Moving Michigans Melons

LANSING – State Sen. John Proos introduced legislation on Wednesday that would fairly treat modified agricultural vehicles and give farmers flexibility in the transportation of goods.

“Southwest Michigan’s thriving agriculture industry is a major sector of our economy and is responsible for thousands of jobs,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I sponsored this measure to ensure fairness for our farmers as they grow and bring to market the goods and produce we enjoy.”

Under Proos’ legislation, “modified agricultural vehicles,” defined as vehicles that have been altered so that their primary purpose is for agricultural transport, would be treated the same under Michigan law as all other agricultural vehicles.

The bill would also create an axle weight buffer zone for all vehicles that are transporting loads of at least 50 percent agricultural commodities.  This buffer would allow these vehicles to exceed the maximum axle weight restrictions up to 10 percent, without penalty to account for the shifting of goods during transport.

“This legislation would remove unnecessary regulation on the transport of produce to market; something I have been dealing with for many years,” said Ed Kerlikowske of Kerlikowske Farms in Berrien Springs. “The bill would allow the farming community to move and sell their produce more easily and inexpensively, allowing many farms to grow and prosper.”

Senate Bill 516 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.