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Agriculture Today

Federal agency abandons proposal to require ranchers to obtain CDL

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August 17, 2011 | 3,399 views | Post a comment

FORT WORTH -- The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision not to consider a proposal that could have required tractors and loaded stock trailers weighing 26,000 pounds or more to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

According to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in an Aug. 10 press release, this proposal had the potential to severely harm the Texas cattle industry, especially during times of natural disasters such as drought and wildfires.

The cattle raisers association submitted comments Aug. 1 opposing the proposal, stating that, “With recent natural disasters like drought and wildfires devastating Texas and Oklahoma, transportation has become even more important to move cattle, feed, and equipment across county and state lines.”

Current law does not require ranchers transporting their livestock more than 150 miles to obtain a commercial driver’s license as long as their vehicles are not used by “for-hire” motor carriers; however, if a rancher wishes to transport livestock farther they are required to have a commercial driver’s license.

“While we are glad to see DOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] walk away from a potential proposal to require basically all ranchers who transport livestock to get a CDL [commercial driver’s license], the current limit of 150 miles is simply unrealistic,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

“This limit needs to be lifted during times of natural disaster. For the sake of their livestock and their businesses, ranchers need flexibility and options when livestock must be transported to other places, and when feed, water, and equipment must be transported. During times of natural disasters, ranchers must act quickly and simply don’t have the time or resources to obtain a CDL,” Parker continued.

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