A proclamation of agricultural emergency was signed by Gov. Vilsack on October 6, which suspends weight limits for hauling grain on Iowa roads. "That's good news for Iowa farmers," says Tim Recker, a northeast Iowa farmer who is vice president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
This order will last for 30 days and covers Iowa farmers and grain haulers who are transporting loads up to 90,000 pounds. "That means we are going to be able to haul our corn and soybeans to get the 2006 crop put away this fall in a more efficient and timely manner," says Recker.
This proclamation does not apply to Interstate highways, only state highways in Iowa. "On the Interstate highway system, you still have to abide by the normal rules on weight limits," he points out. "Also, regarding bridge weight limits, you will not be able to go across embargoed bridges for heavier weights."
Excludes Interstates, and some bridges
This exemption is not a free pass everywhere for heavier trucks, but for the farm to market road, this exemption is important this fall, notes Recker. For the past couple of weeks, ICGA members have been contacting the governor's office, asking him to temporarily suspend the weight limits on grain trucks.
"Harvest is building up, and we're right now in the middle of another big grain harvest in Iowa," notes Recker. "This exemption means we're going to save some fuel and time. It's really going to increase our harvest efficiency."
This is not a slam-dunk decision for the governor. It has to be viewed as an emergency measure. The governor has to evaluate the situation before deciding. "We feel the same way," says Recker. "With high fuel costs hitting farmers and the trucking industry all year, we need this. Also, there's quite a bit of crop left over from last year that is still in storage and has to be transported. And, we have the new biofuel market that we're hauling grain to, for the ethanol plants."
Overall, "We're putting more pressure on our highway systems, river systems and railroads," notes Recker. "This proclamation by Gov. Vilsack really helps Iowa out this fall, getting the big crop harvested and moved into storage and into the market place. The bigger loads will help us do it all more efficiently."