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North Dakota governor order aims to help drought-stricken producers

Wisconsin State Farmer
Riley Schriefer, left, asks a question of Gov. Doug Burgum at a town hall meeting in Golden Valley, N.D., Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Burgum on Wednesday further relaxed commercial driving restrictions to help drought-stricken North Dakota farmers and ranchers. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum has further relaxed commercial driving restrictions to help drought-stricken North Dakota farmers and ranchers.

His executive order Wednesday allows producers to drive farm vehicles farther than 150 miles without a commercial driver's license. That means they can travel longer distances to transport livestock, hay and water.

Farmers and ranchers dealing with drought listen during a town hall meeting with Gov. Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring at the Golden Valley Community Center in Golden Valley, N.D., Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Burgum on Wednesday further relaxed commercial driving restrictions to help drought-stricken North Dakota farmers and ranchers. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

Burgum earlier waived driving hour restrictions on commercial haulers of hay, water and livestock, and eased weight limits for those trucks.

The state also is putting more money into its Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply cost-share program.

Eight National Guard helicopters stand ready to help fight wildfires.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly all of western North Dakota in either severe or extreme drought, and most of the rest of the state in either moderate drought or abnormally dry.

Cattle graze parched pasture land in western Morton County, N.D., Wednesday, July 12, 2017.