Licensed to Haul: Critical Requirements for Milk Transporters
Anyone who tells you that “transport is transport” is not giving you the full picture; the reality is that many goods, especially perishable food items and hazardous goods, require special licensing for safe, legal transport. It’s not just a matter of best practice, either; the consequences for unlicensed carriers are often strict and may include dumping a whole tank. That’s why producers should care as much about finding the right person to haul their goods as they do about production itself.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state, so for the most relevant information you should refer to your own state resources for specific guidelines. To help give you a sense of what to look for, though, here’s an overview of licensing requirements, so that you know what questions to ask when considering carriers. After all, your precious cargo is in their hands!
The Licensing Process
Most U.S. states require that milk haulers possess a valid permit or license to transport dairy. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but typically include paying a fee and require participation in a training program and/or passing an exam to demonstrate competency. In some states, drivers must recertify every 1-2 years. Drivers must be aware of proper procedures for collecting milk and samples to ensure food safety and to prevent contamination, and they must demonstrate their understanding to the satisfaction of Regulatory Agency representatives, in order to be licensed.
What to Look For
Ask carriers if their drivers are licenced and certified to sample and transport milk in your state. Companies based in neighboring states should provide proof of certification to haul milk in your state – not just the state in which they are based (usually this is easy to obtain, and may only require an inspection to ensure that the hauler meets comparable standards).
Here is a sample overview of some of the main requirements, by state:
- Connecticut – Haulers must possess a valid permit and inspection report.
- New Jersey – To be licensed, milk haulers must complete the required forms and pay a fee.
- New York – Haulers must complete required forms, pay a fee, and pass both a written and a practical exam.
- Ohio – (same as New York)
- Pennsylvania – (same as New York)
- Vermont – (same as New Jersey)
Trust is Critically Important
Many states set minimum prices for milk purchased from producers. How much farmers are paid depends heavily on the care that the hauler takes when they pickup the milk at the farm and prepare the relevant samples. Haulers must take great care to ensure that they accurately measure and record the quality and quantity of milk collected from each producer, obtain samples representative of the whole batch, and strictly adhere to all sanitary procedures. The failure to do so would cost producers big bucks, which is why it makes no sense to go with a subpar milk hauler.
The driver is also your main point-of-contact with milk testing facilities, and plays a crucial role in ensuring safety and freshness. Any cross-contamination or failure to provide required documentation for an inspection puts the whole load at risk of being discarded, which can mean huge losses of potential income. That’s why it’s critically important that producers feel confident in their hauler, and ensure that they have the proper credentials to transport milk safely and legally.
Choosing a reliable hauler is crucial to ensuring that you get the most out of milk production. When evaluating potential carriers, consider more than just the price tag; after all, choosing the wrong carrier can mean paying more in the long run if you’re not getting top-dollar from every pickup.