WASHINGTON — The National Grain and Feed Association and more than 60 other national agricultural groups have urged each state to increase truck weight limits on highways within their jurisdiction to a “minimum harmonized weight” of 88,000 lbs.

“Increased truck weights improve the food and agriculture industry’s efficiency and capacity to deliver essential food, feed and key ingredients which sustain our food supply chain,” the groups said in a March 30 letter to all state governors, lieutenant governors, transportation directors and agriculture commissioners. “This will become more critical if the availability of truck drivers is impacted adversely by COVID-19.”

The federal “Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act” signed into law last week expressly clarified the US Department of Transportation’s authority to allow states to increase truck weight limits on US highways and Federal Interstate Highways within their jurisdictions during the COVID-19 emergency.

“Establishing a minimum truck weight limit of 88,000 lbs would ensure that a minimum harmonized weight exists across the country and help protect against essential shipments adhering to this common increase from being impeded at state borders,” the letter noted.

The NGFA has been working to encourage consistency among state, federal and local rules that affect business operations and COVID-19 emergency response efforts. In a March 25 letter to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) spearheaded by the NGFA and signed by more than 50 other agricultural groups, the NGFA urged the agency to grant relief from federal drive time hours-of-service rules for all truck drivers hauling agricultural goods.