2011-08-18 / Community News

Waiver Extension Assists Ranchers Devastated By Drought

Temporary waiver makes transporting hay easier in times of emergency

Texas ranchers suffering from the worst one-year drought on record can continue to count on a hay transportation waiver to help feed their dwindling herds. At the request of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Gov. Rick Perry extended the waiver from August 4 to September 1 with the possibility of further extensions every 30 days as long as the drought continues. The waiver relaxes certain restrictions and permitting requirements in order to expedite the transport of hay.

“This year’s drought may become the most costly in state history for Texas farmers and ranchers,” Commissioner Staples said. “The devastation is unprecedented. Texas ranchers are in desperate need of hay to feed their herds and this transportation waiver will help in these troubled times. It is critical to employ every resource available to avoid further herd reduction, which is why I’m working with surrounding states to obtain similar waivers on any highway that stands between drought-parched Texas and available hay supplies in other regions of the nation.”

This Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) waiver temporarily suspends height, width and length restrictions on round hay bales and associated permit fees for hay carriers. Public safety remains a priority and therefore dictates that all other legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance and safety precautions continue to be in place and monitored closely for compliance. The waiver also considers alternate routing wherever possible.

Commissioner Staples is working with other surrounding states to obtain similar transportation considerations. Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas have joined the Lone Star State in increasing allowable height and width dimensions, and waiving permitting fees on oversized loads of hay en route to Texas farmers and ranchers. Commissioner Staples is also seeking partnerships and opportunities with other states to provide relief to the hardworking Texas farmers and ranchers who have suffered more than their share this year.

For information on donating, selling or locating hay or forage supplies, visit the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Hay Hotline webpage. To learn more about this temporary hay-transport waiver and explore expedited routing, call TxDOT’s Motor Carrier Division at (512) 465-3592.

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