FMCSA opens public comment period on Hours of Service
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking comments from the public regarding revisions to the Hours-of-Service regulations for interstate truck drivers.
The comment period is in response to Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns related to potential unnecessary burdens on drivers.
There are four specific areas under revision consideration including:
1. Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
2. Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
3. Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving; and
4. Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released a statement Tuesday, Aug. 21 in favor of the public comment period.
“We are grateful for FMCSA’s willingness to consider options for flexibility on Hours of Service rules. NCBA will continue to work constructively to find a long-term solution that gives livestock haulers the flexibility they need within Hours of Service to protect the welfare of animals in their care,” said Executive Director of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Allison Rivera in a press release. “The proposals released today are a positive step toward focusing on needed changes to Hours of Service, but more specific changes that address the unique realities of the livestock industry are still needed. We will continue to work with FMCSA to provide flexibility for the livestock hauling industry.”
The public comment period officially spans Aug. 24, 2018 to Sept. 24, 2018. FMCSA recommends submission of research and data to support any public comments.
Anyone considering submitting comments but stuck for information, should check back here as this post will be updated as more information is made available.
More information about the public comment period can be found here.
WCA offers to coordinate fire relief donations
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The Washington Cattlemen’s Association is accepting donations of hay, pasture, pasture seed, or funds for cattlemen or cattlewomen effected by the recent wildfires in Washington state. In the past, the monies donated to the fire relief fund have been used to pay for fencing materials, feed, and veterinary supplies.
“Cattlemen and CattleWomen across the state have been impacted by wildfires. Given the number of acres and people impacted, WCA is honored to revitalize our fire relief fund and coordinate donations of physical commodities,” said Washington Cattlemen’s Executive Vice President Sarah Ryan. “Cattlemen support their communities and the economy of the state, this provides an opportunity for the communities to give back.”
A prime example of the devastation this wildfire season has caused is Douglas County, where cattlemen and cattlewomen have lost nearly all their grazing ground for the year.
Anyone interested in providing support to cattlemen and cattlewomen in Washington state, can contact the Washington Cattlemen’s Association office to coordinate matching a donor with a person in need of relief.
The Washington Cattlemen’s Association office is located at 1301 N. Dolarway Rd., Ellensburg, WA 98926, can be reached via phone at 509-925-9871 or via email at email@example.com.
DNR bans outdoor burning statewide
Some campfires still allowed, check local restrictions
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced a statewide burn ban that went in to effect Thursday, Aug. 2.
According to DNR, 96 percent of the state is in some state of drought and that prompted Public Land Commissioner Hilary Franz to institute the burn ban on the majority of DNR-protected lands.
The burn ban includes burn piles, prescribed burns, and charcoal briquettes.
“When the risk of wildfire is this high – and when so many of our firefighting resources are already committed – we must take significant steps to protect our communities and firefighters,” Franz said. “I know this is an inconvenience, and I appreciate the public understanding that this is not a safe time for intentional burning within our forests.”
The burn ban does not affect federally managed lands and campfires are still allowed in approved fire pits within some campgrounds.
DNR urges the public to avoid accidental wildfires by building campfires only in approved areas and dousing campfires completely before leaving the site; disposing of smoking materials correctly; avoid the use of fireworks, incendiary ammunition, and other similar devices; ensuring tow chains are tightened to avoid dragging behind vehicles; confirming that all off-road vehicles are maintained and have a work spark arrester; avoiding parking vehicles in dry grass or other fire fuels; checking tire pressure and condition before driving; and maintaining vehicle brakes properly.
For daily updates on the burn ban, call 1-800-323-BURN (2876) or visit www.dnr.wa.gov/OutdoorBurning.
Governor declares fire season state of emergency
OLYMPIA – Fire season is stretching state resources thin. To date, the Department of Natural Resources – the state’s largest firefighting force – has responded to 891 fires that have burned 113,000 acres (for context, DNR responded to 853 fires in all of 2017).
Wildfires are starting on both sides of the Cascades, with nearly 300 fires in western Washington.
Thankfully, using strategies that emphasize quick air attack and positioning equipment in high-risk areas, firefighters have been able to keep 94% of fires under 10 acres.
But the number of fires and weather – 96 percent of the state is experiencing drought-like conditions that increases wildfire risk – is exhausting available resources
Out-of-state assistance is also limited. Last Friday, the National Interagency Fire Center raised the national preparedness level to 5 – the highest level – meaning that national resources are fully committed.
All available Type I and Type 2 incident response teams within the Washington-Oregon Northwest Interagency Coordination Center region are also fully committed, with more than 18 large fires burning in our region.
As a result, at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Governor Jay Inslee Tuesday declared a State of Emergency, which allows National Guard resources to deploy to wildfires.
“The efforts of our firefighters have been nothing short of heroic, but the sheer number and geographic range of wildfires have stretched our resources thin,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Our state is at a very high-risk for even more wildfires, and we need additional resources to keep our communities safe. I want to thank the National Guard for providing help at this critical moment.”
Wednesday morning, two National Guard Blackhawk helicopters will stage at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane and prepare for initial attack on wildfires. The National Guard is also deploying five 20-person crews in northeast Washington on existing wildfires.
NCBA responds to tariff relief package
Tuesday, USDA announced $12 billion in temporary aid for farmers and ranchers negatively impacted by retaliatory tariffs. We anticipate more details will be released soon with implementation of the program around Labor Day.
- NCBA policy clearly states that we do not support government intervention in the market place like subsidies, but we do support market access and trade enforcement.
- Today, Kent Bacus, NCBA’s Director of International Trade, released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of trade aid for U.S. farmers and ranchers:
“NCBA appreciates the efforts of the Trump Administration to ease the pain of retaliation on U.S. farmers and ranchers. For many years, U.S. beef has been a target for high tariffs and restrictive trade policies from notorious actors like China and the European Union. We support a vigorous approach to tearing down trade barriers, including non-tariff barriers that are not based on science. Trade agreements and trade enforcement are the most effective long-term solutions to the challenges faced by U.S. beef producers. Removing China’s highly-restrictive barriers on U.S. beef exports could unlock the full potential of that market and result in $4 billion in annual sales. Here at home, beef producers need relief from onerous federal regulations that undermine their businesses. Let’s start by fixing the restrictive hours-of-service rules for livestock haulers, modernizing the Endangered Species Act, and ending the 2015 Waters of the United States rule once-and-for-all.”
Opposition to State and National Heritage Areas
WHEREAS, the WCA already has a Land Use Policy that states, in part, that the WCA is against state and federal land planning schemes and supports local land planning, and
WHEREAS, the WCA is concerned that State and National Heritage Areas will negatively impact private property owners rights and abilities to manage their private property through government regulations that limit agricultural activities,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the WCA shall vigorously oppose both State and National Heritage Areas.
Washington Cattlemen's Association and Washington Farm Bureau have been working together to oppose these land grabs. Below you will find links to letters we have written.
Farm Service Agency Makes Administrative Change to the Livestock Indemnity Program
CANADIAN, Texas, April 24, 2018 – Starting today, agricultural producers who have lost livestock to disease, resulting from a weather disaster, have an additional way to become eligible for a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance program. USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced an administrative clarification nationwide to the Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a case-by-case basis for LIP.
For information on the ELD Exemption:
ELD delay for ag commodity haulers ended June 18
The ELD delay for livestock haulers does not end until Sept. 30. The livestock-specific delay was granted through an omnibus and not FMCSA.
To protect livestock haulers regarding the ELD delay, please have your haulers place a copy of the omnibus in their cabs for law enforcement officers.
In response to Secretary Zinke’s announcement regarding potentially releasing grizzly bears into WA State.
Livestock Groups Respond to Potential Washington Grizzly Bear Introduction:
Man-Eating Grizzly Bears Would be a Blow to Entire North Cascades Ecosystem
Today the Washington Cattlemen’s Association (WCA), Public Lands Council (PLC), and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), issued the following statements in response to the Department of the Interior’s announcement in support of introducing Grizzly Bears in the Washington North Cascades:
“The idea of dumping man-eating Grizzly Bears from helicopters into Washington National Parks has not been well thought out. Once the Grizzly Bears walk out of the park into rural towns and private and state lands, the communities surrounding the recovery area can be greatly impacted. Already the livestock community has had little to no help with the management and recovery of wolves in the North Cascades, and cannot accept and welcome another federally listed apex predator with no monetary help from the federal government. What is the reasoning behind thinking a recovery like this can be accomplished without the support of the ranching, logging, recreation, and natural resource based communities or consideration for public safety?" - Sarah Ryan, WCA Executive Vice President
"We are extremely disappointed with the Department of the Interior’s support to introduce Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades of Washington. For more than a year we have heard the Secretary talk about being a better neighbor, but unfortunately actions speak louder than words. Reintroducing as many as 200 man-eating predators into an area already reeling from exploding gray wolf populations is anything but neighborly. This decision won’t just impact ranchers - it’s a blow for the entire North Cascades ecosystem, the safety of locals and visitors, and the local economy, too. In fact, the only beneficiaries of an action like this will be the radical environmental activists that support this type of ill-advised ecosystem tinkering." - Ethan Lane, PLC and NCBA Federal Lands Executive Director
RCW 77.12.035 Protection of grizzly bears—Limitation on transplantation or introduction—Negotiations with federal and state agencies. This RCW and related house and senate bills can be found here.
Report From the WA State Department of Agriculture
by Dr. Amber Itle, Interim Assistant State Veterinarian
Livestock Inspection Program - Financial Status
The financial status of the Livestock Inspection program has been a topic of conversation for several years. Former analysis provided to the LID Advisory Board in 2016 projected a budget shortfall of - $695,000 by the end of the 2017-19 biennium with no additional revenue.
Following series of listening sessions on Animal Disease Traceability, USDA releases report
Dr. Amber Itle
Assistant State Veterinarian
In the spring of 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a series of listening sessions across the country to hear from the agriculture industry about animal disease traceability.
The USDA has now compiled this information into a 30-page report, “Animal Disease Traceability: Summary of Program Reviews and Proposed Directions from State-Federal Working Group,” which it released in April. The report provides an overview of the Animal Disease Traceability Program and preliminary recommendations of the State-Federal Animal Disease Traceability Working Group.
Read more in the upcoming Ketch Pen.
Weak Calf Syndrome Product Update
by Jamie Clark, John Wenz, Dale Moore, and Craig McConnel
WSU Veterinary Medicine Extension and Field Disease Investigation Unit
Spring calving season is right around the corner. We heard your concerns last year of unexplained death losses in newborn beef calves. In the 2017 Weak Calf Syndrome (WCS) project at WSU, we documented that 42% of responding herds experienced WCS in 2017, increased from 18% in 2016. WCS applies to calves that are born full term and are stillborn or weak, or may be born normal and die within two weeks of birth without an obvious reason for death. They may have difficulty sucking or standing, and require significant nursing care to keep alive.
Culverts throughout Washington
The following is an interesting read concerning the culvert case ruling that has come out of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. You may ask why does this concern me? Well, this ruling could potentially be applied to remove dams, restrict farming, and prohibit water rights. Added to the fact that this ruling will require Washington to take out more than 800 culverts, which will cost our state billions of tax dollars. The basis behind the ruling was that these culverts potentially diminish fish runs, violating treaty rights. The dissent focused on the fact that this opinion expands the treaty and is much too broad. The US Supreme Court has been asked to overturn this ruling.
TOP QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BEEF CHECKOFF:
Over the past few years we have received many questions about how the Beef Checkoff functions. Not as many, however, about the demand building work that is conducted on your behalf, through the research, promotion and education work the program is designed to do. The questions we are receiving focus on who does and does not pay and who should and should not pay!
What is the Utility of Utilization Monitoring?
by Tip Hudson, WSU Extension Rangeland & Livestock Specialist
...We’re trying to do something radical—produce food and fiber on naturally occurring ecosystems while allowing those lands to produce other less tangible “goods and services” such as wildlife habitat, open space, clean water, clean air, recreation areas...
WCA Takes Stance on Reintroduction of Grizzly Bear's in WA State
The Washington Cattlemen’s Association strongly opposes the proposed action of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Parks Service to re-introduce Grizzly Bears into Washington State. The WCA does not think it is proper or prudent to reintroduce an apex predator into Washington State. The WCA believes that Grizzly Bear recover and re-colonization must occur naturally with human augmentation.