The Iowa Department of Transportation has put some new ag-related provisions of the Federal Highway Safety Act into effect. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (often referred to as MAP-21), is a two-year federal highway reauthorization bill that was signed into law in July 2012. MAP-21 became effective on October 1 and includes some exemptions for commercial motor vehicles or CMV units such as trucks, operating as "covered farm vehicles" from particular Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or FMCSRs.
The covered farm vehicle must meet guidelines such as operator status, goods in transport, weight, licensing, etc. "However, it's important to note that MAP-21 provisions are not being adopted uniformly or at the same time by the states," says Mindy Larson Poldberg, director of government relations for the Iowa Corn Growers Association. "Therefore, if you plan to travel in other states using the covered farm vehicle exemptions, be sure that you know what regulations apply in those other states."
MAP-21 exempts drivers of CMVs operating as a farm vehicle from the following:
Presently, Missouri and Minnesota are the only border states to Iowa that have agreed to immediately honor the covered farm vehicle exemptions for Iowa's farm operators traveling in their states. Click here for more information.
* No CDL (commercial driver's license) is required.
* No enrollment and testing in a company-based controlled substance and alcohol testing program are required.
* No physical examination and Medical Examiner's Certificate are needed.
* Hours of service regulations do not apply.
Some key USDA programs to lose funding, affect grain promotion programs
In other news announced by the Iowa Corn Growers Association last week, ICGA pointed out that effects are starting to be felt from the 2008 Farm Bill being allowed by to expire on September 30. Congress still hasn't taken any action to try to pass a new 2012 Farm Bill. There's some talk that Congress may try to pass a one-year extension of the old 2008 Farm Bill, and then go to work in 2013 and pass a new five-year farm bill. On the other hand farm organizations are pushing Congress to try to pass a new five-year farm bill before the end of 2012 but time is running out.
With the expiration of the farm bill, funding ended for the USDA's Foreign Market Development or FMD program and the Market Access Program or MAP program. FMD and MAP work to maintain and identify new markets as well as develop and promote U.S. agricultural products overseas. "The U.S. Grains Council, of which Iowa Corn Growers Association is a member, will be affected by the discontinuation of FMD and MAP as the programs help employ staff to create and maintain U.S. corn and grain markets around the world," says the ICGA's Mindy Larson Poldberg. "Without passage of a farm bill in the coming months, the USGC faces considerable challenges in implanting its export programs."
2012 election is just days away, and Iowa farmers are urged to vote
The 2012 elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, just 18 days away. Iowa Corn Growers Association encourages farmers to vote on or before November 6. In Iowa, you must be a registered voter; however, you may register and vote on Election Day. Click here for information on the 2012 general election, voter registration, absentee voting, etc. To find your voting location, click here.
Where do the 2012 presidential candidates stand on the issues?
As a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, the National Corn Growers Association does not endorse candidates for any political office, including president of the United States. NCGA provides information to grower-members so they can make informed decisions on this and other issues. NCGA has asked the two major candidates for president, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), to address some of the top issues important to corn growers. Click here to see the candidates' statements on issues including the farm bill and safety net, ethanol/renewable energy, taxes, infrastructure, trade, and environmental regulation.