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CovfarmvehinsIt’s good news for farmers. Negotiations on Illinois Farm Bureau's (IFB) Covered Farm Vehicle legislation, SB 3398, have led to a compromise proposal. 

Bill Bodine, Associate Director of State Legislation for IFB, has been shepherding the bill through Springfield.  Bodine points out that the compromise would allow owners of trucks with class B or D license plates to have their truck designated as a Covered Farm Vehicle through the registration of that vehicle.  A $10 annual surcharge would be added, but only if the owner seeks to have his truck designated as a Covered Farm Vehicle.  The Secretary of State would provide a designation on the registration card identifying the truck as a Covered Farm Vehicle when pulling a farm plated trailer or an implement of husbandry.  This designation would signify to enforcement officers that the vehicle, when used in combination with a farm plated trailer or implement of husbandry, is a Covered Farm Vehicle.

“SB 3398 would allow the smallest trucks—pickups and dualies—to qualify for the farm exemptions as larger trucks when pulling a farm plated trailer or implement of husbandry”, says Bodine.  However, it also preserves the small truck’s utility as a multi-use family vehicle because it does not limit the truck’s use to only farm transportation.  Currently in Illinois, these smaller trucks do not qualify for the exemptions because they typically do not have a farm plate.

According to Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for IFB, the designation as a Covered Farm Vehicle provides several benefits for farmers. "The designation provides consistency with the exemptions from trucking regulations allowed for larger trucks that carry farm plates, helping to minimize confusion. Farmers who have larger trucks with farm plates would not have to meet differing regulations simply to operate their smaller trucks pulling farm-plated trailers or implements of husbandry, as they do currently," he explained.

Rund also pointed out that farmers with smaller trucks designated as Covered Farm Vehicles would also be exempted from medical card requirements.  "This reduces costs for farmers, as a medical card requirement  could run approximately $50 to $120 every two years," he said.

The exemptions also eliminate hours of service restrictions for operators of trucks designated as Covered Farm Vehicles and eliminates the need for pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the vehicle, though Rund contends that “it’s still a good idea to do those inspections.”  This designation also extends the CDL exemption to employees of the farmer.  By doing so, the employee would also be exempted from drug and alcohol testing for operation of truck-trailer combinations over 26,001 pounds, again reducing costs by eliminating this potential  expense.  

Because these non-farm-plated trucks do not currently meet the definition of a Covered Farm Vehicle in Illinois regulations, this compromise provides needed regulatory certainty and the ability to avoid additional costs for Illinois farmers operating smaller trucks pulling farm plated trailers or implements of husbandry. 

SB 3398 is currently on Third Reading in the House. Illinois Farm Bureau supports SB 3398.

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Learn more about Covered Farm Vehicle Legislation

Click here to go to the Illinois General Assembly website to learn more about SB 3398.

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Click here to read more about the Covered Farm Vehicle proposal in our 'state news' publication.