Posted for Mike Austin...
The size and weight of agricultural equipment and its potential impact has resulted in new recommendations for Implements of Husbandry on public roads. The recommendations come from a study group that was formed in cooperation of the Wisconsin DOT and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. The study group consists of stakeholders from various transportation and farm organizations, equipment manufacturers, law enforcement, local town and county officials and the UW Extension.
Two of the more challenging issues that have come up from the hearings is the new recommendations on the weight and width of farm equipment on public roads and bridges. At the hearing I attended in Green Bay 25% of the 300 farmers in attendance said that under the new regulations their farm equipment would not be in compliance. They also were concerned about getting authorization if they were not in compliance, especially if they farmerd in numerous townships or even counties.
Others questioned the value of some best management practices such as temporary one way traffic and if it would really save wear and tear on the roads. The town and county officials countered by saying that some thing has to be done. The cost of fixing rural roads continues to rise while budgets continue to shrink. They also reminded that the roads on for the use of all residents not just farmers. All did agree on the economic impact of agriculture and that they did not want to stymie the industry, but added that the issue of road maintenance has to be addressed.
No one left the the meeting fully satisfied and are hopefully that some tweaking of the recommendations will be made before they are sent to the state legislature.
Two more hearings are scheduled for this week and all citizens can share input on the DOT website up to September 8th. It is after that time that that the study groups will reconvene and review all hearing testimony before sending their recommendations on the the state legislature.
Image courtesy of: The Forbes Show - Creative Commons License 2.0