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Press Releases

June 25, 2024
New Rules for Farm Use Vehicles on July 1
~ Vehicle owners must purchase and display DMV-issued placard before July 1 ~

Contact: Michael Wallace, Jillian Cowherd, Matthew Demlein

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia State Police (VSP) encourage farmers to ensure their eligible farm use vehicles are compliant with the new farm use tag required by Virginia law that becomes effective on July 1, 2024. The new law requires unregistered farm use vehicles to display a DMV-issued permanent farm use placard on panel trucks, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 7,500 pounds.

The change was passed by lawmakers in 2023 with a one-year grace period for vehicle owners. Placards cost $15 and are good for the lifetime of the vehicle. Unofficial farm use tags will no longer be acceptable for these vehicles effective July 1, 2024.

"As farm vehicles are key to agricultural productivity, it is important that Virginia farmers can continue to use them in their operations while preventing farm use tags from being used on other vehicles inappropriately," said VDACS Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. "We hope those who have not already done so will apply for their DMV-issued permanent farm use tag today."

Anyone who owns or leases an eligible farm use vehicle must return the application form to their local vehicle-only DMV Select or full-service DMV location and pay the $15 fee. An additional $15 may be required if the owner does not already hold a title for the vehicle. Information must be provided related to the farm location, size, and commodities, along with signed statements confirming its exempt use and that the vehicle is insured. The placards are non-transferrable and must be returned to the DMV within 30 days of the vehicle being sold or no longer used for exempted purposes.

"It is our hope that these placards will help ensure the proper use of farm use tags and, most importantly, make Virginia’s roads safer," said DMV Commissioner Gerald Lackey. "There is not much time left before enforcement begins, so we encourage farmers to bring their filled-out applications to their local vehicle only DMV."

As of July 1, placards must be displayed on the front and back of vehicles at all times. A first violation is punishable by a fine of not more than $250, a second or subsequent violation shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of $250.

"We are hopeful that the 12-month grace period has allowed farmers the necessary time to familiarize themselves with these farm use tag changes," said VSP Superintendent, Colonel Gary Settle. "State police looks forward to working with the farming community to gain full compliance and ensure all vehicles have their proper tags on display."

Unregistered farm use panel trucks, pickups trucks, and sport utility vehicles obtaining a DMV placard must meet certain conditions:

  • Used exclusively for agricultural or horticultural purposes on lands owned or leased by the vehicle's owner, and not operated on or over any public highway except for specific purposes.
  • Used by the farm owner or lessee on a seasonal basis in transporting farm produce and livestock along public highways for a distance of no more than 75 miles or to a storage house, packing plant or market.
  • Owned by a farm owner when the vehicle is operated or moved along a highway for no more than 75 miles between a sawmill or sawmill site and their farm to transport sawdust, wood shavings, slab wood, and other wood wastes.
  • Drawn by a farm tractor, used by a farmer, their tenant, agent, or employee or a cotton ginner, peanut buyer, or fertilizer distributor to transport unginned cotton, peanuts, or fertilizer owned by the farmer, cotton ginner, peanut buyer, or fertilizer distributor from one farm to another, from farm to gin, from farm to dryer, from farm to market, or from fertilizer distributor to farm and on return to the distributor.
  • Making a return trip from any marketplace, transporting back to a farm ordinary and essential food, including procuring a meal for a farmer or his employees, and other products for home and farm use while engaged in activities stated above, or transporting supplies to the farm.

Placard requirements do not apply to vehicles with a securely attached machine for spraying fruit and other plants, farm machinery or tractors operated on a highway between two tracts of land or traveling to and from a repair shop for repairs, farm vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 7,500 pounds, or farm trailers and semitrailers.

Detailed conditions and more information can be found on the DMV website. Visit this helpful chart to help determine which plate or placard is right for you.

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