From January 28th to the 30th, Florida experienced exceptionally cold temperatures across the state. This has compelled Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a State of Emergency. Unlike the cold snaps in Texas for the past two years, the objective with this waiver is to not save lives, but to save the agricultural industry and farmers’ livelihoods.
The entire Executive Order can be read on the relevant webpage. In summary, Florida’s key crops like warm weather, and without an “emergency harvest”, farmers are likely to lose out on sales and customers to lose out on getting their products in what is already a wide-breadth global supply chain shortage.
The first crop that may come to mind when thinking about Florida is oranges, but Florida also grows a majority of the nation’s tomatoes and a plurality of the nation’s bell peppers. Other popular crops Florida holds a share in growth include:
- Sweet corn
Without these key ingredients, many different types of food would have their prices skyrocket.
Specifics and Stipulations
The two main points in this State of Emergency include the suspension of hours-of-service, and the establishment of alternative size and weight restrictions, the latter of which includes up to 95,000 pounds and ninety-five feet long.
There are many stipulations regarding what weight a truck can have compared to its length, as well as safety precautions that must be taken, so make sure to read the addendum letter written by FDOT’s Secretary, Kevin J. Thibaut.
Drivers performing under this exemption with unique size and weight specifications must have paperwork showing their intentions at all times. You can print this permit from the webpage provided by the FMCSA.
Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order is set to expire on April 2nd, whereas the addendum from Secretary Thibaut will expire on March 7th. It is currently unknown what plans FDOT has for the time in between the two dates, but it is most likely Thibaut will just extend his addendum.
Florida agriculture is an industry that generates over $2 billion annually. Hopefully farms will get the delivery services they need to help save their crops from becoming compost.
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