To help farmers survive Kentucky’s exceptional drought conditions, Gov. Ernie Fletcher issued an executive order directing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to waive all fees normally associated with intrastate and interstate transportation of agricultural relief supplies. The order will help put the delivery of hay and other vital supplies on a fast track to the state’s livestock producers, according to the Governor’s office.

“Our farmers have faced a serious challenge to their livelihood in 2007,” says Fletcher. “We’re all very thankful for the rainfall we’ve had over the past few days. It will definitely have a positive effect on the surface drought conditions, but it’s far too late to impact the feed crisis that livestock producers face. We are therefore taking additional action to address this crisis situation which threatens farmers all across the Commonwealth.”

In late August Fletcher requested USDA disaster assistance for Kentucky farmers. According to USDA, all 120 Kentucky counties have been declared eligible for emergency loans.

Besides temporarily waiving carrier fees for hauling hay and other livestock forage, Fletcher’s order waives certain size and weight restrictions for those carriers. They will still, however, be required to obtain permits required for route verification.

“These temporary exemptions will not compromise safety,” says Governor Fletcher. “Size and weight restrictions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and law enforcement personnel at all levels will be directed to enforce all regulations in coordination with the waivers.”

In Kentucky, the year began with a brutally cold winter, followed by a late and detrimental frost. Then came the driest summer in more than a century.