Trucking regulations waived in Minnesota to support farmers during ongoing drought

As 14 Minnesota counties face severe drought conditions and are under a primary agricultural disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order that waives trucking regulations to support state livestock producers who are facing a significant decrease in the availability of hay and other forage.

The executive order allows motor carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles more time to transport the feed farmers need. It went into effect Wednesday and will be in place for 30 days.

"When Minnesota’s farmers are struggling, all of Minnesota is struggling," Walz said. "We are doing everything we can to address the challenges our farmers, ranchers, and livestock producers are facing. I am grateful to the USDA for their recognition of the deteriorating conditions here in Minnesota."

Severe drought conditions across the state have resulted in a decrease of about 10,000 acres of harvestable hay, requiring farmers and livestock producers to travel farther distances to obtain hay and forage needed to feed their livestock. Walz and other state officials have recently met agricultural leaders from across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them and visited affected areas to survey the drought and discuss its impact with farmers.

According to the governor’s office, the Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Cattlemen, Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers, and the Minnesota Milk Producers are all in support of emergency relief measures to increase access to livestock forage.

Also this week, the USDA announced a primary agricultural disaster designation for 14 counties in Minnesota due to increasingly severe drought conditions across the state. Under this disaster designation, producers in 21 contiguous counties also qualify for benefits. The USDA’s expanded disaster designation makes farm operators in primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the USDA’s declaration to apply for this assistance, which includes emergency loans.

For more information on the disaster assistance program, click here.