Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared a “harvest emergency” across Illinois.
That means farmers can exceed vehicle weight limits when trucking their crops to market.
Mark Reichert, a farmer near Auburn, south of Springfield in central Illinois, says it comes as farmers are facing a difficult economic climate.
“We as farmers who are involved with agriculture, and those who know agriculture, know that we are always looking for wars to increase efficiencies, improve our operations, and control costs,” Reichert says. State Rep. Dave Severin, a Republican from Benton, says having fewer trucks making runs with heavier loads will make rural roads safer.
“School season is back in session, so it’s very important to us,” Severin says.
The declaration follows a similar one last year, although that didn’t come until November, and was said at the time to be a result of heavy rainfalls and a delayed harvest.
Such declarations won’t be necessary in the future — Rauner already signed a law that permanently raises the weight limits during harvest season starting next year.
In order to legally exceed the limits, farmers will have to obtain a free permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation.