Ohio’s CDL Provisions for Agriculture

Do you need a Commercial Driver’s License?
Like many other areas of law, driver’s license regulations for agricultural situations have unique provisions and exemptions. Recent rumors had the agricultural community concerned about possible changes in the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements for agriculture. While the U.S. Department of Transportation has clarified that CDL provisions for agriculture will not change at the federal level, the rumors had many asking questions about when an agricultural operator needs a CDL.

Federal Authority over CDLs
The Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act (FCMVSA) addresses driver’s licensing for commercial vehicle operators, and aims to protect public safety by establishing qualifications for those who drive large trucks and buses on public roads and highways. The federal law delegates the actual authority over CDL licensing to each individual state, but first establishes minimum federal standards that a state must meet when issuing CDLs. In regards to agriculture, the law specifically allows a state to create CDL exemptions for “operators of a farm vehicle which is controlled and operated by a farmer, including operation by employees or family members.” The recent statement from the federal government about CDLs clarified that there would not be any new minimum federal standards for agriculture or any changes to the federal delegation of agricultural exemption authority to the states. Therefore, an agricultural operator must look to the CDL laws of the state in which he or she operates.

Ohio’s CDL Exemption for Agriculture
Ohio law establishes a “farm truck operator exemption” in Ohio Revised Code 4506.03(B)(1). This provision states that Ohio’s CDL requirements do not apply “to any qualified person when engaged in the operation of a farm truck.” The farm truck exemption is designed to address the situation where a farmer trucks goods back and forth from the farm, but not for long distances. Important to the exemption is the definition of “farm truck,” which is:
• A truck controlled and operated by a farmer that is used to transport:
o Products of the farm either to or from the farm, for a distance of not more than 150 miles, including livestock, livestock products, poultry, poultry products and floricultural and horticultural products,
o Supplies to the farm, from a distance of not more than 150 miles, including tile, fence, and every other thing or commodity used in agricultural, floricultural, horticultural, livestock, and poultry production, and livestock, poultry, and other animals and things used for breeding, feeding, or other purposes connected with the operation of the farm,
o As long as the truck is not used in the operation of a motor transportation company or a private motor carrier. ORC 4506.01(O).
Note that the farm truck exemption refers specifically to a truck controlled and operated by a “farmer.” The law does not provide a definition for “farmer,” however. This raises questions about who the law covers: are farm family members and employees included? To date, there are not any published court opinions that lend clarity to the issue. Farm operators should be aware that a citation could be possible if an officer believes a truck operator is not a “farmer.”

The Restricted CDL for Farm-Related Service Industries
Ohio law also provides a restricted CDL for operators who service the agricultural sector on a seasonal basis. The restricted CDL applies to eligible “seasonal” operators, which includes farm retail outlets and suppliers, agri-chemical businesses, custom harvesters and livestock feeders. The law waives the requirements for CDL written and skills tests for eligible seasonal operators. The seasonal operator my operate a Class B or Class C vehicle, subject to restrictions: travel must be within 150 miles of the place of business, the seasonal period must be no more than 180 days in any twelve month period, and hazardous material transport is limited to 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel; 3,000 gallons for liquid fertilizer; and solid fertilizer only if without accompanying organic substances. To receive a restricted CDL for farm-related service, the operator must file an application and meet eligibility requirements, such as one year of driving experience, no motor vehicle violations or offenses and no license suspensions, revocations or cancellations. ORC 4506.24.

Ohio’s CDL Laws and Other States
Ohio’s CDL provisions for agriculture are valid only within the State of Ohio. The federal government allows a state to make reciprocal agreements for CDL licensing with other states, but no such agreements regarding agriculture exists between Ohio and another state. Without a reciprocal agriculture exemption, a farmer crossing state lines is engaged in “interstate” travel, which requires a CDL and raises additional federal requirements.
For information on Ohio’s CDL laws, visit the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium set for November 18, 2011

The agenda is in place for the fourth annual Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium, a program for attorneys and others working in the agricultural arena.  The Symposium takes place on Friday, November 18 at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Union and features state and national experts on the most current legal and policy issues facing Ohio agriculture.

Nine topics are packed into the day-long program, including presentations by Ohio Senator Cliff Hite, Washington D.C. agricultural policy consultant Dale Moore and American Farm Bureau attorney Danielle Quist.  Ohio attorneys and experts will speak on Livestock Care Standards, agri-environmental law, USDA audits, CAUV, oil and gas development and estate planning.   Here is the complete agenda for the day:

Welcome Peggy Hall, Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Chesapeake TMDL:  EPA’s New Framework for Watershed Regulation

    Danielle Quist, Senior Counsel for Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.  

Nutrient-Enriched Lakes, Livestock Emissions, and Other Hot Environmental Topics for Ohio Agriculture

    Jack Van Kley, Van Kley and Walker LLC, Columbus

Enforcing Ohio’s New Livestock Care Standards  

    James Patterson, Assistant Attorney General, State of Ohio

The Office of Inspector General Audit: Preventing and Detecting Waste, Fraud and Abuse

    Diana Blust, Senior Auditor, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General

Current Issues in Current Agricultural Use Valuation 

    Larry Gearhardt, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Columbus

Representing Landowners in Oil and Gas Leases and Mineral Disputes (Concurrent 1)

    Richard A. Yoss, Yoss Law Office, Woodsfield

Estate Planning for Farmers in an Era of  New Laws and New Wealth (Concurrent 2)

      Beatrice Wolper, Emens & Wolper Law Firm, Columbus

      Paul L. Wright, Wright Law Co., LPA, Dublin

Fighting for Agriculture in Washington: The Farm Bill and other Farm Policy Issues

    Dale W. Moore, Vice President, Policy Directions, Inc, Washington, D.C.

 Legislative Outlook for Ohio Agriculture

    Senator Cliff Hite, Chair, Ohio Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee

The Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium is a partnership project of OSU’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program and the Ohio State Bar Association and its Agricultural Law Committee.  The goal of the Symposium is to provide a forum for education, discussion and interaction on legal issues for Ohio agriculture.  As in the past, OSU offers scholarships for law students to attend the Symposium at no cost through the support of the Paul L. Wright Agricultural Law endowment fund.

The Symposium brochure provides additional information about the program.


2012 Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, The Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

Newly updated corn, soybean and wheat enterprise budgets for 2012 have been released and were a hot item in the Farm Management Center at the farm Science Review.  These enterprise budgets are compiled on downloadable Excel Spreadsheets that contain macros for ease of use. Users can input their own production and price levels to calculate their own numbers. These Enterprise Budgets have a new look with color coded cells that will enable users to plug in numbers to easily calculate bottoms lines for different scenarios. Detailed footnotes are included to help explain methodologies used to obtain the budget numbers. Starting this year we will be updating these Enterprise Budgets periodically during the year is large changes occur in price or costs. Budgets will include a date in the upper right hand corner of the front page indicating when the last update occurred.

Click on the following links to download the corresponding budgets: 

2012 Corn Budget

2012 Soybean Budget

2012 Wheat Budget

Beware of the Increasing Level of Deferred Income Tax

By: Dwight Raab, University of Illinois

Average (accrual) Net Farm Income for the five year period 2006 to 2010 was $$162,609. Net Farm Income for the five years prior (2001 to 2005) was $58,339. This makes for an increase of $104,270 in average net farm income between the two five-year periods. This should surprise no one and is evidence of higher yields in most of Illinois and increased commodity prices. To read more click here.

2011 OSU Income Tax Schools to be held across Ohio this Fall

David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

OSU Extension and The Ohio State University’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics Department are pleased to be offering the 48th Annual OSU Income Tax Schools at eight locations across Ohio in November and December. These two-day schools are designed for individuals who have some experience preparing and filing federal and state tax returns for individuals and small businesses. Instruction will focus on federal tax law changes and on the issues that tax preparers may encounter in 2011 preparing tax returns. The schools also will include an Ohio income tax update. Highly qualified instructors will explain and interpret tax regulations and recent changes in tax laws.

The registration fee includes the workbook and other reference materials, instructor fees, meals, meeting rooms, and other expenses. Participants in the Tax Schools will receive the 2012 RIA Federal Tax Handbook and the 700 page National Income Tax Workbook (including a searchable CD containing the 2004-2011 workbook) prepared by the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation especially for the income tax schools held in Ohio and 30 other states. The National Income Tax Workbook is available only as a part of the tax school registration. Continuing education credit for Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, and Certified Financial Planners will be offered.

The tax school locations are as follows:

Dayton – November 8-9
Presidential Banquet Center, Dayton
4548 Presidential Way
Dayton, OH 45429

Columbus – November 14-15
Bridgewater Banquet & Conference Center
10561 Sawmill Parkway
Powell, OH 43065

Fremont – November 17-18
Ole Zim’s Wagonshed
1375 State Route 590
Gibsonburg, Ohio 43431

Kent – November 21-22
Kent State University Student Center
Summit Street
Kent, OH 44242

Ashland – November 29-30
Convocation Center, Ashland University
820 Claremont Ave.
Ashland, OH 44805

Chillicothe – December 1-2
Ross County Service Center
475 Western Avenue
Chillicothe, OH 45601

Lima – December 5-6
Veterans’ Memorial Civic and Convention Center
7 Towne Square
Lima, OH 45801

Zanesville – December 8-9
Ohio University-Zanesville Branch Campus Center
1425 Newark Road
Zanesville, OH 43701

The pre-registration fee for each workshop is $330 with late registration $355. The fee includes all materials, lunches, and refreshments. The first day program begins at 9:00 a.m. and adjourns at 5:00 p.m.; the second day resumes at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m.

In addition, a 2 hour Ethics session will be offered at three of the tax school locations (Kent, Columbus, & Lima) during the first evening of these three schools from 5:15-7:15 p.m. The registration fee for the ethics workshop is $60 per person. The workshop locations are:

Columbus – November 14
Kent – November 21
Lima – December 5

Complete workshop information for the 8 OSU Income Tax Schools and the 3 Ethics workshops can be found at http://incometaxschools.osu.edu. A downloadable registration form as well as on-line registration is available at this location. Information can also be received by contacting Dr. Warren Lee, Ohio Income Tax Schools Director, at 614-292-6308 or lee.69@osu.edu

Ohio Specialty Crop Producers and Local Markets: Distribution as the Missing Link

Jill Clark, Jeff Sharp and Shoshanah Inwood

Many local food systems advocates focus on increasing the number of farmers selling their products directly to consumers, but this type of direct marketing is only one strategy for increasing the consumption of local foods. Over 90 percent of all food for home consumption is acquired from retail venues (such as grocery stores) (USDA, ERS, 2010), suggesting an important strategy to increase the consumption of Ohio grown foods by Ohioans, is to focus on increasing the flow of these foods through the state’s distribution and retail market systems. This research is the first attempt at inventorying the existing produce retail-distribution structure to identify opportunities, barriers and the development needs associated with increasing the flow of Ohio grown fruits and vegetables to existing retailers and ultimately Ohio consumers. The research we report draws on our review of previous food system studies, as well as interviews we conducted with Ohio retailers, and a survey of produce distributors in the state. The goal of this work is to generate useful information that can identify next steps in scaling-up the connections between Ohio specialty crop producers and Ohio retail markets. To read full report click here

Agricultural Lenders’ Seminars

By:Glen Arnold, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Putnam County and Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension The Ohio State University

Extension has scheduled two seminars in western Ohio for Agricultural Lenders. The dates are Wednesday, November 2nd at the Champaign County Extension office in Urbana and Thursday, November 3rd at the Putnam County Extension office in Ottawa. These seminars are excellent opportunities for Lenders, Farm Service Agency personnel, county Extension Educators and others to learn about OSU Extension research, outreach programs and current agricultural topics of interest across the state.

Topics and Speakers for 2011 Seminars:

Assessment of Federal Farm and Energy Program Changes to Meet Budget Challenges Carl Zulauf Professor Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics The Ohio State University

Livestock Economics and Outlook for Ohio Farmers Chris Hurt Professor Department of Agricultural Economics Purdue University

Precision Farming – Implications for Ohio Farmers and Ag Lenders Scott A. Shearer Professor and Chair Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering The Ohio State University

Crop Inputs Outlook, Enterprise Budgets and Flexible Cash Leases Barry Ward Leader, Production Business Management Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics The Ohio State University

How Lenders Can Utilize FSA Loan Programs to Assist Beginning Farmers David Drake Farm Loan Chief USDA Farm Service Agency

The registration cost to attend one of the Ag Lender Seminars is $60.00 and the registration deadline is October 26th. Your local county extension office can provide a registration form or you can access it on the web at: http://putnam.osu.edu/topics/agriculture-and-natural-resources/forms-and-agenda/2011%20brochure.pdf