Farmers require the use of roads for many different aspects of farming. Not only are goods for sale transported on roadways; farm trucks, tractors and machinery move from field to farm via roadways.
Current legislation is not up to date with the changing industry needs. For example, self-propelled implements of husbandry are not written in legislation. Other challenges with current legislation are around officers’ unfamiliarity of farmer exemptions under the Motor Vehicle Act. Much like other elements of regulatory burden and red tape, service delivery of provincial programs, such as farm plating, is inconsistent across the province.
In Fall 2018, the government passed the Traffic Safety Act. Areas addressed under this Act include vehicles and farm equipment, use of the road, licensing and permitting processes and administration. New regulations will be developed as part of the Act creation. These regulations provide an opportunity to improve the red tape as it relates to farm transportation.
Aside from regulations, the physical transportation of products and farm equipment is often troublesome. Roads, roadsides and related infrastructure across Nova Scotia are in disrepair causing safety concerns for both farm equipment operators and general public, damaged produce and equipment damage creating costly repairs. There is also concern around the deferral of maintenance to roadways and the future cost implications. In other aspects, policies on taking roads out of the regular maintenance schedule do not exist thus decisions appear to be made arbitrarily.
It shall be a standing policy of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture to be actively engaged in the development of new legislation regarding transportation as it pertains to agriculture. NSFA will also lobby Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to ensure that agriculture is a lens that is applied when considering the reclassification of roads.