Feds Back Off Commercial Licenses for Farmers

Aug 17, 2011

 Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation said it was looking into whether farmers should be required to have commercial driver's licenses to operate farm machinery.  This week, WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports – that decision has been made.

DOT officials announced that they won't move forward with Commercial license requirement.  Dozens of members of Congress from farm states in the Midwest wrote to the transportation department, asking that the idea be scrapped.

 Leah Curtis is Director of Education at the Ohio Farm Bureau. She says requiring commercial licenses would have made things tough for local farmers.

 “If they had to have CDLs, if that would have been the case, it would have cost them a lot of money individually because they would have had to get a CDL themselves. It would have been possible that anybody in their family that drove a tractor would have needed one."

Curtis adds, "It also would have been pretty much impossible if they had teenagers that worked with them or their children that worked with them. They would have been unable to drive those tractors because they could not get a CDL. And it would have put a new requirement on their employees, which can also lead to making that pool of employees smaller.”

Curtis  indicated that no further changes to agricultural operations were being considered by the Department of Transportation.