Farm Safety

Frequently asked questions

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Question: Are intrastate, private motor carriers operating in Iowa required to have a USDOT number and to display it on the side of their trucks?

Guidance: In February 2010, the Iowa DOT announced that it was gathering input and the opinions of the people that would be affected by implementing such a requirement, and conducting public outreach and education meetings to accomplish that objective. A decision on whether, and during what time period, to implement the numbering requirement will be made once the Iowa DOT has had the opportunity to discuss the issue further with affected stakeholder groups. In the meantime, it is not a requirement for intrastate, private motor carriers.

If you are an intrastate, private motor carrier operating in Iowa and have already obtained a USDOT number, you do not need to cancel the number. It will not trigger any new or different safety or operating requirements, and will remain available to you in the future. You are not, however, required to display the number on any vehicles at this time.

Interstate commercial motor carriers or intrastate, for-hire motor carrier, must have and display a USDOT number.

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Question: When does a farmer perform an intrastate or interstate movement?

Guidance: A farmer performs an intrastate movement if the product he or she is transporting never leaves the state of Iowa until it is processed as a final product.

The U.S. DOT has determined that a farmer performs interstate movement if the product he or she is transporting will continue in interstate commerce. For example, a farmer’s movement of grain from farm to elevator, where it is known (or assumed to be known) that the grain will continue in interstate commerce, constitutes the first leg of an interstate movement. How or when the farmer is paid for his or her product, or when he or she has any connection with the shipment after he or she drops it off at an elevator, is irrelevant in the court’s eyes for purposes of defining movement of commodities in interstate commerce.



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Question: What is the definition of a “farmer”?

Guidance: A farmer is any person who operates a farm or is directly involved in the cultivation of land, crops of livestock that are owned by that person or under direct control of that person. (CFR Title 49 part §390.5)

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Question: What is the definition of a "farm vehicle driver"?

Guidance: A farm vehicle driver is a person who drives only a commercial motor vehicle that is controlled and operated by a farmer as a private motor carrier of property; and is being used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies to or from a farm; and is not be using in the operation of a for-hire motor carrier; and is not carrying hazardous materials of a type and quantity that requires the commercial motor carrier to be placarded; and is being used within 150 air-miles of the farmer's farm.

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Question: What is the definition of a "commercial motor vehicle"?

Guidance: A commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate or intrastate commerce to transportation passenger or property when the vehicle:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more; or
  • Is designed or used to transportation more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
  • Is designed or used to transportation 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transportation passengers for compensation; or
  • Is used in transportation hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding.

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Question: What is the definition of an agricultural operation?

Guidance: Agricultural operation means the operation of a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies for agricultural purposes.

Agricultural commodities mean any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber or livestock, including insects.

Farm supplies for agricultural purposes means products directly related to the growing or harvesting of agricultural commodities and livestock feed at any time of the year.

Livestock means cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary of the U.S Department of Transportation (at his or her sole discretion) that are part of a foundation herd (including producing dairy cattle) or offspring.

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Question: May a person operate a commercial motor vehicle wholly on private property, not open to public travel, without a CDL?

Guidance: Yes.

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Question: Are commercial motor vehicle drivers employed by farm cooperatives exempt from the commercial driver's license requirements?

Guidance: No. The farm exemption only covers operators of farm vehicles that are controlled and operated by "farmers" as defined in §390.5.

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Question: Is a person who grows sod as a business considered a farmer and eligible for the farm waiver?

Guidance: Yes, a sod farmer is eligible for the farmer waiver.

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Question: May fuel be considered “farm supplies” as used in §383.3(d)(1)?

Guidance: Yes.

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Question: May a farmer who meets all of the conditions for a farm waiver be waived from CDL requirements when transporting another farmer’s products absent any written contract?

Guidance: If a farmer is transporting another farmer's products and being paid for doing so, he or she is acting as a contract carrier and does not meet the conditions for a farm waiver. The existence of a contract, written or verbal, is not relevant to the CDL waiver provisions.

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Question: Are commercial motor vehicle drivers employed by a partnership, corporation or an association engaged in farming exempt from the CDL requirements under the farmer waiver (49 CFR 383.3(d)) or is the waiver only available to drivers employed by a family owned farm?

Guidance: The purpose of the farmer exemption was to give relief to family farms (53 FR 37313, Sept. 26, 1988). The conditions for the waiver were established to ensure that the waiver focused on this type of farm operation. However, ‘‘farmer’’ is defined in §390.5 as ‘‘any person who operates a farm or is directly involved in the cultivation of land, crops, or livestock which (a) [a]re owned by that person; or (b) [a]re under the direct control of that person.’’ Since farming partnerships, corporations and associations are legal ‘‘persons,’’ Iowa exempts drivers working for these organizations from the CDL requirements, provided they can meet the strict limits imposed by the waiver conditions.

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Question: What exemptions are farmers entitled?

Guidance: See the Quick Reference below.

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Question: Are farmers required to have a medical card?

Guidance: See the Quick Reference below.

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Question: Is a farm wagon federal motor carrier safety regulation?

Guidance: If the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of a farm wagon and a truck or truck-tractor used in interstate commerce is greater than 10,000 pounds, the combination vehicle meets the definition of a commercial motor vehicle and is subject to the FMCSR, including annual inspection requirements.

If the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of a farm wagon and a truck or truck-tractor used in intrastate commerce is greater than 26,000 pounds, the combination vehicle meets the definition of a commercial motor vehicle and is subject to the FMCSR, including annual inspection requirements.

Quick reference for determining whether farmers, drivers or agricultural operations
are exempt from federal motor carrier safety regulations
Title 49 CFR Parts 382-397

 

Part 382 - Drug and alcohol testing programs
Drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing if they operate a CDL class motor vehicle beyond 150 miles from the farm or ranch including:

  • Pre-employment, post accident, reasonable suspicion, and random alcohol and controlled substance testing.
  • Documentation of supervisor’s two-hour training for reasonable suspicion.
  • Documentation of driver’s receipt of training materials.

Part 383 - Commercial drivers license (CDL)
Drivers are subject to a CDL beyond 150 miles from the farm or ranch, when operating a CDL class motor vehicle within Iowa; or at any point beyond the state line.

Part 390 - General applicability and definitions
Private intrastate agriculture operations must comply with 390 but are exempt from USDOT numbers and marking requirements.

Private interstate agriculture operation must comply with all sections of Part 390 including USDOT number and marking requirements.

For hire agriculture operations both in intrastate and interstate commerce must comply all sections of Part 390 including USDOT number and marking requirements.

Part 391-  Qualification of drivers
Rules adopted under this section concerning driver qualifications do not apply to trucks moving implements of husbandry, and special trucks operating intrastate.

Physical and medical qualifications for a driver shall not apply to a farmer or a farmer's hired help when operating a vehicle owned by the farmer while it is being used in connection with the intrastate transportation of agricultural commodities or feed.

Driver age qualifications do not apply to drivers for private and for-hire motor carriers that operate solely intrastate except when the vehicle being driven is transporting a hazardous material in a quantity which requires placarding.  The minimum age for the exempted intrastate operations is 18.

Interstate drivers operating straight trucks within 150 air-miles of the farm are exempt, beyond 150 air-miles no exceptions.

Drivers operating truck tractors combo vehicles beyond state lines must be physically qualified and carry a medical examiner’s certificate.

Interstate drivers operating motor vehicles beyond 150 air-miles of the farm shall maintain driver files that include:

  • Driver application for employment.
  • Motor vehicle record (MVR).
  • Inquiry to previous employers.;
  • Copy of medical examiners certificate.
  • Drivers road test documentation.
  • Annual driver’s certification of violations and annual review of driving record.
  • Driver data sheet, new employee or intermittent driver.
  • Entry level driver training certification.

Part 392 - Operating commercial motor vehicles
There are no exemptions to part 392.

Part 393 - Parts and accessories necessary for safe operation
There are no exemptions to part 393.

Part 395 - Hours of service (HOS)
Rules adopted under this section shall not apply to a driver operating intrastate for a farm operation as defined in section 352.2, or for an agricultural interest when the commercial vehicle is operated between the farm as defined in section 352.2 and another farm, between the farm and a market for farm products, or between the farm and an agribusiness location

Interstate agriculture operations are exempt from HOS within 100 air-miles of the farm. Beyond 100 air miles of the farm or ranch a log book is required.

Part 396 - Inspection repair and maintenance
All drivers and motor vehicles must comply with lubrication; unsafe operation forbidden; inspection of vehicles in operation; driver vehicle inspection reports; periodic inspection; and inspector qualifications.

Part 397 - Hazardous materials (HM) driving and parking rules
Before transporting hazardous materials in any quantity, see Part 173.5 intrastate agriculture exceptions and requirements.

 

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Question: Which states does Iowa have reciprocity agreements with applying to farmers engaged in private farm hauling?

Guidance: See farm reciprocity agreements.

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Question: Do I need a drivers license to operate my farm tractor or other self-propelled implements of husbandry on a public highway.

Guidance: Drivers with a suspended or revoked driving privilege may not operate implements of husbandry on a public highway.  A license is required if the implement is not operated farm site to farm site or travels more than 2 miles from the farm.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Education and Technical Assistance Program