We start the last month of the year with a lot of crops still in the fields and with renewal of an emergency declaration that could help get them to market. The state transportation department has extended until December 22nd its emergency trucking declaration so farmers can exceed regular limits to move their crops.
State agriculture director Jon Hagler says thousands of truckloads of crops have to be hauled to market. “I think these next twenty days are going to be critical,” he says. Hagler says a good dry spell in November after October’s rains helped farmers make progress, but not to catch up.
“It was amazing how far behind we were,” he says, “but we’re still not there. I think we’re 28 days behind on corn.”
The declaration lets farmers trucks that exceed weight limits by as much as ten percent and ignore hours of service laws. They cannot use interstate highways, though, and they must obey speed limits on bridges.
Hagler hopes farmers don’t have to wait for the ground to freeze before they can get into their fields. He hopes for enough sunshine in the next ten to 20 days to get all of the crops from the bootheel to the northern border harvested.
Bob Priddy interviews Agriculture Director Jon Hagler 5:14