Governor Declares Illinois Harvest Emergency
Gov. Bruce Rauner came to Yorkville on Sunday to declare a statewide harvest emergency to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of rain-related delays.
“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 on Sunday afternoon. “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.”
Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11, the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. Further, local authorities may waive the permit requirement at their discretion.
The emergency declaration is in effect for 45 days beginning Nov. 5. The Illinois Department of Transportation already is mobilizing the permitting process and notifying law enforcement agencies throughout the state. More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.
Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau praised the harvest season emergency declaration, saying it will improve the transportation of Illinois crops.
Jeff Kirwan. District 3 director, said this harvest season has been unique.
“We’ve had weather challenges — but we’ve also have had good yields. So we’ve had elevators in this area that have been struggling to move grain from their facility to the terminal. This will allow them to be more efficient in what they do.”
Corn Harvest Hard Hit
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest at the end of October was 17 percentage points behind the prior year and 11 percentage points behind the five-year average. The corn harvests in the Northwest, Northeast and East regions are especially hard hit. Harvesters of a variety of crops made up ground toward the end of October, but early delays still are causing backups in the transportation chain.
Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, also praised the governor’s action, noting that a bumper crop combined with the harvest delays to compound the situation.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe said the action will encourage the farming community, which is under the gun to harvest quickly.
“Illinois farmers work tirelessly year-round, even more so around harvest,” he said.
- A video of the Sunday event in Yorkville is posted here.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release