Beginning July 1, unregistered farm vehicles must display a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued permanent farm use placard.
Farm use vehicles are those that are used for farm work or to transport agricultural products such as horticultural, viticultural, and cultivated plants and crops, nursery plants, Christmas trees, livestock, dairy products, and other farm products.
Traditionally, farmers have been able to purchase their farm use tags at a store or insurance provider outside of the DMV to indicate vehicles delegated for agricultural purposes.
Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith said he believes the change is the result of non-farmers using farm use tags.
“Years of abuse from non-farmers displaying homemade farm use tags has undeniably caused the General Assembly to pass this legislation, which will inconvenience those who are legitimate farmers,” he said.
Smith said it is also not uncommon for the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office to get complaints about individuals displaying homemade farm use tags who are buying beer in convenience stores throughout the county.
The Virginia DMV website states placards are nontransferable and are valid for as long as the owner or lessee uses the vehicle for an exempt purpose. The placard must be returned to the DMV within 30 days of the vehicle no longer being used for an exempt purpose or being sold.
The permanent farm use placard costs $15 and can be purchased at local DMVs. To get the placard, one must fill out a Permanent Farm Use Placard Application that includes farm and vehicle information and certifies that the required criteria for farm use are met.
The DMV website states that people are not required to register a vehicle or pay a registration fee for any pickup or panel truck; sport utility vehicle; vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 7,500 pounds; or semitrailer that is “used exclusively for agricultural or horticultural purposes on land owned or leased by the vehicle’s owner, which applies only to vehicles that are not operated on or over any public highway for any purpose other than” basic maintenance, farm work, or travel needs.
The DMV website also states that unregistered farm use vehicles are required to be insured under a general liability policy. The policy must include “personal injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance, under a policy of motor vehicle insurance, or under an umbrella or excess insurance policy.”
Customers cannot self-insure their farm use vehicles. “Those who fail to furnish proof of insurance within 30 days when required by a law-enforcement officer is a traffic infraction punishable by a $600 fine,” the DMV website stated.
For more information, go to dmv.virginia.gov.