NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed an executive order allowing haulers of hay to carry larger loads in their trucks as long as they observe safety requirements. The order is in response to drought and extreme weathers conditions in Texas and across the Southeast, which has left some farmers without access to hay for livestock.
“It’s been a tough year for farmers across the Southeast, and we want to be responsive to their needs,” Haslam said. “This order will ensure that much needed hay can be shipped safely and without delay through Tennessee and along our major interstate corridors.”
Gov. Haslam’s executive order increases the gross vehicle weight to 95,000 pounds, not to exceed 20,000 pounds per axle load, for semi truck/trailers. The order also increases the height of trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours.
The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard six- to seven-foot round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity being hauled per truck without a permit. The executive order is in effect for 60 days.
Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said the governor’s decision is an important one for the agricultural community.
“The governor’s order will help farmers in our own state who may need hay, and it will ensure that market supply and demand is met,” Johnson said. “Tennessee farmers have seen their share of weather related problems this year, and I applaud the governor for recognizing that farming is a tough but important business in our state and across the region.”
Tennessee is a major producer of hay, ranking 5th in the nation. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast that Tennessee farmers will produce 1.9 million acres of hay this year, excluding alfalfa, for a total of 4.3 million tons. For more information on Tennessee’s expected crop harvest, visitwww.nass.usda.gov/tn.