In a year marked by some of the worst drought conditions and wildfire devastation in Texas history, our farmers and ranchers need all the help they can get. Recently, I asked Gov. Rick Perry to direct the Texas Department of Transportation to waive certain restrictions for the transport of hay. Last week, Gov. Perry granted the waiver, which expires at midnight, August 4, with the possibility of a forthcoming extension if he renews the state’s disaster proclamation on the day of the deadline.
The waiver — which has been enacted numerous times in the past — makes it possible to facilitate the transport of large bails of hay to ranchers who are desperately trying to feed their herds. Recognizing that we are in a crisis situation, TxDoT has temporarily suspended permitting requirements, legal height restrictions for round hay bales, and associated permit fees for carriers of hay. Obviously, public safety remains a priority, which is why all other legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance and safety precautions are closely monitored for compliance. Alternate routing also is considered.
Emergency situations call for action and cooperation, and thankfully, Texas is known for both when the going gets tough. This most recent hay-transport waiver is more than a good idea: It’s critical to the preservation of our food supply.
For more information regarding waiver criteria and expedited routing, please contact the Texas Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Division at (512) 465-3592.