Drought leads to changes in hay transport

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Citing widespread drought, low humidity and high temperatures as factors leading to a shortage of livestock feed in pastures and baled hay, Gov. Mark Mead signed an emergency executive order Sept. 22 that is valid through Nov. 30.

“Emergency relief permits must be issued to relieve the impact of the ongoing drought on the state’s livestock industry and its resulting detriment to the economy and general welfare of the state,” it says.

Order 2021-7 allows drivers transporting oversized loads of “baled livestock feed” to apply for an emergency relief permit to alleviate the current “inadequate forage for Wyoming’s livestock.”

The order states that about 33 percent of Wyoming’s land “is presently affected by moderate drought conditions and an additional 64 percent is affected by severe or extreme drought conditions.”

The oversized loads can be up to 12 feet wide or 15 feet high with special lighting requirements for traffic safety. Under state law the legal limits are 8.5 feet wide and 14 feet high.

Under the emergency permits, loads can be transported over state highways two hours before sunrise and two hours after sunset. At dark, the vehicles must have amber clearance lights on each front corner and a rear clearance light on the rear corner of the load or the vehicle – whichever is wider. They must also have a 4-inch revolving or flashing amber light that is visible from at least 1,000 feet in front of the vehicles.

Emergency relief permits are available from Wyoming Highway Patrol and must be carried for the permit’s and emergency’s duration, the executive order says.

“The permits are valid for movements of baled livestock feed to a destination within Wyoming or to a destination in another state that has declared an emergency for livestock feed,” it says.

Gov appoints Ag advisor

On Sept. 20, Gov. Mark Gordon announced a change in his administration’s Natural Resources policy team. The new agriculture policy advisor is Kate Barlow, a Wyoming native who served as lead agriculture policy advisor for U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and Cynthia Lummis.

Barlow replaces Joe Budd, who departed to attend law school.

“I’m thrilled to bring Kate’s breadth of knowledge on natural resource issues and deep ties to Wyoming’s agriculture communities to our office,” Gordon said. “Her understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our producers has earned the respect of those working in agriculture and will benefit all Wyoming citizens.”

Barlow grew up on a ranch near Gillette and earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Wyoming. She served as Sen. Lummis’ lead policy advisor on agriculture, food safety, trade, judiciary, labor, social issues and Indian affairs.

Previously, she advised Sen. Enzi on agriculture, trade and judiciary issues. She was the Senator’s Finance Committee advisor for the passage of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA), reviewed and vetted all judicial nominations and provided advice on legislative strategy.

“I am excited to join the governor’s team and look forward to working hard for the state of Wyoming,” Barlow said.