The exact regulations for registering your truck as a farm truck may differ by state. It is necessary to always confirm precisely what the rules are where you live. Farm use license plates aren’t only restricted to trucks, they can also include tractors, trailers, and other large farm machinery.
What You'll Learn Today
What is Considered a Farm Truck?
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, for a truck to be a farm vehicle it must be an ordinary truck or another articulated motor vehicle that is:
- Registered with a license plate issued by the State of registration which identifies the truck as a farm vehicle recognizable to law enforcement officials.
- Used by the owner, employees, and family members of the ranch or farm.
- Used for agricultural purposes such as the movement of supplies to and from the ranch or farm, or of machinery, livestock, or other agricultural commodities.
- Not used as a for-hire vehicle except by a tenant who is transporting the landlord’s share of a crop as part of a crop share agreement.
- A gross weight or combination gross weight rating as laid out in the Federal Regulations.
- A minimum weight of 6,000 lbs. Gross vehicle weight rated at a minimum of 10,000 lbs on the registration. Farm Tractors usually require to be registered at a minimum of 40,000 lbs gross vehicle weight.
A farm vehicle could be a pickup truck, tractor, van, trailer, or another piece of specialist farm equipment such as a baler.
Insurance for a farm truck differs from that of a commercial truck, and this influences the cost of the insurance and the cover given by it.
Depending on the details of the insurance, it may be that the farm truck can only be used on the farm property. If a farm truck is to be driven on public roads, the coverage level of the insurance must reflect this. The same applies if the vehicle is going to be used for private, personal use.
How Do You Get A Farm Truck License Plate?
In order to get a farm truck license plate, you must fulfill the necessary registration and licensing requirements.
This means that the vehicle can only be used for farm use and the transportation of the farmer and their other family members. This includes a portion of personal use as laid out in the regulations.
The farmer may loan the vehicle fitted with farm plates to others and receive a payment in kind, such as produce. They are, however, not permitted to receive any monetary reward for such a loan.
Farm plate fees are set according to the weight of the vehicle and are valid for 6 or 12 months, depending on the type purchased.
In certain states, there may be special farm plates that are used under specific circumstances, such as transporting crops between the field, grain elevator, silo, and barn or moving livestock, or bedding from a field to a barn.
The price of special farm plates is normally very nominal, but insurance proof will be required.
For vehicles that haul milk from the farm to a first delivery point, a milk plate may be used. Similarly, for lumber operations, a log plate can be acquired.
Any vehicle weighing in excess of 8,000 pounds or one that is towing a non-recreational trailer of any size or tractors that are not using some form of farm plate must display an Elected Gross Vehicle Weight (EGVW).
The specific requirements and types of plates available can differ from state to state, so it is necessary to ensure exactly what is required where you live.
Contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or equivalent for your state to find out the exact regulations, cost, and purchasing methods in your area.
What Markings Are Needed on a Farm Truck?
In order to allow farm vehicles to be easily identifiable, they must display the correct markings.
Farm trucks, tractors, and other farm vehicles that use public roads must have the correct form of vehicle license plate and possibly a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number on the power unit on the truck.
Farming implements such as tractors, trailers, wagons, and other implements used for the transportation of farm-produced products are exempt from needing a USDOT number.
For trucks meeting the commercial vehicle status according to the federal definition, then the company’s name and a USDOT number must be displayed on the sides and cab of the truck. This must be clearly readable at a distance of 50 feet and be in a contrasting color. Other requirements may be required depending on the state.
The way a vehicle is categorized will depend on how it is used. All implements of husbandry must display an SMV sign (Slow Moving Vehicle) and have at least one red light at the rear of the vehicle and a white light in the front. They should also have retro-reflective tape to make them easy to see in dark conditions by other road users.
On other farm equipment, it is good to remember that certain markings, reflectors, and lights are also necessary. In this video, see how this should be done:
What Does Having a Farm Tag Mean?
A farm tag is simply a registration plate that identifies a vehicle as being registered as a farm use vehicle and could be for a truck, tractor, or another piece of equipment used for farm work such as a trailer.
In some states, there are different types of farm tags. A “Farm Use” tag limits the vehicle or piece of equipment from being driven on the highway except under certain circumstances such as:
- Crossing over the highway.
- Taking the vehicle to and from a repair shop for repairs.
- Taking refuse generated on the farm to a disposal facility.
- Traveling along the highway for not more than 75 miles between different parts of a farm.
- Traveling along the highway for not more than 75 miles to obtain agricultural or horticultural supplies, e.g., animal feed, seed, fertilizer, or other chemicals.
Vehicles with F-tags are slightly different and have fewer limitations. They can be used to:
- Take produce from the farm to market or other processing or sales point.
- Get any supplies, equipment, tools, or other materials necessary for use on the farm.
- Take equipment, supplies, produce, or other farm materials to another farm with the mutual agreement of the owner of that farm.
- Move livestock.
- Move forest products that originated on the farm.
Non-farm use of vehicles displaying farm use or f-tags carries a fine, and the owner of the vehicle can be prosecuted.
Non-farm activities that are permitted by f-tag vehicles may include personal use of the owner and immediate family to: get supplies, attend church, go to school, get medical treatment or buy household or family necessities. There is also often a mileage limit applicable.
Getting the vehicles you use on your farm registered as farm vehicles has some advantages. The license cost is less, and the vehicles can usually use farm diesel (red, purple, etc.).
The criteria, restrictions, and categories for farm vehicles differ by state, so it is necessary to find out what all of the regulations are where you live.
Please note that this article is meant only as an overview and is in no way meant to reflect the full facts, regulations, or legislation regarding any legal aspects mentioned at any level. Complete information must be sought from the appropriate official bodies.
To learn more about farm trucks or many other interesting farm-related topics, take a look at our other articles.