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Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for her announcement of an additional 90-day extension of the agriculture exemption from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Agricultural compliance with the mandate, particularly the hours-of-service requirements, would have been problematic for the agriculture industry.

The ELD rule went into effect in December 2017, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) granting the agriculture industry an initial exemption that was set to expire on March 18, 2018. With the granting of another extension, the agriculture industry will now have additional time to comply.

Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

"The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities. If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination. The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers."

"Current ELD technologies do not recognize the hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture that are in federal law, leaving drivers to do twice the work by requiring use of both the ELD and traditional paper logs. This is a classic example of a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that ignores common sense to the detriment of sectors like agriculture.

"I applaud Secretary Chao for recognizing these obstacles and giving extra time for compliance while DOT issues guidance. While public safety is a critical concern for all of trucking, the safety of living agricultural commodities in transport must also be considered."

BACKGROUND: Agriculture haulers operating within 150 air miles of the source of their agriculture products or livestock do not have to comply with DOT's hours-of-service regulation, which limits driving hours to only 11 hours after being off duty for more than 10 consecutive hours. For more information on the hours-of-service exemption for agriculture shipments, visit this U.S. DOT web page: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/eld-hours-service-hos-and-agriculture-exemptions.

For more information on agriculture commodities that are transported to domestic and foreign markets, visit this USDA webpage: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/transportation-analysis.

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