The meaning of “livestock” as used in the definition of “Agricultural Commodity”
In an Interim Final Rule (IFR) published on November 24, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended the definition of ‘‘livestock’’ in § 395.2 to read as follows:
“Livestock” means livestock as defined in sec. 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 [7 U.S.C. 1471], as amended, insects, and all other living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals.
Considering the expansive list of animals included in the definition of ‘‘livestock’’ in the 1988 Act, and the inclusive use of the term ‘‘livestock’’ in the statutory definition of ‘‘agricultural commodity,’’ codified in § 395.2, the most direct reading of the statute is that the exemptions be broadly applied when livestock are being transported. The Agency therefore interpreted the term to include all living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals, in addition to those animals already identified in the 1988 Act, and amended the definition ‘‘livestock’’ in § 395.2 accordingly.
This IFR clarified the definition of ‘‘agricultural commodity’’ to ensure carriers are aware that drivers transporting perishable horticultural commodities, non-processed food, or livestock, including aquatic animals, are eligible for the hours of service (HOS) exemptions in §§ 395.1(k)(1) and 395.1(v). The exemption in § 395.1(k)(1), which allows additional driving and working hours for drivers transporting agricultural commodities, is intended to facilitate timely delivery of such commodities during State-defined harvest and planting seasons. Section 395.1(v), which exempts drivers transporting livestock in interstate commerce from the 30-minute rest break requirement, is intended to protect the health and welfare of live animals.
In 2005, as part of SAFETEA–LU, Congress adopted the current definition of agricultural commodity: ‘‘The term ‘agricultural commodity’ means any agricultural commodity, food, feed, fiber, or livestock (including livestock as defined in sec. 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 [7 U.S.C. 1471] and insects), and any product thereof.’’
The effective date of the IFR is December 9, 2020.