By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Ross & Stevens
The WisDOT, in partnership with DATCP, convened an "Implements of Husbandry" (IoH) Study Group earlier this year. This group involved over 20 stakeholders representing various transportation and farm organizations, equipment manufacturers, law enforcement, local officials and the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension and developed a series of recommended changes to Wisconsin's size and weight limits for IoH. After a series of statewide Town Hall meetings, the study group presented its final recommendations for legislative changes to the IoH regulations to the State Legislature. (Go to http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/business/ag/index.htm to review the final recommendations.)
State Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) and State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) are working on legislation to implement changes to the IoH statutes, as recommended by the study group. Although there is not a bill draft available yet for review, we expect to see limitations placed on IoH related to width, weight, length and height. Under current law, IoH are limited to a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pound and a per axel vehicle limit of 20,000 pounds per axel. We expect the Legislature to propose increasing those weight limits. In addition, we expect limitations with regard to width to focus on safety issues such as lighting and escort vehicles for certain widths. However, the WPVGA has been working very closely with the legislative authors to ensure that any problems with wide potato harvest equipment are clearly addressed in a manner that is workable for Wisconsin farmers.
This legislation is expected to be introduced before the end of the 2013 calendar year and is expected to be considered by the State Legislature early in 2014. We will provide analysis of the specific recommendations when the bill draft is available for review.
This article reprinted by permission from the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, 820 N Main Street Suite D Juneau, WI 53039. 800-947-7379 http://www.pdpw.org