The Nebraska state legislature is taking up a bill that exempt several types of farm equipment from weight and load restrictions. The action is reminiscent of Wisconsin’s Implements of Husbandry bill, which was signed into law in April 2014. In Wisconsin, the law clarifies the definition of implements used for agriculture — creates a new class of farm commercial vehicles — and increases weight limits. Implements and farm vehicles can travel at weights of up to 92,000 pounds — and up to 23,000 pounds per axle.
In Nebraska, cattle owners say the bill would allow them to operate modern farm machinery on roads near their property and clarify which equipment they can legally use. The legislation would exempt implements such as tractors, fertilizer spreaders, chemical application vehicles and mixer-feeder trucks from the weight and load restrictions, reports the Associated Press.
The Nebraska bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion, will be considered by the legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee during a hearing Monday.
According to the report:
It could face resistance from Nebraska’s county governments, which blame heavy farm equipment for damaging roads. The wear tends to be worse around feedlots because trucks hauling manure generally weigh more than other farm equipment, says Larry Dix, executive director of the Nebraska Assn. of County Officials.
Two leading agricultural groups in Nebraska began to lobby for the changes after their members throughout the state complained that they were getting ticketed. A single citation can cost several thousand dollars.
The Nebraska Cattlemen Association tried to tell its members how to comply with the law but discovered that the state didn't clearly define which farm and ranching equipment was exempt from its weight restrictions, said Laura Field, a lobbyist for group.
Read the full article on the proposed bill here.