A wide coalition of farm groups are applauding the Wisconsin State Senate’s passage of a bill that will allow farmers to legally operate machinery on roadways this year.
By a bipartisan voice vote the State Senate approved Senate Bill 509, authored by State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and State Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi), March 11. The legislation is the result of discussions between the bill authors, the Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association, and a number of agricultural organizations.
Those groups in support of Senate Bill 509, and its companion, Assembly Bill 648, are the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Pork Association and the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.
“This bill is our top priority before the legislative session ends and spring planting begins,” said Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Executive Director of Governmental Relations. “We believe it is imperative that farmers have the ability to operate their farm machinery on our roadways legally and safely without fear of law enforcement action. This bill gives farmers that assurance.”
“This was a major step by passing the bill through the State Senate, but our work is not done,” Zimmerman said. “Farmers need to call their state representative to ask them to support the implements of husbandry legislation, Senate Bill 509.”
“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the bill authors to develop this compromise legislation and to work with us throughout this process,” said Jordan Lamb, who represents the cattlemen, soybean, pork, cranberry, potato and vegetable groups.
“This legislation does many good things,” Zimmerman said. “It clarifies the definition of what qualifies as an implement of husbandry (IOH). It creates a new definition for agricultural commercial motor vehicles. It creates a no-fee permitting system that allows farmers to legally use their machinery on roadways if they exceed weight limits without threat of hefty fines. Even better, towns and counties can opt out of the permitting system if they choose.”