Florida eases truck restrictions as freeze threatens crops

| Friday, January 24, 2003

Florida issued an alert Jan. 23 to the state’s agricultural producers that some commercial trucking restrictions have been eased to enable the transport of crops vulnerable to impending freezing weather conditions, The Orlando Business Journal reports.

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson's alert follows Gov. Jeb Bush's declaration of a state of emergency. The alert to the Department of Transportation calls for relaxing the weight, height, length and width restrictions for commercial vehicles transporting vulnerable crops to processing sites. An executive order easing restrictions remains in effect for 30 days.

"Transporting the vulnerable crops to processing sites without delay is necessary to save them from destruction," Bush stated in the order. "The relaxation of the restrictions … on commercial vehicles transporting these crops is necessary to protect the agricultural interests of the state."

Bronson asked Bush to issue the order when it became apparent a severe and potentially crop-damaging cold front was headed for Florida. The combination of sustained low temperatures, very low humidity and northwesterly winds of 10-15 mph is expected to seriously threaten agricultural crops throughout the state, similar to the devastating freezes of 1985 and 1989.

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