Harvest emergency in place for Illinois farmers

Harvest emergency in place for Illinois farmers

GRAYVILLE, IL (WFIE) - A rainy spring and fall made this year's harvest in Illinois a bit challenging.

However, starting this week, Governor Bruce Rauner has declared a Harvest Emergency to help farmers.

This means farmers can go over the normal road weight limit and haul more crops, making fewer trips back and forth from the farm.

"Yeah, I was a little shocked but I was thrilled when he did it. I think it will be good for the state of Illinois," says farmer Ken Lamont.

The statewide harvest emergency is in place to assist farmers who are struggling with the impacts of rain-related delays this year. 
A good example is the big rain early this past Spring. Many farmers in southeast Illinois had to replant their fields. 
A situation Lamont experienced first hand.

"That kind of put behind the eight ball and now mother nature's not playing along too good right now," says Lamont.

Illinois is home to 72,000 farms. This declaration means these farmers can get a free permit that allows them to exceed vehicle weight limits by 10 percent, when transporting their crops.

"It's hard to judge what mother nature's going to do to us. She always wins. But it will help daily. If we can run 8 to 10 days before the next rain, that's several loads. I think it's going to make a big difference," says Lamont.

The Harvest Emergency will hopefully allow farmers who are still in the field to focus on getting their crops in before winter really takes hold.

"I'm not sitting at home thinking, oh, now I'm relieved. It's not going to do that but it's a step in the right direction," says Lamont.

Before you can haul loads above the state weigh limit, you will need a permit. They're free.

More information is available on the Illinois Department of Transportation website. The emergency order is in place for 45 days.

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