Governor signs executive order helping ranchers

Gov. Doug Burgum recently signed an executive order waiving hours of service restrictions for drivers of commercial vehicles transporting hay, water and livestock to help livestock producers battling harsh drought conditions. The order also eases weight limits for those hauling hay and water to support drought-stricken ranchers.

Extreme or severe drought conditions are impacting nearly half of North Dakota after months of below-average precipitation and a recent heatwave. Livestock producers have been forced to bring in supplemental feed and water supplies from non-drought areas or move their herds to areas where forage and water are more plentiful.

“Delivering supplemental water and feed in a timely fashion is crucial for North Dakota ranchers struggling with shortages of both,” Burgum said. “With no relief from dry conditions in sight, waiving the hours of service and easing weight restrictions will ensure that commercial haulers can move the greater volumes of food and water needed for producers to maintain their livestock, while also making it easier for ranchers to move their herds.”

The order will remain in effect until further notice. All road safety and vehicle compliance regulations still apply.

Burgum also applauded U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s decision to authorize emergency haying of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in counties experiencing drought conditions of severe (D2) or higher, and in any county within 150 miles of a D2 county, beginning July 16. Burgum sent Perdue a letter supporting the request earlier made by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. Producers interested in haying CRP should contact their local Farm Service Agency office to inquire about eligible acres.

Additional drought-related information is available at NDResponse.gov.

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