Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 06:07 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum today signed an executive order waiving hours of service, weight, width and height restrictions and fees for drivers of commercial vehicles transporting hay, water and livestock to help North Dakota livestock producers affected by continuing drought conditions.

While conditions have improved in recent weeks, nearly all of North Dakota remains in some stage of drought. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor rated 2% of North Dakota in exceptional drought, 58% in extreme drought, 32% in severe drought and nearly 8% in moderate drought. The National Weather Service expects drought conditions to persist through the fall across the state, though further improvement is possible in central and eastern North Dakota.

North Dakota ranchers and livestock producers have been forced to find supplemental feed and water supplies out of state or have hauled livestock to areas where water and hay inventories are more plentiful, and increasing numbers of producers have sold off herds due to lack of feed and water supplies, Burgum noted in the order.

“With drought conditions expected to continue through the fall across North Dakota, it’s critical that haulers be able to deliver livestock and supplemental water and feed in a timely fashion to help ranchers sustain their herds,” Burgum said.

The executive order will remain in effect for 30 days and applies to both intrastate and interstate carriers. The Governor’s Office, North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Transportation worked with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to secure the waiver for interstate carriers.

All road safety and vehicle compliance regulations still apply. The executive order serves as a permit and must be carried in vehicles operating under the waiver. A copy of the order can be found on the Governor’s Office website here, and a copy is attached.