Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

FMCSA Issues Interim Final Rule on Agricultural Commodity Definitions

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is has published a final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source. The agricultural commodity rulemaking from FMCSA prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies. The interim final rule attempts to provide those clarifications.
The term “agricultural commodity” now applies to ”horticultural products subject to perishability or significant degradation in product quality during transport”. The definition of “livestock” is now revised to include “all living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals.” And “non-processed foods” is clarified to mean food commodities in a raw or natural state and not subjected to significant post-harvest changes to enhance shelf life.