Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Farm Use Tag

I recently was reading an email newsletter from the Delaware  House of Representatives that addressed "Farm Use" tags on alleged farm vehicles.  Now I have written about, what I view as a problem, with the use of these tags.  At that time I was concerned about the safety issue with the watermelon buses that are so popular in our area.  House Bill 122 will put a $10 registration fee for a "FV" tag to replace the farm use tag.  It is a shame that farmers have abused the farm use tag for it to come to this.  We all know once the State begins issuing a tag, that $10 registration will go by the wayside in a couple of years and an annual fee will replace it followed by inspections.  However I agree something has to be done about it.

From the Delaware House of Representatives

Curtailing the Misuse of Farm Vehicles:
Farmers are currently allowed to operate vehicles on their properties and in the general vicinity of their operations using plastic "Farm Vehicle" tags available at any supply store, but that will change in about six months.
House Bill 122 (as amended) was approved by the House this week and is heading to Gov. Markell for his expected signature. The measure will replace the non-specific plastic tag with a new "FV" tag that will be numbered and registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles.
The bipartisan bill is supported by the Delaware Farm Bureau and grew out of repeated complaints about abuses. Downstate legislators regularly receive calls that the tags are used by non-farmers. Additionally, authorities have no way of identifying farm vehicles that violate traffic laws or run tolls.
The new tags will be limited to farm vehicles and trailers owned and used exclusively by farmers who derive at least $1,000 of their annual income from actively farming a minimum of 10 acres. Such vehicles can only be legally operated for personal or agricultural use within 20 miles of the farm. A one-time $10 registration fee will apply.
While exempt from state inspection, a farm vehicle or trailer with an FV tag must be equipped with a functioning stop light, turn signals and brakes.
During debate Thursday, State Rep. Dave Wilson, R-Cedar Creek Hundred, said while he supported the bill, he was concerned about a flurry of late objections he received about it. He said more than a dozen farmers contacted him recently because they had no proof-of-ownership of some of their farm vehicles.
"In many cases, (farmers) have lost the title or destroyed the title because they never intended to register it ..., so my question is: 'How are they going to show proof-of-ownership?'" he said.
State Reps. Wilson, Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, and Ron Gray, R-Selbyville, preferred to delay the bill briefly until officials with the Division of Motor Vehicle officials could weigh-in on the issue. Ultimately, the House decided to move forward, with Reps. Wilson, Briggs King & Gray not voting on the legislation.
State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Lewes-Milton, was the only House member to oppose the measure, which passed 34 yes, 1 no, 3 not voting, and 3 absent.

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