Gov. Ricketts, Cattlemen Unveil New Farm Vehicle Designation

GRAND ISLAND – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts was joined by the Nebraska Cattlemen to unveil a new vehicle designation that will allow Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers to move certain farm equipment around their farm or ranch operation without obtaining a commercial vehicle driver’s license.
 
“One of my top priorities as Governor is making Nebraska more business friendly, so that we can continue to grow our state,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Creating this covered farm vehicle designation here in Nebraska makes sense because it cuts red tape for agriculture, our number one industry.  This designation will remove unnecessary barriers to our farm families, who grow the food Nebraska exports to feed the world.”
 
The covered farm vehicle designation was placed in federal law in 2012 and made possible in Nebraska by state law in 2014.  This designation exempts some vehicles utilized in or on an ag operation from certain laws and regulations, which currently require drivers to obtain Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL).  Nebraska joins several states which have adopted the covered farm vehicle designation including Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and North Dakota among others.  
 
Under the law, a covered farm vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that:
 
·       Is operated by a farm or ranch owner or operator, or an employee or family member of the farm or ranch owner or operator;
·       Is being used to transport to or from a farm or ranch: agricultural commodities; livestock; machinery or supplies.
·       Displays a special license plate or other designation which helps enforcement personnel identify it as a covered farm vehicle; and
·       Meets certain weight requirements.
 
Vehicles that may meet these requirements include trucks, hay grinders, manure spreaders, and numerous other vehicles utilized in farm operations across Nebraska.
 
“Today’s announcement by Governor Ricketts is a big win for Nebraska agriculture,” said John Schroeder of Cozad, Nebraska Cattlemen Marketing and Commerce Committee Chair.  “The intent of MAP-21 was to give states the option to specially designate covered farm vehicles, and this change gives the needed certainty and clarity for agricultural producers statewide.”
 
Over the past year, the Governor’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, and Nebraska Cattlemen worked to develop the covered farm vehicle designation in Nebraska.  For more information about how to designate a covered farm vehicle and the requirements for the designation, Nebraskans can visit Nebraska.gov by clicking here.  After filling out the form and submitting it, users should print the document detailing the designation generated by their submission and carry a copy of the document along with their vehicle title in the power unit of the vehicle.
 
Nebraskans can contact the Carrier Enforcement Division of the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-471-0105 with questions about whether their vehicles qualifies for the covered farm vehicle designation.