Big Win on “Horticulture as Agriculture!”
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) released an Interim Final Rule (IFR) on November 19 to announce their decision on potential modification of the agricultural commodity definition for transportation. The verdict is in…and it is good.
The agency states that it “considers plants, including sod, flowers, ornamentals, seedlings, shrubs, live trees, and Christmas trees, within the scope of the definition.” The IFR mentions that most commenters addressed the need to include horticultural products, and specifically references a letter from Professor Matthew Chappell at the University of Georgia, which AmericanHort sent as part of our public comments.
This is big because it gives commercial drivers hauling our products peace of mind to use the agricultural exemption for hours of service rules, granting the ability to count driving time accrued within the 150 air-mile radius of a source as “off duty.” FCMSA has put together some helpful diagrams to explain here.
The IFR will go into effect 15 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which is imminent. Alas, it is always nice to highlight a common-sense sighting in Washington, as there aren’t enough of them these days!