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Farm Bureau: Truck regulations will have negative impact

The New York Farm Bureau is trying to have their message heard -- don't lump agricultural use vehicles in with the proposed truck traffic regulations.

"It's going to have a severe impact on agriculture," said Peter Gregg, spokesman for the Farm Bureau.

According to Gregg, the state Farm Bureau has been with this the New York State Department of Transportation for some time with hopes their concerns will be heard and taken into consideration during the writing of the regulations. However, Gregg said the farming organization has gotten no response.

"We need to make sure agriculture is not lumped in with trash trucks," he said.

The regulations do not distinguish what types of trucks will fall under the regulations. Gregg said the legislation does not designate if the unauthorized trucks are hauling trash or milk. Many agricultural vehicles also exceed the maximum length the regulations would allow.

The Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform is currently reviewing draft regulations, and has also been provided specific impacts to farm families from the regulations.

In a press release issued by the New York Farm Bureau it is stated that under the proposal the DOT will be imposing new classifications of roadways. New classifications would include "making some of the roads that network through rural farming areas off-limits to large trucks, the primary mode of transport for agricultural commodities and other products, like lumber."

According to the Farm Bureau, the DOT's reclassifications will result in wasted fuel and eventually lead to higher prices for locally produced goods.

"Until they exempt us, if the regulations go through as written we're in big, big trouble," Gregg said, adding the losses that could be accrued may easily amount to millions of dollars for the farming industry.

Citing the possibility of economic loss, Gregg also said there are environmental impacts to consider such as the waste of fuel due to driving "countless extra miles." Many area farmers supply products such as milk, fruits, vegetables and wine to New York City consumers.

"These rules will have a major, costly impact on upstate farmers, affecting the rural community," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau.

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