LANSING – Local farmer George Brossman of Vandalia joined Sen. John Proos on Tuesday urging the Senate Transportation Committee to approve Proos’ legislation that would fairly treat modified agricultural vehicles and give farmers flexibility in the transportation of goods.
Brossman serves as Cass County Farm Bureau Policy Development Committee chair and told the panel that the measure would give farmers peace of mind that they are within the law, especially during harvest time – their busiest time of year.
“This legislation would give Michigan farmers, like myself, the peace of mind to know we are operating within the law when transporting our products,” said Brossman. “During our state’s busy harvest season, those working in the agricultural industry have a lot on their minds. This bill will allow farmers to focus their attention on getting their product to market without the worry of facing heavy state fines.”
Under Senate Bill 516, vehicles that have been altered so their primary purpose is agricultural transport would be treated the same under Michigan law as all other agricultural vehicles. It is modeled after an Indiana law that was enacted to help farmers transport their produce.
The measure would also account for the shifting of agricultural goods during transport by allowing these vehicles to exceed the maximum axle weight restrictions by up to 10 percent, without penalty. However, if a vehicle surpasses the limit and the buffer, farmers will be penalized for the full amount that they exceeded the limit.
“This bill is about reducing financial burdens on our thriving agricultural community by removing unnecessary regulations,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Considering the importance of agriculture to the Southwest Michigan economy, we must ensure we fairly treat our farmers as they transport to market the goods and produce we all enjoy.”
SB 516 is expected to be voted upon by the panel next week and sent to the full Senate for consideration.