Rep. Tranel Opposes Proposed Federal Regulations Affecting Farmers

Today, Representative Travis Tranel (R-49), Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on
Agriculture, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration to express his concerns regarding proposed regulatory
changes requiring farmers to obtain commercial drivers licenses (CDL) to operate
tractors on public roadways.
“I strongly oppose federal regulations requiring farmers to obtain a CDL in order to
operate a tractor on a public roadway,” said Tranel. “This would significantly hinder the
ability of family farms to function effectively.”
Currently, under Wisconsin statutes farmers are not required to hold a CDL to travel
between properties or transport crops and other goods via tractor on public roadways.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is presently considering regulatory
guidelines that could require farmers to obtain CDL licenses under the justification that
interstate commerce is taking place. Thus, they believe the federal commercial driver’s
license regulations should apply.
“In a day and age where we seem to over-regulate just about everything, I think that these
proposed federal restrictions should be strongly reconsidered,” said Tranel. “Wisconsin
farmers are skilled and professional operators. Requiring them to attain a CDL to drive
tractors on a public roadway is totally unnecessary.”
The proposed requirements could also restrict youth from operating tractors and other
farm machinery on roadways as currently allowed under Wisconsin law. Vital to
Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, youth are currently allowed to operate tractors on
roadways after completing required safety coursework oftentimes provided through the
University of Wisconsin-Extension or local technical colleges.