CDL Update

Amanda Douridas, ANR Educator Madison County

OSU Extension recently hosted State Highway Patrol officers and a local Sherriff’s Department to discuss the recent CDL changes and answer general farm hauling questions for a program offered jointly to Delaware, Madison, and Union counties. The take aways from the Q&A are summarized below.

Required Course

Any new person trying to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) must now take a course which typically runs 5-6 days a week for 4-5 weeks and costs $4,000-6,000. For example, Clark State College runs Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for 4 weeks and costs $5,500. 

Are Farmers Exempt?

The big question – are farmers exempt from needing a CDL? The answer of course is it depends. Farmers are exempt from having a CDL and medical card when hauling commodities or equipment used to raise crops within 150 miles of his/her farm. If hauling further than that or going to pick up a piece of machinery outside of that range, farmers are required to have a CDL, medical card, USDOT# and log.

Livestock going to market are exempt 150 miles from the farm and 150 miles from the processor for a total of 300 miles. 

CDLs are Based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

Any vehicle or vehicle combo over 26,000lbs requires a CDL if being used for commercial purposes. A pickup truck rated at 14,000lbs towing a gooseneck trailer rated at 14,000lbs requires a CDL if hauling anything other than farm commodities or equipment. Private for-hire vehicles between 10,001 -26,000lbs do not require a CDL but you must have a medical card, USDOT# and keep a log if traveling over 150 miles.  

What Items Require a CDL

If a farmer hauls something other than farm commodities, then a CDL is required. This includes gravel, scrap metal and dirt. Take caution when hauling equipment. If it is a piece that could have non-farm uses, such as a bulldozer or backhoe, you may get pulled over and questioned. Your answers to the questions will determine whether the troopers deem you exempt. 

Recreational activities such as hauling campers (to go camping, not for a business) and show animals (non-business) are exempt from all requirements. However, if you go pick up a bull in another state for your farm business, and travel beyond 150 miles, you are no longer exempt.

Another item of note is that farm permits are available for oversized vehicles through the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

Still Have More Questions

For additional information, explore the resources available under Roadway and Equipment Law on the Farm Office website: or reach out to your local state highway patrol post with specific questions.