Illinois farmers hope for harvest emergency to quickly get crops in

By Benjamin Yount 
Illinois News Network

Farmers in Illinois are asking Gov. Bruce Rauner for a little help as they try to quickly wrap up this fall’s harvest.

Because of a rainy spring and late rain this fall, there are still farmers in some parts of Illinois with acres and acres of corn and beans in their fields, and they are running out of time to harvest it.

The Illinois Farm Bureau asked Rauner for a Harvest Season Emergency declaration about two weeks ago.

Kevin Rund with the Farm Bureau said a declaration will allow farmers to add 10 percent more grain to the trucks taking their crops to storage.

“It would allow farmers to get permits to haul a load that exceeded the typical weight limits that apply to trucks,” Rund said.

But farmers have not yet heard back from the governor’s office. Rauner himself is in Israel this week on a weeklong trade mission.

Even if the governor approves the declaration, Rund said farmers shouldn’t rush to overload their grain trucks.

“If farmers hear of a governor’s declaration, they need to remember that there is more to it than that,” Rund said. “They need to check whether or not a local permit is required. If so, they’ll need that permit in hand before they can take advantage of the additional weight.”

Rund said that could mean a permit from the county, township, city, and the state.

Illinois has had a harvest emergency provision since the 1980s but has never used it. Rund says a new tweak to the law makes it more user-friendly.

Farmers in northern and northwestern Illinois are still behind in the harvest, and they’d benefit the most from an emergency declaration.

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