Ohio Farm Bureau is pushing to include two proposed amendments that would clarify transportation issues relative to farm and farm-related equipment in the Ohio Senate’s version of the state’s transportation budget.
The first amendment clarifies the law by allowing a person to operate vehicles such as utility vehicles (John Deere Gators for example) and mini trucks used as farm equipment on all roadways. While these vehicles traditionally have been permitted to operate just like farm machinery on public roadways, recent changes to the law have created confusion as to their use.
“A law that went into effect this year allowed for low-speed vehicles and utility vehicles to be used on limited roadways for personal use,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy. “However, these vehicles have traditionally been used in agriculture as farm machinery, and this law caused confusion on if this common practice could continue.”
The second amendment requires the director of transportation to publish timely notice of the proposal to establish a road as a “limited-access highway.” As it stands now, a public road farmers use to move equipment from field to field can suddenly be designated a limited access highway practically overnight, giving farmers no notice.
These designations then prevent farm machinery from being able to access the road as had been allowed in the past. The amendment requires the director to take public comment on the proposal as well.
“We heavily rely on the guidance from policies and issues our counties send us to best advocate for them,” Beadle said. “Some of our members have encountered these two transportation issues. Farmers have to be able to access their fields to do their job.”