Wisconsin Act 377 gives farmers the ability to operate equipment legally and safely on roadways throughout the state. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Walker on April 23, 2014 and was Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s highest priority during the just completed legislative session.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the work that the offices of Senator Jerry Petrowski and Representative Keith Ripp put into crafting this legislation that addressed the usage of implements of husbandry on roadways,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte. “Wisconsin Act 377 forges a compromise between the agricultural community and local officials that balances the need for farm equipment to operate legally and safely on roads with the need to protect our local infrastructure.”
As farm machinery was built larger, there was a widely-accepted misconception within the farming community that it was exempt from any size and weight criteria. This was never the case. While there has been limited enforcement of road weight limits on farm machinery, this is changing. Several counties own portable scales and may increase education and enforcement.
“Nearly $60 billion of Wisconsin’s economy is directly attributed to the success of agriculture so it was essential to update our law to accommodate the operational needs of the farming community,” Holte said. “It’s also incumbent upon farmers to protect the investment Wisconsin taxpayers make into our road and bridge infrastructure. That is why we believe we have reached an accord that does both.”
Wisconsin Act 377 had strong bipartisan support, passing both the Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly. It also received wide support from a number of farm and commodity organizations.
“It’s now up to farmers to talk with their local officials about how this law will be implemented in their town and county. For all of us, 2014 really needs to be a year of communication and education,” Holte concluded.
What’s in Wisconsin Act 377?
As farm machinery has modernized, one of the things that Farm Bureau sought was a clearer definition of what qualifies as an Implement of Husbandry (IOH). Act 377 does that, and it also creates a new definition for Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicle (Ag-CMV).
Act 377 establishes height, length, weight and width parameters to better represent the size and use of modern machinery that at times needs to be operated on roadways.
A no-fee permitting system has been put in place to address both our farmers’ need to get their machinery from farm to field and local officials’ responsibility to protect the taxpayer investment put into our roads and bridges.
How can I find out more?
There are many components to Wisconsin Act 377, so please use these quick links to find the information that you need to better understand how the law might impact you.