Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed an executive order on Friday, July 22, 2011 allowing haulers of hay to carry larger loads in their trucks. The order comes in light of the ongoing drought, which has left some farmers without access to hay for livestock.
Current rules restrict haulers of hay to dimensions of 11 feet in width. Governor Fallin’s executive order increases those limits to 12 feet. Because a standard hay bale is six feet in width, this change doubles the amount of hay bales capable of being hauled per truck without a permit.
Additionally, for those vehicles transporting hay to livestock, the executive order temporarily suspends the requirement for an oversized vehicle permit within these limits.
“The historical drought we are now facing is having a serious impact on our entire state, and farmers are among the hardest hit,” Fallin said. “Many farmers are experiencing shortages of hay, leaving their livestock severely underfed. To try and alleviate that problem and expedite access to food, I have decided to loosen the restrictions on trucks hauling hay, so we can get as much food to market as quickly as possible.”
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said the governor’s decision is an important one for the agricultural community.
“The drought has been tough on everyone, but for many farmers it’s been financially very difficult.” Reese said. “I applaud the governor for doing everything in her power to lessen the impact of this ongoing crisis.”
Fallin said she encourages drivers to be patient and careful when on the road with these trucks.
“There are going to be some big trucks on the road and they need to travel at safe speeds, which are slower than most commercial vehicles,” Fallin said. “I’m urging all our drivers to be safe and to be patient, and to remember that these trucks are out there for a reason and performing an important service to the state.”
The executive order lasts 60 days.