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Farm equipment regulation changes up for public hearing in Madison

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A John Deere 4450 tractor with a manure spreader going to the field from a dairy farm, Elba, Genesee County, New York, USA Pollinator at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
A John Deere 4450 tractor with a manure spreader going to the field from a dairy farm, Elba, Genesee County, New York, USA Pollinator at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - A major bill that would modernize the way that heavy farm equipment is regulated in the state will be up for a public hearing today in Madison.

The bill is SB 509, and is better known as the Implements of Husbandry Bill. The bill is scheduled for a joint meeting of both the State Senate and Assembly's Transportation Committees.

The bill is authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi). Petrowski says the bill makes much needed changes to outdated laws that have not accounted for increasingly large, heavy and complex farming equipment. "Over the past 30 years, agriculture equipment has grown a lot larger, to haul more weight, to be more effective and efficient, and the statutes haven't kept up with it."

The measure proposed in the bill were jointly discussed over the last year by a diverse group of stakeholders including state and county officials and representatives in the ag industry. "They met around the state, they met numerous times in Madison, and came up with some agreements that now we are moving forward."

The bill creates a new size and weight envelope, and a statewide no-fee permitting system for equipment that exceeds the increased allowable weight. Petrowski says today's hearing is one more step towards getting a vote on the bill. "I expect that most of the people that come in to testify will say that this is a compromise. We all had to give something to come up with something that we can move forward with in the state of Wisconsin."

The hearing starts this morning at 11am at the Capitol Building.

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