WASHINGTON — The National Grain and Feed Association urged US governors in a letter dated April 6 to adopt measures to allow the issuance of new commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) during shutdowns or reduced operations of state motor vehicle offices in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We are concerned that if driver’s license agencies continue to not issue new CDLs or limit service, trucking capacity may be inadequate to ensure continuity of operations for human and animal food supply participants,” the NGFA stated.

Seasonal CDLs, restricted agricultural CDLs and CDL endorsements for new hires are particularly important during the busy spring planting season because the agricultural industry hires seasonal drivers to help in the timely delivery of farm supplies to farmers and ranchers, the NGFA emphasized.

“The agricultural industry depends on a steady flow of new (CDL) drivers to maintain its supply chain,” the NGFA said. “Often, the agricultural industry serves as a pathway for many of the nation’s full-time truck drivers, thus the loss of a process to issue new CDLs may impact the food and agricultural industry disproportionately hard.”

The NGFA urged governors — if they have not already done so — to create alternative online or appointment-only processes to issue new CDLs, or to issue an emergency and temporary alternative process to enable new drivers to obtain licenses, if necessary.