ILLINOIS — On Friday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner declared a Harvest Season Emergency, which is meant to speed up crop transportation from the fields to grain elevators and processing facilities.
With Rauner’s announcement, trucks hauling agricultural products are allowed to weigh up to 10 percent over the posted limits on state highways.
Ron Kern, Ogle County Farm Bureau Manager, said the declaration will increase the efficiency of the harvest.
“By all indications it is looking like we’ve got a sizable crop, particularly in northern Illinois. The Harvest Season Emergency declaration is going to allow us to have more efficiency in transporting these crops,” Kern said. “It should hopefully get this crop out in a relatively timely manner. Because of the size, I could see some harvesting delays, but this declaration will help to mitigate that.”
Kern said Ogle County and much of northern Illinois have been dubbed the “garden spot of the Midwest.” Areas in central and southern Illinois have experienced drier conditions this season.
‘It’s been an incredible growing season up here,” Kern said. “Of course as we move along and hybrids and technology gets better, farmers are able to grow more bushels on the same amount of acres.”
In a press release, Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr., expressed appreciation for the declaration, which officially starts on Monday, Sept. 10.
“We appreciate Governor Rauner declaring an emergency harvest situation for the 2018 harvest season because it opens the door for increased efficiencies for farmers and truck drivers hauling agricultural commodities. Beginning Monday, Sept. 10, farmers and truck drivers may apply to the Illinois Department of Transportation to get a free permit to haul 10 percent over their gross vehicle weight and axle weight limits on state highways,” Guebert, Jr. said. “Local road authorities will have the ability to grant a similar permit or waive the permit requirement on roads in their jurisdictions. This consideration is especially helpful as 2018 has been a difficult year for Illinois farmers. They are facing declining incomes, market turmoil due to trade uncertainty, and what is likely to be a record-breaking crop that must be harvested and transported efficiently.”
Adding, “By making this declaration, the governor is demonstrating he understands the challenges farmers are facing and the importance of an efficient fall harvest.”