Boothe’s bill helps farmers

Published 10:51 pm Friday, January 31, 2014

On Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed HB 44, sponsored by Alan Boothe, R-Troy, which would allow farmers to obtain reduced annual license tax and registration fees for more than one truck tractor.

Under existing law, a farmer may obtain only one F4 farm tag, which is for trucks with gross weight of over 42,000 pounds. Boothe’s bill removes the limit on the number of tags a farmer can purchase.

“Right now, farmers are allowed only one F4 tag which allows them to haul up to 80,000 pounds,” Boothe said. “What that means is farmers have to buy an X-tag for additional hauling during the planting and harvest seasons or when moving equipment from one place to another.”

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Currently, one F4 tag costs $250 annually. Should a farmer need additional tags, those could cost up to $800 each. By removing the limitations of one tag, farmers can save as much as $550 on each tag.

Boothe said if a farmer transported a load of soybeans to market at the state docks and couldn’t unload for three or four days, he would have to sit idle during that time or pay the high fee for an X-tag to haul additional crops to market.

By allowing farmers to purchase more than one F4 tag, they can transport crops on more than one truck at a more reasonable rate.

David Cole of the Alabama Farmers Federation said trucks used to haul harvested crops and equipment are only on the road for short periods of time, generally in the planting and harvest seasons.

“The existing law treats these trucks just like common carriers that are on the road every day, year round,” Cole said. “Farmers shouldn’t have to pay a premium price for a truck tag on a vehicle that is parked much of the year.”

Cole, who is the Federation’s director of State Legislative Programs for the House of Representatives, praised Boothe for his leadership in the House and for his willingness to help farmers.

“Rep. Boothe understands the importance agriculture has to our state, especially Pike County,” Cole said. “Agriculture is our state’s largest industry. We appreciate his support of farmers.”

The bill now heads to the Senate and Cole is optimistic about its passage.

“We have encouraged our farmers to contact their senators and ask them to support HB 44,” he said.

Boothe said passage of the bill would help farmers throughout Alabama.

“It passed the House 83-0. Not one opposing vote,” Boothe said. “That was a strong show of support for our farmers. I was proud to sponsor the bill. We need to do all we can to help our farmers. And this is one thing that we can do and do now.”