A law set to take effect on July 1, 2023, will crackdown on “farm use” vehicle abusers.
Currently, there are certain exemptions in place for farmers to use farm vehicles on state roads with minimum requirements. These are typically vehicles weighing less than 7,500 pounds and plan to be operating along a highway for no more than 75 miles from one part of the owner’s land to another. Because these are intended for farm use only, very little is needed to register these vehicles and it allows farmers to waive many aspects of Virginia’s vehicle registration process. To identify these vehicles, farmers have taken to placing “farm use” placards on them, to allow law enforcement to know the use of their vehicles.
Unfortunately, these regulations have been abused by the non-farming public, and the DMV is set to begin regulating these tags much more strictly. The new law requires Virginia farmers to apply for farm use placards through the DMV. The placards will have an alphanumeric identification number, are nontransferable and the DMV may charge $15 for the placard, and ask farmers to disclose the size of their farms and the kind of crops produced to help verify legitimacy.
Andrew Smith, the associate director of governmental relations of the Virginia Farm Bureau, released the following statement regarding the new law:
“It’s really important to preserve this exemption,” Smith said. “The legislature, the executive branch, saw the importance of preserving it because farmers typically only use these vehicles a few weeks out of the year. Harvesting and planting season is primarily when they use it so it’s really important. We were able to do something to cut out the abuse.”
This law is one of the nearly 700 bills that Governor Younkin recently signed into effect. According to legal experts, the misuse of these tags by non-farmers has been going on for more than a decade. Hopefully, this new regulation will help close the loophole in the law and help farmers keep their regulation in place without being abused by would be opportunists. (RELATED: Youngkin Has Now Signed More than 700 Bills Into Law)