Governor declares Illinois’ first harvest emergency

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared the state's first harvest emergency to help farmers dealing with rain-related delays.

The decision is meant to speed crop transportation on state highways. It allows trucks hauling agricultural commodities to obtain a free permit to exceed the gross vehicle weight limit by 10 percent.

The permit issued by the Illinois Department of Transpiration is not available for interstate highways.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois corn harvest was 17 percentage points behind last year at the end of October, and it was 11 percentage points behind the five-year average.

This is the first statewide harvest emergency declared under a new law, which was signed by Rauner in August.

State Rep. Toni McCombie, R-Savanna, co-sponsored the bill, and she praised the Governor's decision on Sunday.

"Mother Nature has presented Illinois farmers with a rainy spring and fall, making this year's harvest challenging. The harvest emergency declaration will allow farmers to more efficiently harvest their crop before they run out of time," said McCombie.

The emergency declaration began Sunday, November 5, and will remain in effect for the next 45 days.

Click here to sign up for a Harvest Season Emergency overweight permit.