Member Alert: Livestock Hauling Provisions, Disaster Aid Funding, and more.

(AUGUST 4, 2021) – Two key bills moving through the U.S. Senate this week contain provisions that will work to strengthen the U.S. cattle producer’s bottom line. These ‘wins’ are the result of countless hours of volunteer work with Congress and other stakeholders by members of the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA). 

First, included in the 2,072-page bipartisan infrastructure bill is a portion of the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act of 2021, which cuts hours of service requirements that can prevent livestock haulers from doing their jobs safely, and gives them the flexibility needed to get their live animal passengers to their destination as efficiently as possible. Specifically, the bill exempts livestock haulers from HOS rules within a 150 air-mile radius from their final destination. 

The bill also requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study analyzing the cost and effectiveness of electronic logging devices and detailing the processes used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to review electronic logging device logs; protect proprietary information and personally identifiable information obtained from electronic logging device logs; and through which an operator may challenge or appeal a violation notice issued by the FMCSA relating to an electronic logging device.

Second, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill for the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. Total spending in the bill is about $25.9 billion, a $2.46 billion increase over the current fiscal year. Highlights include: 

  • $7 billion in much-needed disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers, including $750 million specifically designed to provide drought relief for livestock producers
  • A provision establishing a pilot program for a cattle contract library at the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS). 
  • An additional $2 million for AMS to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. 

Both of these bills still await final approval by Congress and the President, but USCA is optimistic that they will retain the above provisions. As we approach the August Congressional recess, we are encouraging our members to call their Members of Congress – or meet them at in-district events – and thank them for their work in securing these producer priorities. More work remains, but this is a critical first step towards much-needed regulatory relief and disaster assistance.