Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

New Law Removes License Plate Requirement Jan 1, 2020

It's our pleasure today to share good news with our members.  It's news that will save you money and time.  

Effective January 1, 2020 you will no longer be required to register and display the FT or FS license plates on any fertilizer trailers or self-propelled spreaders/sprayers.  This year IFCA initiated legislation (HB 2669) to remove the registration requirement that has been in effect for decades.  

KJ Johnson, IFCA’s Director of Government & Industry Relations, successfully managed the legislation through the process, securing unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and Governor Pritzker signed the bill.  It is now Public Act 101-0481.  

We extend a big thanks to the bill sponsors Representative Mike Unes (R-Pekin) and Senator Neil Anderson (R-Moline) for their leadership, and also the bill co-sponsors including Representatives Keith Sommer (R-Morton), Mike Marron (R-Danville), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) and Senator Jason Plummer (R-Vandalia).  Please call their offices or send them a written note to express your appreciation for their help on this successful effort.  Their contact information is listed at the bottom of this Alert.  

IFCA also worked with the Illinois State Police, Secretary of State and IDOT on this legislation, and we appreciate the great relationship IFCA has with these state agencies.  It has taken several years to lay the groundwork to achieve passage of this legislation to relieve our members of this regulatory burden. 

Here is what this means for our industry:

1.  Fertilizer trailers and self-propelled floaters and sprayers remain implements of husbandry in Illinois, and as such they continue to be exempt from sales tax. 

2.       Because the bill's effective date isn't until January 1, 2020, this fall you must continue to display your current license plates on your ammonia nurse tank trailers or dry buggies if they are operated on a public highway.  If you had licensed any of your self-propelled floaters or sprayers in order to operate them laden with load on the highway, you must also continue to display the plates this fall and burn clear, taxable diesel fuel in these vehicles (you can still apply to IDOR for a refund on the gallons of taxable diesel you burn in field application).  Once January 1, 2020 arrives you can remove the plates and burn dyed fuel in self-propelled spreaders and sprayers but you must still adhere to the parameters in #5 below.    

3.       The Secretary of State’s office confirmed with IFCA that they will NOT mail out any registration renewal forms in December 2019 for the estimated 28,000 registered ammonia nurse tanks or other fertilizer trailers and the currently registered self-propelled spreaders or sprayers.  Normally, all of those renewals would have been required this December, along with the $13 fee for each trailer and $250 fee for each spreader/sprayer, in order to be operated on the highway.  

4.       Once you put your fertilizer trailers, buggies and spreaders away at the end of the fall season or on December 31, 2019, you can take off the license plates.  It’s ok to shed a few tears (of joy).  

5.       Self-propelled floaters and sprayers must continue to operate on public highways within the parameters below, in order to be considered implements of husbandry:

a.       They cannot exceed 36,000 lbs whether empty or loaded;

b.       They cannot exceed 12 feet in width;

c.       They cannot exceed 30 mph;

d.       They must be within a 50 mile radius of their point of loading; 

e.       You should not use these self-propelled vehicles to pull trailers—they are not commercial motor vehicles. 

Failure to adhere to these parameters, if you are stopped by law enforcement, means that technically that these vehicles are no longer an implement of husbandry and have crossed the threshold to a commercial motor vehicle meaning all the laws pertaining to CMVs apply (such as pre and post trip inspections, CDL for the driver, etc).  The best advice we can give is don’t operate over 36,000 lbs, and don’t speed and draw attention to yourself. 

If you have any questions about this new law, please call our office and talk to any one of our staff. 

What do with the old plates come January 1, 2020?  If you want to get creative with your pile of license plates, stay tuned for details on an IFCA contest for the most creative design or use of the old plates.  At the IFCA Convention on January 21-23, 2020, we will award first, second and third place prizes to our members who send us pictures of their creative or artful displays of the old plates and/or creative disposal ideas for the plates.    

Bill Sponsors

Rep Mike Unes:  309.620.8631; 19 S. Capitol Street, Pekin IL 61554 or

Sen Neil Anderson:  309.736.7084; 1523 47th Ave, Suite 2, Moline IL  61265

Sen Jason Plummer:  618.283.3000; 310 W. Gallatin Street, Vandalia IL  62471

Rep Keith Sommer:  309.263.9242; 121 West Jefferson, Morton IL  61550

Rep Mike Marron:  217.477.0104; 7 E. Fairchild St., Danville IL  61832

Rep (Ms.)Tony McCombie:  815.632.7384; 9317B IL Rt 84, Savanna IL  61074