As Minnesota’s agricultural industry continues to face severe drought conditions across the state, Governor Tim Walz has signed Executive Order 21-32, declaring an emergency and waiving trucking regulations to support Minnesota livestock producers in the safe and efficient transport of livestock, water supplies, and commodities related to livestock feed.
The extreme and prolonged drought in Minnesota has led to significant stress on rangeland, pastures, and other crops. Without reliable access to good-quality hay or forage, famers and livestock producers have had to adjust their feeding operations to include other commodities such as corn silage, distiller’s grain, and beet pulp. Farmers also report that the hay and forage reserved for winter use has already been consumed, and replenishing supplies is critical to maintaining healthy livestock. The continued movement of these commodities is vital to the economic security and viability of many farming and livestock operations in Minnesota.
“This summer I travelled the state, from Polk County to Redwood County, to hear directly from our farmers and see firsthand the impacts of a drought that caused early harvests, wildfires, and dry fields and pastures,” said Governor Walz. “As someone who grew up on a family farm, I know the work our farmers do is tough under the very best conditions. We will continue to work with Minnesota’s agricultural industry to provide relief for the farmers who have continued feeding our state and nation, despite a once in a generation drought.”
On July 28, 2021, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 21-26, waiving hours of service trucking regulations to support Minnesota livestock producers facing significant decreases in the availability of hay and other forage. On August 27, livestock food supplies were still scarce, so Governor Walz issued Executive Order 21-30, which extended the relief for 30 days and expanded it to include the transportation of livestock, water supplies, and commodities used for or in livestock feed. The need for relief from hours of service requirements related to these essential items continues.
Over the past few months, Governor Walz has met with agricultural leaders from across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them. Last month, Governor Walz announced a $10 million drought relief package to support Minnesota farmers and livestock producers impacted by severe drought conditions during the 2021 growing season. The Governor’s proposal includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers. It also includes $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program.
Executive Order 21-32 is effective immediately and remains in effect for 30 days.