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Burgum relaxes trucker rules amid delayed spring planting season

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Gov. Doug Burgum has relaxed driving restrictions for commercial truckers transporting agricultural products such as fertilizer, to help North Dakota farmers dealing with delayed spring planting.

Burgum's executive order waives hours-of-service requirements for those hauling dry or liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, pesticides and seed.

“Due to late snowfalls, extended cold, historic flooding and extreme weather events, our North Dakota farmers are facing a challenging and compressed planting season in addition to global supply chain disruptions and labor and facility shortages,” Burgum said in a statement. “Waiving hours of service for these commercial drivers will help ensure that sufficient planting and fertilizer resources are available during this delayed and shortened planting season.”

The 30-day waiver requested by state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring took effect Tuesday. All road safety and vehicle compliance regulations still apply.

The latest crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service shows that planting of all major crops in North Dakota is well behind the average pace. For example, the state's staple spring wheat crop is only 8% planted, compared with the norm of 37% at this time of the season. Only 2% of sugar beets are in the ground, when normally 62% of the crop would be planted by now.

The durum wheat, corn, canola, dry pea and flaxseed crops all are less than 5% seeded.

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