November 7, 2017

Gov. Rauner declares statewide harvest emergency


Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared a statewide harvest emergency to help farmers and grain handlers finish this year's late harvest.

The emergency declaration means farmers can add 10 percent more grain to the trucks taking their crops to storage and exceed vehicle weight limits that are in place on state roads.

"Illinois is home to 72,000 farms on 26.7 million acres. We are among the top three corn producers in the nation," Rauner said while visiting Stewart Farms in Yorkville Sunday afternoon, according to a news release from the governor's office. "Moving corn and other crops in a timely and efficient manner affects the bottom line of hard-working farmers. This declaration is an appropriate response to an urgent need."

The declaration also will allow local governments to OK similar weight increases on local roads. The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning Sunday.

Kevin Rund with the state Farm Bureau told Illinois News Network last week that farmers will need to determine whether local permits are needed to exceed the weight limit on local roads.

"They need to check whether or not a local permit is required," Rund said. "If so, they'll need that permit in hand before they can take advantage of the additional weight."

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released by the governor's office, the Illinois corn harvest was 17 percent behind the prior year at the end of October and 11 percent behind the five-year average.

"In years when harvest is better than anticipated, crops like corn and soybeans may need to be stored in piles outside of the traditional concrete or steel bins or tanks," Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, said in the news release. "This declaration will allow grain elevators to transport commodities out of their facilities quicker, thus making room for grain stored on the ground to be moved to more suitable storage structures."