OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hoping to make a difference for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers across the state, a letter to the Governor’s Office from the president of American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company (AFR) asking Governor Kevin Stitt to sign an executive order to temporarily suspend certain requirements for transportation hay. 

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are experiencing a growing concern with the shortage of hay. The president of AFR says he wrote to the Governor on behalf of more than 100,000 members and Oklahoma ranchers statewide that need his help.” 

“It’s way more devastating this year just because of the way the timing of the rain and the growth pattern of the hay… What we’re trying to get done is feeding horses, cattle, all those kind of things. It’s been tough,” said Stan Morey, owner of Hallmark Farms in Edmond.

The president of AFR Cooperative, Scott Blubaugh, says in his letter, “Temporarily suspending existing weight and width restrictions for hay hauling will help ranchers in their efforts to bring much-needed hay into Oklahoma.” 

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says in order for that to happen, the Oklahoma Governor has to declare it an emergency.

“I think it would help us because I do think it’s in an emergency situation,” said Morey.  

There are rules on how tall, heavy or wide truck loads can be on Oklahoma roadways. 

“What ODOT is doing right now are engineers are looking at that possibility, what that would take, where we would route these, if, in fact, we were to do that,” said Jessica Brown, serves as the Director of Strategic Communications for the Oklahoma Transportation Cabinet.

The Oklahoma Governor’s Office, Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture are discussing whether to suspend some rules for specifically hay transportation because the current restriction involves the hauling of any type of load. 

“This would likely be restricted to those folks who were hauling hay in particular, because this is certainly a circumstance that in some states has been declared disaster. I don’t believe that’s happened here in Oklahoma, and that would be the governor’s call to do that. And certainly, he’s talking with his partners in agriculture and elsewhere,” said Brown.

One Oklahoma family farm fell victim to a hay scam and lost hundreds of dollars because of the desperate need for hay.  

“I found somebody on Craigslist that was willing to bring it and made arrangements. They sent me an invoice, asked me to sign it, fax it back, and it seemed very legitimate,” said Kelly Anderson, owner of family farm in Edmond .

The farmers we spoke with today say looking for round bales hay specifically is very difficult right now. 

“I got a heads up that hay was going to be scarce this year, and I like to feed round bales. So I started looking for hay and everybody I called my normal sources were already out or holding on to what they had for their own livestock and basically was advised I needed to start looking at a state and have it have it delivered in,” said Anderson.  

KFOR reached out to the Governor’s Office regarding the letter and this matter and they say, “Governor Stitt and Secretary Arthur have continued to closely monitor the drought situation across Oklahoma and understand the challenging times facing our ag producers. They have worked closely with ag groups and individual producers across the state for the last several months and discussed what solutions could provide long term benefit. The governor’s office will continue to work with the State FSA office to share information with farmers and ranchers about drought relief programs and resources, and encourage all producers to sign up for FSA programs at their county officers,” said Kate Vesper with Governor Kevin Stitt’s Office.

KFOR also reached out to AFR Cooperative, they were unable to speak with us today.