Like other commodities and products, transportation is a key component of the beef industry. Live cattle and beef are moved by truck in all segments of the beef industry from pasture to plate. Some ranchers operate their own trucking fleets to ship cattle but most rely on professional livestock haulers that operate semi-truck and trailer combinations with specially designed trailers to comfortably transport livestock. Most ranchers also depend on pickup and gooseneck combinations to haul livestock to market, move cattle between pastures and conduct the necessary chores and tasks common to a working cattle ranch.
Ranchers are committed to moving cattle in a safe and efficient manner that promotes animal welfare. Livestock haulers participate in continuing education through the Beef Quality Assurance Program (BQA) to ensure hauling practices are safe for cattle and based on sound science and research. Specifically, livestock haulers adhere to the Master Cattle Transporter Guide.
As it relates to government oversight for the safe operation of trucks and trailers, CCA supports regulatory and legislative reform to be sure California ranchers and haulers do not operate their vehicles at a competitive disadvantage compared to haulers in other states. California ranchers depend on interstate commerce and cattle sent to market are frequently purchased by buyers outside the state, particularly in the Midwest. Government regulations must ensure haulers operate safely but also cattle can be moved in the most efficient manner possible to their final destination.
Recently, CCA and other state and national livestock associations have been engaged in reform of hours of service regulations that govern how long a driver can operate a vehicle before taking a mandatory 10-hour uninterrupted break. Roadway safety is paramount for livestock haulers but government regulations must also account for the need to transport live animals to their destination in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Efforts are underway to seek reform to federal hours of service regulations in a way that protects roadway safety but also allows livestock haulers to spend additional time on the road prior to taking a mandatory break.