

From risks to regulatory changes, it’s been another eventful period in the transportation industry. Have you been keeping up? Failure to anticipate risk can cost your business time, money, and reputation. Failure to prepare for compliance with impending regulatory shifts can place unnecessary burdens on your training, resource allocation, HR, and other operational areas. To stay abreast of the latest news, we’ve compiled several of our most popular recent transportation news articles and resources:

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