Governor signs hay transport bill

Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill Tuesday evening at the agricultural feed in the senate roundhouse that will allow the transportation of oversized hay loads on state roads.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, will help livestock owners deal with ongoing drought conditions in the state that have placed an enormous strain on ranchers and livestock, according to a press statement released by Martinez office.

“It’s a bill that we needed to get passed primarily because of the drought situation in the Southwest,” Ingle said. “We have areas that don’t grow very much hay.”

Ingle said livestock owners have exhausted their hay supply and they needed to change the laws so that trucks can carry larger hay shipments on state highways and roads in addition to using the interstate highways.

“It complies with federal law and other state laws in hauling hay,” Ingle said.

Range conditions around New Mexico have been dismal because of a lack of moisture, and hay has become a hot commodity as a result.

Martinez says agriculture is the backbone of New Mexico’s economy and farmers and ranchers need the right tools to keep their operations going.

The width of the bails that hold the hay have been extended according to Ingle to increase the amount of hay that can be transported.

The largest load a truck can carry is 102 inches wide but this bill will allow loads up to 144 inches wide to be transported. Majority of the hay supplied comes from the north, according to Ingle.

There is a permit required for the larger hay shipment. A trucker must specify the route they will be traveling and where they are delivering it to, according to Greg Blair, spokesman for Martinez. The permit is only good for that one trip.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.