Fla. extends truck exemption for produce shippers
Florida has extended its emergency order to lift truck weight limits on the state's roads until Dec. 31 to give produce shippers more time and capacity to save their crops from the freezing weather.
The original order was scheduled to expire Friday. Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said the state's agriculture industry needs more time to harvest and transport crops to processing and retail facilities.
“Once products such as citrus fall to the ground they are no longer salvageable,” he said in a statement. “The faster farmers can harvest and transport their crops the fewer losses they will experience. Getting these agricultural products to market quickly will also help consumers by helping avoid price hikes that can be caused by limited supply.”
The two-week extension will give the agriculture industry time to harvest crops without overloading processing facilities. “Processors can only handle a certain amount of products and it doesn’t make sense to have crops rotting in a truck,” Bronson added.
Bronson has alerted organizations representing the state’s agricultural producers and trucking interests of the governor’s action so they can load and transport crops in accordance with the relaxed highway restrictions. Florida’s growers produce nearly all the nation’s domestically produced fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter.