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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Farm Use or F-Tags

Farm Business Management Update, August/September 2004

By Daniel Osborne, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, SW

In Virginia, farmers have several choices when it comes to registration of vehicles used on the farm. They can get regular tags, F-tags, or post "Farm Use" on their vehicle. The right choice depends on how the vehicle's use fits within the rights and limitations of the law.

Posting "Farm Use" on your vehicle is of course the most restrictive in terms of how you are allowed to use the vehicle, but it has the least requirements for registration and fees. In order to fit within the scope of farm use, the farmer can generally only use his vehicle on the highway for the following reasons: 1) traveling between the farmer's tracts of land that are no more than 30 miles apart; 2) taking the vehicle to the repair shop for repairs; 3) taking trash and garbage generated on the farm to the landfill or disposal facility; 4) getting farm supplies from locations no more than 30 miles away; or 5) transporting farm produce and livestock on a seasonal basis for no more than 30 miles or to the nearest market, packing plant, or storage house that is no more than 50 miles away. Transporting food and other products for home and farm use is allowed if acquired while completing one of the above mentioned tasks. The good news is that no registration certificate, license plate, or decals are required; therefore, no registration fee or insurance is required. (Virginia Code 46.2-665 through 46.2-673)

With F-tags, the use restrictions of your vehicle are not as limited. A farm owner, renter, or operator may put F-tags on his vehicle that has a gross weight of 7,500 lbs. or more and use that vehicle for any transportation that is reasonably required in connection to the regular operation of his farm. "For-hire" operation does not qualify for F-tags and should be registered as a "for hire" vehicle. Non-farm, personal use is allowed by the vehicle owner and his immediate family to attend church or school, to obtain medical treatment or supplies, and to obtain family and household necessities. A registration certificate, license plates, decals, and insurance are required for F-tags, but the registration fees are only half of the cost of regular vehicles. (Virginia Code 46.2-698)

Some folks would rather not know this information, so they could claim ignorance if pulled over by law enforcement. (If you have read this far, sorry! You know too much.) For others, this information will help you know your rights, so you can make your decisions accordingly.

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