Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a proclamation last week allowing transportation of oversize and overweight loads of hay and forage through Iowa. The proclamation is intended to aid cattle producers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, where wildfires have caused a shortage of forage. More than 1 million acres in these four states have been impacted by the wildfires.
Branstad’s proclamation allows vehicles hauling hay or forage through Iowa to be oversize and overweight, without a permit, until May 16.
The proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within the state, excluding the interstate system. It also applies to loads that do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non‐primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code § 321.463 (5) (b) by more than 12.5%, and do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds.
Also, the loads must comply with posted weight limits on roads and bridges.
“The Iowa Department of Transportation will monitor the operation of this proclamation to assure the public's safety, and to facilitate the movement of trucks involved in transporting forage to the impacted states,” said Branstad, in making the announcement.
Thousands of cattle killed
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is calling attention to the opportunities for Iowans to support farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by the recent wildfires in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Tragically, seven people have died, and officials estimate that thousands of cattle have been killed by the fires. More than 2,300 square miles, much of it ag land used for cow-calf production, have burned.
“The pictures and stories of the devastation from the wildfires are heartbreaking,” notes Northey. “But hearing about the outpouring of support and donations from Iowa and across the nation is overwhelming. Some groups have already organized donations of hay and other supplies, but I do hear from folks who are interested in helping but are unsure of the best way. Fortunately, there are a number of opportunities for those who are interested to help the farmers that have been impacted by the fires.”
Other opportunities for Iowans to help
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Dream Dirt have announced they are partnering in an online auction to raise funds for victims of the recent wildfires. The online auction will take place at 10 a.m. on April 7.
Everyone is invited to participate in the auction or to donate items to be sold. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is also accepting cash donations. And 100% of donations and auction proceeds will be distributed to the affected states.
More information about the auction and how to donate is at iacattlemen.org. There are also a number of organizations in affected states accepting donations and supplies. A list of these organizations can be found here.