State lawmakers finally make hay in lifting restrictions

Clovis Media Inc.

Government legislation seldom accomplishes its stated intention. But one bill approved by New Mexico lawmakers last week is certain to make things better for us all — because it relaxes government oversight.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, lifts restrictions on hay hauling.

Before Tuesday, oversized loads of hay could only be transported on national highways. SB 56 allows permitted vehicles to haul hay on state roads as well.

It took drought conditions to spur the relaxed rules, but government is famous for knee-jerk reactions, so it’s nice to see one benefit those who support less government for once.

“With hay harder to come by in New Mexico, these larger shipments will allow farmers and ranchers to get the supplies they need to keep going during times of drought or emergency,” Ingle said in a news release.

New Mexico’s harvested hay acreage decreased from 390,000 to 310,00 from 2000 to 2010, according to language in the bill. In that same time, dairy cow numbers increased from 250,000 to 321,000.

“Hay production, bale size and form, and industry needs have changed drastically since the original permitting language within state law,” SB 56 reports.

“High fuel costs necessitate the need for maximizing load capacity of hay to ensure economic efficiency in interstate transportation of hay.”

Passage of SB 56 makes it easier and less expensive for farmers and ranchers to bring in more hay.

As usual, less government intervention is a good idea.