toppin’ outBY TIM O’BYRNE retty much every beef critter out there takes a ride on a commercial pot once or more in its life. We’re totally dependent on road transportation to move our cattle to the meat case. That’s why any time there’s an issue with our commercial cattle trucking sector, we’d better tune in. operations. Not where the trucker might live, but the address of the permits carried by the truck. One of the bigger challenges is going to be wasted non-productive time. The time spent waiting for calves to be sorted, waiting on the brand inspector, waiting on health papers, waiting in line at the sale barn and packing plants is all on the meter. This eats up valuable Hours of Service (HOS) time. WR - It’s always been difficult to coordinate a reasonable loadout and delivery because of all the things you mentioned that we’ve all experienced, the waiting. But this sounds like a lot of HOS will be burned up with the park brake on. TIM O’BYRNE Several months ago a respected commercial livestock transport company owner and cattleman Steve Hilker of Hilker Trucking in Cimarron, Kansas contacted me with a concern (the topic is related to a piece I did awhile back on MAP 21). Here’s a brief interview to get you all up to speed: WR - Steve, fill us in on the looming challenge. SH - The new requirement calls for electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) to be installed in basically all trucks built in year 2000 and after. This equipment requirement will dramatically change livestock hauling for anything moved more than 150 air miles out from the trucker’s base of 16 | WORKING RANCH | MARCH 2016 SH - If there are no new exemptions or changes to the rules, it will be a struggle. Especially in the beginning, which is scheduled for December 2017. There will have to be a new level of communication and cooperation between the shipper and the carrier. The old ways of doing things are over. WR - Is there a task force being assembled to address these issues? SH - There is, thank goodness. Which goes back to the new level of communication and cooperation. Members include shippers, producers, media and others in related industries. WR - What should we, as producers and service providers, be looking for as far as a strategy tweak? SH - Generally speaking, cooperate and communicate with your producers and shippers. Specifically, I would hope some type of an exemption or exceptions can be found and inserted for transporting livestock. It appears there was no thought given to the transportation of a living, breathing commodity. You can’t just pull over at a rest stop, which there are not enough of already, or a truck stop. There must be pens, hay and water available. The cost of livestock transportation will go much higher, especially on anything over 500 miles. It could double. WR - Thanks for the heads up, Steve, I’ll continue to follow up on this topic in a future column this summer, and we’ll get some input from the task force once they’ve saddled up and made a few welties.
Working Ranch - March 2016
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