Donations of hay to ranchers affected by this week’s wildfires are pouring in from fellow ranchers. Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma officials report activity has been brisk, and the efforts are helping save starving cows and give support to ranchers struggling in the aftermath of the fires.
The Governors from Texas and Kansas have issued executive orders suspending restrictions for trucks hauling hay and supplies to the wildfire affected areas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today sent a letter the Chairman of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) suspending the permitting requirements, legal height restrictions and associated permit fees for carriers transporting round bales of hay to Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Potter, Roberts and Wheeler counties. This waiver applies to these eight counties as well as any Texas county through which transport is necessary to reach the disaster response area.
“Due to the ongoing disaster caused by wildfires, livestock producers in these counties are experiencing forage and hay shortages,” reads the letter. “To facilitate the transportation and to ensure that state regulation is not an unnecessary barrier to the emergency transport of hay, I hereby direct you to suspend the permitting requirements and legal height restriction for cylindrical (round) hay bales, as well as associated permit fees, for carriers transporting round bales of hay to these counties.”
To ensure the safety of the traveling public, TXDMV will require carriers transporting loads exceeding 14 feet in height to contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Motor Carrier Division at (800) 299-1700.
In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order Thursday to wave certain motor carrier regulations on trucks hauling livestock feed and fencing.
The declaration applies to motor carriers directly participating in relief efforts. It eliminates some weight restrictions on trucks and allows loads of hay up to 12' wide and 14' 6" tall.
"Even as we continue the fight to contain and defeat these fires, this executive order assists and expedites the arrival of recovery supplies as our communities begin to rebuild in the wake of these wildfires," said Brownback.
In Texas, Parker County rancher Ramey Keeth told KHOU that his Facebook post seeking hay donations has generated more than 1,200 hay bales so far, with more on the way. A single bale of hay can cost $40 to $75 or more, and it can feed 10 cows for about a day.
"Right now, trucks to haul the hay and feed to go on those trucks, that's the most desperate need," Keeth said.
Here is how you can help producers in states impacted by wildfire:
Click the icons above to learn more about active fires. Find the full National Fire Situational Awareness map here.