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FMCSA Portal Requirement for Interstate Motor Carriers and Agricultural Drone Policy

Jake Oatess, NCAE’s Summer Intern, has been working on many things for NCAE including: formulating a database of lobbyists in the DC area that work in the Agricultural Industry, writing position papers, and representing NCAE at industry meetings. Most recently, Jake did a write-up on a new requirement for all interstate motor carriers – classified as any large truck or bus that travels between two or more states to conduct business. This new requirement includes register for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new online portal. Jake was able to find some more information and write-up guidelines. For more information, find his work here: FMCSA Portal Requirement.

Another write-up Jake recently completed focused on the pros and cons of drone use in the agricultural industry.  This exciting technology is increasingly being utilized by farmers around the United States to help aerially survey crops, receive real-time updates on crop problems like pest issues, irrigation issues, and soil variation as well as highlight the differences between thriving and distressed crops.  He also touches on many of the negatives that come with drone usage in agriculture.  You can find his work covering the subject here: Agricultural Drone Use

National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety Grants deadline is August 17, 2016

Grants available for enhancing the safety and health of children in agricultural settings including on the farm, in agro-tourism, and others.  These grants just announced by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety are for up to $20,000. The deadline for application is August 17, 2016.  This flyer provides additional information but feel free to communicate directly with (NCCRAHS) for more details.  With the number of NCAE Members who have, or are becoming, agro-tourism sites, perhaps one of you has an idea that is “grant-worthy.”

DOT Comment Period on Sleep Apnea Evaluation for CMV drivers closes July 8th

Sleep Apnea? Now a new concern for the Department of Transportation (DOT).  This from the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) who are long-time friends and allies. ““The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking public input on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  The joint Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is the first step as both agencies consider whether to propose requirements specifically on OSA.

The comment period closes July 8. We do not have sufficient time or technical expertise to make a substantive NCAE independent comment, so Frank rewrote ARA’s message to register opposition to broad and overly vague regulation. NCAE’s comments are available here. NCAE Members and allies are invited (ENCOURAGED) to comment via ARA’s direct link, or to regulations.gov on your own. FMCSA has advised physicians who are certified to examine CMV drivers.  It seems that the current recommendation is overly broad and many drivers are referred (required to undergo) costly sleep studies despite lack of other symptoms simply based on neck-size.