Viewing posts from: February 2016

Agribusiness Feels the Burden of Weight Limits

Posted February 25, 2016 by Administrator

State and feshutterstock_3008334deral laws control the weight of the cargo commercial trucks carry over roads and bridges. These limits often have loopholes some freight can slip through. For agribusiness, however, the weight limits are stricter and increase the cost of transporting crops across the state and across the country.

Protecting Roads and Bridges

The main reason for weight limits is to reduce the wear and tear on roadways and bridges. The federal government has laws in place to control the gross weight of commercial trucks and the cargo they carry. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ensures that states comply with the federal guidelines.

Some States Changing the Laws

Some states are looking at changing state weight limit laws. In the state of Georgia, trucks can haul up to 80,000 pounds of cargo. There are ways to circumvent this law, however, and some trucks can haul as much as 100,000 pounds.

Agribusinesses in Georgia struggle with the weight limit law because this exemption doesn’t extend to agriculture products. The new bill that is under review in the House Transportation Committee would increase weight limits to between 84,000 and 88,000 pounds.

Supporters of the bill say that the funding that states will receive from the passage of the SAFE Act would help Georgia repair existing roads and bridges so that they could withstand the weight from the extra cargo. The bill also allows some leeway for agriculture products that are being transported from the field. It is difficult to weigh products accurately in the field, so some trucks may be over the weight limit and not realize it. The new bill would give agribusinesses some breathing room so that they aren’t fined when transporting crops for processing.

With the passage of the SAFE Act, more states may increase weight limits due to the fact that the infrastructure will receive long overdue maintenance. If that is the case, agribusinesses across the country may be able to reduce agriculture costs.

New FAA Bill May Override State Trucking Labor Laws

Posted February 18, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_20471446 - Copy (2)Do states have the right to override federal regulations or do federal laws supersede state authority? When it comes to interstate trucking labor laws, this battle may be drawing to a close. The new FAA bill that is currently in the House includes a clause stating federal regulations have authority over state or local laws.

Getting a Second Chance

This isn’t the first time a clause regarding interstate trucking labor laws was included in federal legislation. There was a similar clause in the original version of the FAST ACT, but it was removed before the bill was passed into law in December. Lawmakers have added this reinforcement of federal authority to a House bill for the Federal Airlines Administration in the hopes that it will be approved the second time around.

Mixed Reviews from Trucking Unions

Not everyone believes that federal authority is a good idea. While some state labor laws regarding truck drivers are inefficient, unfair or complicated, other laws were put in place to close loopholes in the federal laws and regulations. Some of these loopholes have made it possible for companies to leverage unfair wage practices.

Complicated Payroll

Whether federal supremacy is overreaching or beneficial, the current arrangement leads to complicated payroll situations for companies with interstate commercial fleets. When states enact labor laws for truck drivers that contradict federal regulations, companies have to consider the states included in specific routes and the laws they need to adhere to. This leads to frustrated drivers, stressed HR employees and frustrated fleet owners.

Understanding all state and federal trucking labor laws is an important part of maintaining a safe fleet and managing risk. For more industry news and business tips, contact us today.

Webinar: Implementation Timeline and Impact of Proposed Federal Rule for Transportation of Human & Animal Food – Attorney Guest Speaker

Posted February 11, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_20471446 - Copy (2)Join Cline Wood University for this brief, complimentary web seminar to learn how the proposed federal rule for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food will impact your trucking business. Subject matter expert and guest speaker Jonathan Stringer, a Senior Corporate Cargo Claims Attorney for Great West, will review the proposed rule, the timeline for implementation, and the effects these changes will have on motor carriers. Key topics include:

• Overview and Current Status of Proposed Federal Rule
• Implementation Timetables for Motor Carriers
• New Requirements for Shippers, Receivers and Motor Carriers
• New Requirements for Vehicles and Transportation Equipment
• New Requirements for Training and Record Keeping

Date & Time: Wed, Feb 17, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CST

To Register:

Agriculture Act Not A Complete Safety Net

Posted February 4, 2016 by Administrator

Agribusiness Insurance CoverageARC-County was created as part of the 2014 Agriculture Act to help protect agribusinesses who had below average crop yields. Many farmers and others in the agriculture industry believe that with this safety net in place, crop insurance isn’t necessary. That isn’t the case. ARC-County offers limited protection and figures are based on lower levels as part of the county average. Because farm yields are variable, the coverage received from ARC-County wouldn’t be enough to offset losses for most agribusinesses.

In a recent study comparing ARC-County with different types of policies and coverage levels, agribusinesses would need ARC-County and crop insurance to help offset loses. And since 2016 is expected to be a tough year for crop yields, you may want to consider keeping your existing crop insurance coverage. A quick refresher from the USDA/FSA is below:

County ARC: Payments are issued when the actual county crop revenue of a covered commodity is less than the ARC county guarantee for the covered commodity and are based on county data, not farm data. The ARC county guarantee equals 86 percent of the previous 5-year average national farm price, excluding the years with the highest and lowest price (the ARC guarantee price), times the 5-year average county yield, excluding the years with the highest and lowest yield (the ARC county guarantee yield). Both the guarantee and actual revenue are computed using base acres, not planted acres. The payment is equal to 85 percent of the base acres of the covered commodity times the difference between the county guarantee and the actual county crop revenue for the covered commodity. Payments may not exceed 10 percent of the benchmark county revenue (the ARC guarantee price times the ARC county guarantee yield).

Individual ARC: Payments are issued when the actual individual crop revenues, summed across all covered commodities on the farm, are less than ARC individual guarantees summed across those covered commodities on the farm. The farm for individual ARC purposes is the sum of the producer’s interest in all ARC farms in the State. The farm’s ARC individual guarantee equals 86 percent of the farm’s individual benchmark guarantee, which is defined as the ARC guarantee price times the 5-year average individual yield, excluding the years with the highest and lowest yields, and summing across all crops on the farm. The actual revenue is computed in a similar fashion, with both the guarantee and actual revenue computed using planted acreage on the farm. The individual ARC payment equals: (a) 65 percent of the sum of the base acres of all covered commodities on the farm, times (b) the difference between the individual guarantee revenue and the actual individual crop revenue across all covered commodities planted on the farm. Payments may not exceed 10 percent of the individual benchmark revenue.

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