Haslam Eases Truck Restrictions To Help Farmers During Drought

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 | 5:02pm

Executive order eases restrictions on trucks hauling hay

NASHVILLE – With much of Tennessee and the Southeast coping with extreme drought, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has issued an executive order to ease restrictions on trucks hauling hay.

“Agriculture is critical to our state’s economy, and rain is a critical ingredient that farmers need to keep their businesses running,” Haslam said. “This order will allow haulers to move hay across and through Tennessee efficiently, so farmers can feed their livestock during these drought conditions.”

Haslam’s executive order increases the height of hay trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours on Tennessee highways. The average round bale of hay measures seven feet across. The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity hauled per truck without a special permit. Transporters must have the proper oversize signs and escorts as required by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and trucks and their drivers must be properly licensed. Maximum weight limits outlined in TCA, Section 55-7-203 remain in effect.

The executive order will expire January 31, 2017.

Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said the governor’s decision is an important one for the agricultural community.

“Tennessee farmers have seen their share of weather-related challenges this year,” Templeton said. “I thank Governor Haslam for recognizing that farming is a tough but important business. This order will help enable livestock owners to provide the best care possible during this drought.”

Tennessee is a major producer of hay, ranking fifth in the nation in 2015, excluding alfalfa. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts that Tennessee farmers will produce 3.96 million tons of hay this year. For more information, visit www.nass.usda.gov/tn.