AEM raises concerns about Wisconsin bill’s effects on ag equipment
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and member companies have expressed concerns about a bill that would affect the operation of agricultural equipment on Wisconsin roadways.
• Weight – AEM called on state legislators to consider an overall weight limit only and eliminate an axle weight restriction contained in the bill.
• Lighting and marking – AEM recommended a transition period of one year on used equipment to provide education on lighting and marking requirements and ensure kits are available to properly mount on equipment, when required.
• Permitting – AEM suggested that an “alternative route” guaranteed permit provision apply to all implements of husbandry for a period of time – such as five years – to give farmers time to change their operations.
Representatives of AEM member companies Kuhn, CNH and Landoll also testified at the hearing, held before the Wisconsin Senate Transportation, Public Safety and Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and the Wisconsin Assembly Transportation Committee.
AEM played an active role in the development of the proposed IoH legislation, serving as an official member of the IoH study group, attending town hall gatherings around the state and meeting on several occasions with the bill sponsors.
In a letter sent August 1, 2013 to Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, AEM noted that the study group was originally formed to examine rural road damage resulting from high-frequency animal waste transport at times when roadbeds are most susceptible to harm, such as during spring thaw.
However, AEM said, the study group expanded its scope to include nearly all categories of agricultural equipment, including several types that have historically been considered exempt from permits and regulatory controls.
AEM also objected to the aggressive schedule followed by the study group in completing its report and the lack of time provided to manufacturers to deliver requested data.
For more information, contact Nick Yaksich in AEM’s Washington, D.C. office (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 202-898-9064).
Iowa State University animal science professor praises new research program
A new competitive grants program in the recently passed Farm Bill that addresses critical issues impacting animal agriculture helps counter the shortfall in federal investment in animal science, said Maynard Hogberg, chair of the Iowa State University animal science department.