March 20, 2020
AAI Member

This morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recognized the role of agriculture as an essential service in the US. We will continue to communicate the message that it is in the vital interest of the country that the food production system in the United States remains as uninterrupted as possible, while at the same time, to the extent possible, offering our full cooperation in any State and Federal guidelines and regulations put in place with COVID-19.

Through our conversations with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship we are interpreting this declaration to apply as broadly as possible to any production activity related to crop or livestock production.

Agribusiness related portions of the proclamation:

  • Weight exemptions similar to proclamations related to harvest
  • 90,000 lbs. maximum or 12.5% increase per axle allowed on highways but not Iowa interstates
  • Hours of Service waivers
  • Iowa Code § 321.449 pertaining to hours of service of motor carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles
  • Property Tax Payment Extensions with no additional fees or penalties

The full proclamation can be found here:


As noted in the Take Five newsletter yesterday, at the federal level, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has included workers related to agriculture production in the list of workers in the United States that are considered essential critical infrastructure workers as the nation addresses the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other concerns expressed by our members that we are currently working on:

  • Issues related to CDLs and drivers, including renewal, seasonal CDLs, and the expansion of who qualifies for hauling various agricultural products
  • IDALS inspections of facilities
  • Pesticide applicator training and renewal
  • Confirming all agribusiness suppliers and manufacturers and their employees be considered “Essential” in lieu of any “Shelter in Place” emergency declaration in the future.

Issues that are already handled under this and previous proclamations by the governor:

  • Hours of service restrictions for drivers for agriculture and food production
  • Temporary exemption from drug testing

We are very appreciative of Governor Reynolds prompt and thoughtful approach regarding her Emergency Declarations, and Secretary Naig for his leadership on agriculture issues, and also very thankful to our partners at the national organizations for their work with us to address items that require federal action. The Agricultural Retailers Association, American Feed Industry Association, and The Fertilizer Institute all sent letters to federal officials, including the President, reinforcing the critical importance of the food production system in the US.

If you have any specific concerns about how the COVID-19 response is affecting your business, that we are not already addressing, please contact anyone on our AAI staff to share those ideas and concerns.

Joel Brinkmeyer | CEO