Due to the severe drought that is affecting most of the Commonwealth this summer, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is working through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) to provide statewide relief from shortages of hay and animal feed products.

Accordingly, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have granted temporary waivers of registration and license requirements along with normal weight and width restrictions for carriers transporting emergency supplies of hay or animal feed.

Unlike previous years, the 2010 exemptions extend statewide, not just to localities designated as primary and contiguous natural disaster areas by the United State Department of Agriculture. The exemptions became effective at six p.m. Aug. 6, 2010, and will remain in effect until six a.m. Oct. 6, 2010, or whenever the drought crisis has abated, whichever comes first.

Several state agencies worked with VDEM to notify affected haulers of the exemptions. This multi-agency cooperation helps ensure essential emergency relief supplies and livestock feed reach the disaster areas in a timely manner and precludes inadvertent ticketing or detention.

Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner, said, “The drought of 2010 is turning out to be one of the worst in years, and farmers need these waivers to ensure that feed, hay and other emergency supplies are transported to them as quickly as possible.” He added that VDACS is monitoring the drought situation and assisting with requests from localities for federal drought designation declarations.