30,000-lbs Farm Plate  80,000-lbs Gross Weight

Can you legally gross 80,000-lbs

with a 30,000-lbs farm plate in Indiana?

If you are an Indiana farmer with a semi-tractor and trailer hauling your own products, you can legally plate your tractor with a 30,000-lbs farm plate from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branch and haul your own loads on Indiana state roads and Indiana Interstate highways with a gross weight of 80,000-lbs.

However, as with many too-good-to-be-true things in life, there are caveats to running with a 30,000-lbs Indiana farm plate:

  • All loads must originate from your farm and must be products belonging to you.  You can haul grain from your farm to the elevator and to other locations in Indiana.  You can also haul grain from your fields to your grain bins and farm machinary from field to field and back to the yard, or to other Indiana locations.
  • Once you have hauled a load from your farm and unloaded it, you cannot pick a load up of any kind and bring it back to your farm.  Your trailer must be empty on the return trip.  (You can haul loads from the fields back to the yard, or return with rejected loads from the elevator. These are loads originating on your farm).  If you pick up a load and bring it back to the farm and are caught with your hands, feet and derriere in the cookie jar, so to speak, you will probably be weighed and fined for the entire weight of the tractor, trailer and load.   ie: if your tractor, trailer and load weigh 56,000-lbs, you will be fined on the basis of being 56,000-lbs overweight, which isn't good.
  • As with all farm-plated tractors, you cannot legally haul loads For-Hire.  If you haul a load for pay from the grain elevator, as an example, your farm 30,000-lbs or 78,000+ plate is no good.  You must plate your tractor commercially with a BMV plate if you are going to haul within state, or an IRP plate if you are going to cross state lines.  In addition, if you are hauling For-Hire, you will need to register either for Indiana fuel stickers, or for IFTA stickers if you are crossing state lines.  You will also be required to register for a USDOT number and, if crossing state lines, Unified Carrier Registration (UCR),
  • When you haul grain, you are allowed 10% overweight over the 80,000-lbs on state roads.  You may be limited to a lower weight on county roads, such as 73,280-lbs + 10% over (be careful of the bridges, though).  You can travel on Indiana Interstate highways with a 30,000-lbs farm plate, but you cannot exceed 80,000-lbs as there is no allowance for overweight with a 30,000-lbs farm plate on Indiana  Interstates. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones and are stopped and weighed after going on the Interstate and weigh over 80,000-lbs, you will be fined for the excess weight over 30,000-lbs.  You could end up with a $10,000 fine and have the tractor and trailer impounded until the fine is paid.

A 30,000-lbs Indiana farm plate runs $202.75 for a full year + $189 excise tax for 12 months - this tax reduces monthly - making a total of $391.75.  If you have a county wheel tax, this needs to be added to the cost of your plate.

A 78,000+ Indiana farm plate will run you $682.75 for the plate for a full year + $654 excise tax, again for 12 months but will reduce monthly depending on when you go to the license branch, + the county wheel tax if there is any.

If you decide to plate your tractor with a regular commercial plate from the BMV license branch, this will allow you to travel anywhere inside Indiana.  As long as you stay within the state borders, you will be able to haul any non-hazardous load (but not household goods loads).  For this, you will need to register proof of liability insurance with the state, apply for a USDOT number and register for Indiana fuel tax.  If the title of your tractor shows you have owned it for more than 60 days at the time you apply for a plate, you will need to show that you have submitted a 2290 Federal Highway Use Tax form to the IRS on your tractor (above 54,000-lbs gross) for the current year.  When you file your 2290 Federal Highway Use Tax form, you will need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) Federal ID number.  Contact us, we can apply for an EIN, register you for a USDOT number and apply for an Indiana fuel permit. 

If you cross state lines with a farm plate, make sure the plate matches the gross weight of your tractor, trailer and load.  You will also need to have a USDOT number and register for IFTA fuel stickers.  Crossing state lines requires you to register for UCR - Unified Carrier Registration.  Again, you can legally haul only your own products or items across state lines with farm plates.

If you plan to haul loads for pay across state lines, you will need a USDOT number, have an IRP license plate, register for IFTA fuel tax and file your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) if you are hauling exempt commodities.  If you are going to haul items for pay that require MC authority across state lines such as fertilizer, you will need Federal Motor Carrier MC Authority.  The state office that issues IRP license plates will need to see that you are legal to haul loads when the plate is issued.  This involves many things.  You may want to separate your trucking business from your farm business because of liability issues and form an LLC or Corporation to place your truck into.  This can easily be done, but you need to be aware of additional IRP office requirements if you do this.  The additional requirements by both the IRP office and IFTA could end up being a pain in the backside.   Contact us if you plan to haul loads For-Hire across state lines and we should be able to set you up with the requirements and items needed to start hauling loads.
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