The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) http://www.tscra.org today applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision not to consider a proposal http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/fmcsa2411.html that could have required tractors and loaded stock trailers weighing 26,000 pounds or more to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
According to TSCRA this proposal had the potential to severely harm the Texas cattle industry, especially during times of natural disasters such as drought and wildfires.
TSCRA submitted comments last week http://tscra.org/news_blog/?p=4404 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 CDL as long as their vehicles are not used by “for-hire” motor carriers; however, if a rancher wishes to transport livestock further they are required to have a CDL.
“While we are glad to see DOT walk away from a potential proposal to require basically all ranchers who transport livestock to get a CDL, the current limit of 150 miles is simply unrealistic,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and president of TSCRA.
“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.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 79.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.