MABA is working diligently to ensure that our membership has the tools and information necessary to continue to keep our businesses running smoothly during COVID-19. We are dedicated to keeping the agriculture supply chain fully functioning.
In an effort to keep our membership updated we have created this resource page. Information will be updated as received. Please check back frequently for updates. Information is subject to change quickly.
- June 12, 2020
Extension and Modification of Expanded Emergency Declaration
On June 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an extension and modification of its Emergency Declaration regarding hours of service (HOS) regulations. Emergency relief has been extended through July 14. However, the list of commodities included in the relief is more limited, primarily to medical items related to COVID-19.
FMCSA’s action can be found HERE. As of June 15, crop inputs will NOT be included in the Emergency Declaration. The regulatory relief will be limited to motor carriers transporting the following freight:
- Livestock and livestock feed (finished feed only; does not including feed ingredients);
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
FMCSA’s decision reflects its assessment of the current situation. As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to share concerns with FMCSA and others regarding potential logistical problems, especially as we approach Fall application and next Spring.
Seed Related Information & Resources
MABA is committed to providing our members with up-to-date information and resources about COVID-19 as it related to the agriculture industry. The American Seed Trade Association is maintaining a comprehensive site for seed-related COVID-19 information. During this time we feel it is essential to share valuable resources from our trusted partners where possible to try to reduce duplicate efforts. With this, MABA recommends visiting this ASTA site on a regular basis for seed-related info: https://www.betterseed.org/covid-19/.
Available Information & Resources To Date:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Expansion 03/18/2020
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FAQ 03/19/2020
- The Fertilizer Institute Letter to White House
- Agricultural Retailers Association Letter to White House
- Best Practices Example
- DOT Guidance on Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations
- April 9, 2020
Extension to Emergency Declaration
This Declaration extends the exemption through May 15, 2020, and further expands the relief expressly to cover liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems. CLICK HERE
FMCSA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information & Resources
Montana Department of Agriculture
Commodity Dealer and Warehouse Program Licensees
With the recent COVID -19 events that have affected our agricultural industry stakeholders, the Montana Department of Agriculture would like to inform you that the expiration date for your 2020 Commodity Dealer and Warehouse licenses will be extended from June 30, 2020 to July 31, 2020. License renewal forms will be sent to you from our offices on June 15 with a due date of July 31.
Additionally, the Department has extended the due date for annual financial statements submission from 90 days to 120 days from the end of the licensees’ most recent fiscal year.
A copy of the notice can be viewed HERE.
- March 24, 2020
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Enforcement Notice on Expiring CDLs
This Notice of Enforcement Policy, effective from March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, provides needed relief from specified FMCSRs for CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers and motor carriers using those drivers. This Notice of Enforcement Policy applies to all CLP holders, CDL holders, and non-CDL drivers whose license was issued for less than the maximum period established by 49 CFR 383.25 and 383.73 and was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020.
Waiver for States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders,
and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles
Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency
The waiver is effective until June 30, 2020 and provides important relief resulting from situations where many CDL and CLP holders are unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies. In addition, many medical providers nationwide have canceled regularly scheduled appointments to dedicate resources to the COVID-19 response. As a result, drivers are unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners.
REVISED Department of Homeland Security-CISA Guidance document
Revised Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (Version 1.1 Dated March 23, 2020)
OSHA Region VIII Compliance Assistance Newsletter
OSHA Guidance on when COVID-19 is a reportable illness and other details including temporary guidance on respiratory protection standards.
Agriculture Coalition Letter to Governors
40 national food and agriculture organizations sent a letter today to all 50 Governors requesting that they “incorporate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidance and any future amendments into their state response plan, and any critical shelter-in-place or shut down orders for their state, allowing these workers, facilities and services to continue to operate and provide necessary inputs for the food and agriculture supply chain.”
We strongly encourage you to share this letter with your state and local officials.
- March 25, 2020
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration Part 2
Today, FMCSA released a second FAQ document to provide guidance on it emergency declaration that provides hours-of-service relief to truck drivers assisting the pandemic. Both FAQ documents are attached and pasted below. The emergency declaration that kicked off everything is attached.
In this document you’ll find the types of “essential” items for the COVID-19 relief effort that are eligible for the hours-of-service relief. The “essential” items that apply to the food and agricultural sectors are highlighted.
There is a positive development in the new FAQ document. It states that wood pulp, feed and fertilizer are eligible for hours-of-service relief under the emergency declaration because they are precursor to items that are “essential” for the emergency relief effort.
The previous FAQ document listed livestock as eligible for hours-of-service relief because livestock are an immediate precursor to “essential” items for the COVID-19 relief effort. It now seems that FMCSA is dropping the “immediate” precursor requirement and allowing more precursors.
If you are unsure if your products are eligible to be considered a precursor to essential items for the COVID-19 relief effort, I recommend reaching out to FMCSA for their review.
The following links will be of interest:
- March 26, 2020
Stay at home or place of residence. With exceptions as outlined below, all individuals currently living within the State of Montana are directed to stay at home or at their place of residence to the greatest extent possible, except as allowed in this Directive. As used in this Directive, homes or residences include hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities.
Non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence are prohibited, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained.
All persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for Essential Activities or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations, all as defined below.
Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SPECIFIC INFORMATION REGARDING ESSENTIAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS. #11 in Governor Bullock’s order is specific to agriculture. MABA has spoke with Director Thomas and the Governor’s order is following the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security regarding what is “essential.”
- April 2, 2020
State Grain Lab
The state grain lab is back to full staff and resuming full operations as of Monday 3/30/2020. We appreciate your understanding last week while we took precautionary measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
FMCSA issued a three month waiver in response to the COVID-19 Emergency – for States and Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) holders operating commercial motor vehicles. The waiver allows a commercial learner permit driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle alone without having a commercial driver license (CDL) holder in the front seat with the learner permit holder. The benefit of this waiver will allow CLP drivers to continue their training, due to the closures of state departments of motor vehicle facilities.
The most recently passed stimulus bill includes Section 22003, which clarifies the U.S. Department of Transportation’s authority to allow states to increase truck weight limits on U.S. interstate highways during the COVID-19 emergency. States already had the ability to increase truck weight limits on U.S. interstate highways during natural disasters, but it was unclear if states had the authority during COVID-19 because COVID-19 may not be considered a natural disaster. As you know, states have the authority to raise truck weight limits on their state roads. The stimulus bill makes it clear that states also have the authority to raise truck weight limits on U.S. interstate highways during COVID-19 for the remainder of fiscal year 2020. A copy of the letter sent to states from ag groups can be read here.
Version 2.0 of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) published guidance designating “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers,” including those in the food and agriculture sector on pages 6-7.
The latest update includes several revisions proposed by the two private-sector leads of the Food and Ag Sector Coordinating Council (Clay Detlefsen of National Milk Producers Federation and myself). These additions include the specific inclusion in bullet #4 of employees engaged in “agribusiness support services” and “grain and oilseed handling, processing and distribution….”
35 national trade associations sent a letter to governors across the country recognizing the importance of their leadership, as well as asking them to support agriculture as they navigate decisions and policy regarding coronavirus response. As states address the challenges related to COVID-19, the importance of the entire food system and those who support it have become increasingly apparent.
- The letter addressed three key actions that governors should consider as new travel and work restrictions are enacted:
- Adoption of the Department of Homeland Security’s recent revised definition of “critical infrastructure” that includes food, agriculture and public health businesses and supporting services.
- Maintain and expand transportation capacity by encouraging states to provide flexibility on current load-limit restrictions, expanding trucking capacity while continuing to balance the critical need for public safety.
- Support transportation services such as public rest areas, take-out food services and other vital services.
- Ensure needed state testing and certification laboratories and facilities remain operational if possible, enabling the important work of maintaining food and public safety by providing access to inputs required by farmers and other applicators.
States are in a unique position to help ensure the food chain can continue to keep shelves stocked and protect the public from health threats like rodents and mosquitos. You can view the full text of the letter here.
- April 8, 2020
TSA Grants Temporary Exemption for Hazardous Material Endorsement Holders
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is granting a temporary exemption from requirements regarding expiration of TSA security threat assessments (STAs) for Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME).
For the duration of this exemption, a state may grant an extension of up to 180 days for an HME that expired or would otherwise expire between March 1, 2020, and the end date of this exemption, even if the individual was unable to initiate or complete the required STA before the expiration date.
If the state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the State-granted extension. TSA may extend this exemption at a future date depending on the status of the COVID-19 crisis.
MABA continues to work with FMCSA and state agencies to issue guidance for new drivers, seasonal drivers and new CDL endorsements.
CBP Temporarily Reducing Hours at Six Montana Ports of Entry
Due to a significant reduction in privately owned vehicle and pedestrian traffic along our northern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will temporarily reduce the hours of operation at six ports of entry in Montana beginning Monday, April 6.
With the “essential only” travel restrictions imposed on March 21 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, cross-border travel has significantly declined. Reducing the hours of operations at ports of entry along both land borders will allow CBP to continue to provide service to these communities as we work to keep our employees safe from exposure and community spread.
The affected ports of entry include: Raymond, Opheim, Morgan, Turner, Del Bonita and Piegan.
For more information click here.