Waivers continue for hay haulers as TX and OK struggle with drought

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, December 30, 2011

Texas and Oklahoma remain under a state of emergency for severe drought, and a number of states continue to issue waivers to hay haulers as part of the relief effort.

Recent news reports indicate that cattle stocks in Texas were headed for record lows in December.

The Texas Department of Agriculture and its “hay hotline” has been a vital information clearinghouse during the crisis. Those seeking hay; those selling, donating or hauling hay; and waivers from states willing to lend a hand can all be found located at gotexan.org/HayhotlineHome. The hay hotline number is 877-429-1998.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently extended waivers for permit requirements, fees and legal height and weight restrictions for the transport of cylindrical hay bales in the Lone Star State. The current waiver lasts through Jan. 26, 2012, unless canceled or extended.

Visit txdot.gov/business/motor_carrier/overweight_permit/hay.htm, or call 800-299-1700 to obtain the hay-hauling permit.

Oklahoma is also a state in need. Gov. Mary Fallin recently suspended certain restrictions for hay haulers, so long as the vehicles do not exceed 12 feet in width and 13 feet 6 inches in height. Fallin’s waiver expires on Jan. 17, 2011, unless it is otherwise extended or canceled.

In addition to having four drought-stricken counties of its own, the state of Kansas is also offering drought assistance to Oklahoma and Texas.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback renewed an executive order to waive certain trucking restrictions for hay haulers, but the order has been amended to prohibit truckers from hauling oversized relief loads during nighttime hours or inclement weather. Oversized relief loads are not to exceed 12 feet in width or 14 feet in height. The order expires Jan. 27, 2012, unless renewed or canceled.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed an order on Thursday, Dec. 29, to waive restrictions and permit fees for hay haulers headed to affected regions as long as the vehicles do not exceed 12 feet in width and 14 feet 3 inches in height. South Dakota’s order is scheduled to last through the end of February unless renewed or canceled.

Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Wyoming have assisted Texas and Oklahoma with loads of hay since the summer.

Waivers were scheduled to expire in Alabama and Louisiana at the end of the year unless renewed. Wyoming officials recently renewed an order that coincides with the extension of the emergency order in Texas.

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