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Three weeks after request, Rauner approves harvest emergency

Monday, Nov 6, 2017

* From last Wednesday

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. […]

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

I asked the governor’s office for comment last week, but never heard back.

* Today

Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared a “harvest emergency” across Illinois.

The designation means trucks carrying grain can exceed weight limits by 10 percent. Jeff Kirwan, with the Illinois Farm Bureau, says weather challenges have made for a unique harvest season.

* But farmers will still have to deal with red tape

“We didn’t start harvesting corn until Oct. 15,” said Brent Riewerts of Hillsdale, Rock Island County Farm Bureau vice president. “Everybody has the same window to get the crop out, and this declaration allows you to throw on an extra 50 or 60 bushels. It’s going to speed up our travel time by 5 to 10 percent by having that. We can put on a few more bushels and not break the law.”

Farmers will need to seek a permit from each authority with jurisdiction over the routes they plan to use, according to Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau transportation specialist.

Under a harvest season emergency, a farmer with a permit may haul up to a maximum of 10 percent more than the standard weight restriction of the gross, axle and registered weight restrictions, Rund explained. He added the 10 percent limit is the maximum a road authority may offer, and any authority may also issue a permit for an overweight of less than 10 percent above the standard limit.

For state routes, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) serves as the authority. Harvest season permits are not available for interstate highways. IDOT officials indicated the agency would use an automated permit, according to Rund.

Farmers need to check with local road authorities whether they plan to issue harvest season emergency permits and whether those will be a blanket permit or individual permits, Rund said. With individual permits, local authorities may put restrictions, such as which roads are designated for the permits or times of day the permit is valid, or special conditions, such as not valid during a rainstorm, he added.

On county roads, farmers will need to check with county engineers in each respective county they will travel. In addition, farmers need to talk to township road commissioners for township roads and street departments for municipal streets.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    –Farmers will need to seek a permit from each authority with jurisdiction over the routes they plan to use, according to Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau transportation specialist.–

    Do all those local authorities really want to deal with the paperwork? If this is a time-sensitive emergency, perhaps it would be easier for them to recognize the situation and suspend enforcement for the duration.

  2. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    Maybe Team Rauner thought they didn’t need to declare an HSE. Won’t surprise me that they didn’t understand the details of this…

    From an August IFB fact sheet on HSEs:

    2. But isn’t the law already in effect?
    Yes, it was signed into law and became immediately
    effective on August 11, 2017. Keep in
    mind, however, that though the law is in effect
    its provisions lie dormant until a HSE is declared.

    3. Who declares a HSE?
    Only the Governor can do that. Permits may be
    issued by the highway jurisdictions only after
    the Governor has made that declaration. Illinois
    has had a HSE provision on the books since
    the Edgar Administration. We’ve had five governors
    since it was first established and not one
    of them has ever declared a HSE. In short,
    don’t expect this permit to be made available
    anytime soon.

  3. - Texas Red - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    This is good news and still relevant to farmers as the corn harvest is late by historic averages…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.

    The higher limits will be in place for 45 days .

  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    This is a bad bureaucratic solution in search of a problem. Running out of time to harvest? Get your beans out first so the pods don’t pop. And the get the corn when you can. I can remember my family harvesting corn on Christmas Eve when I was a kid.

  5. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    This growing season and harvest is far from the worst catastrophe that has befallen Illinois farmers in recent years. But this simple move to temporarily lessen truck weight regulations is an excellent way to address this season’s catastrophe. Good luck, farmers.

  6. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    Ducky LaMoore- I almost tink we had better beans in my youth, as far as shattering goes. There have been several bean fields in my neck of the woods and throughout my travels in Central Illinois that looked like they were just planted there was so much shatter. Very expensive “fertilizer” for next year’s (probably) corn crop.

  7. - Annonin' - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    Hey its GovJunk what the rush?

  8. - Anotheretiree - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    My local road district has weight restrictions in the Spring. After the thaw, the ground is soft and roads are vulnerable. This time of year the ground is firm, less of a risk.
    == Ducky I can remember my family harvesting corn on Christmas Eve when I was a kid.==

    Harvesting was later back in the 60’s because winters were longer and Spring planting was later than now. Winter’s now are a good 6 weeks shorter due to climate change.

  9. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    sounds like a bailout

  10. - Just sayin - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    Maintaining the integrity of bridges that are already in poor shape is not red tape.

  11. - Frequently Blocked By Rich - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    Has anyone told the aging infrastructure that it can carry more weight?
    This sounds like the Challenger, where political expediency trumped physical reality. In the end, making a decree does not change the physical realities. (& yes, once this its green lighted it’s going to be way more than the nominal 10%.)

  12. - Publius - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    Governor was calculating whether or not he could create an crisis to blame madigan for the rainy fall.

    Rauner in his downstate farmer costume “I tried to keep you dry but Madigan controls the weather and forces it to rain on Illinois farmers” sure the Ad is coming

  13. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    The Illinois farmers whose wet corn is starting to degrade in the fields and who therefore need minor and temporary regulatory relief are both Democrats and Republicans who vote. Those here trying to twist this into a partisan issue are not as politically savvy as they may think.

  14. - A modest proposal - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    —aging infrastructure —

    The harvest emergency only allows 10 percent more weight. It takes into account both the infrastructures limits and the need for farmers to efficiently move their crops

  15. - Winnin’ - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Obviously, the Illinois Dept of Agriculture has no clout with the second floor when it takes this long for the governor to act.
    If the declaration had been requested during the state fair, the Raunerites would’ve been all over it.
    Nevertheless, the farmers love their Rauner.

  16. - DuPage - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    Slow, slow response by Rauner.

  17. - Professor - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    In a somewhat similar situation, several years ago, the weather had been quite sever and I requested from Governor Ryan’s office a few days suspension of the weight limit so fuel trucks to make their deliveries. Permission was granted Immediately!

  18. - Groundhog Day - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    Governor “it’s not an emergency to me” Rauner

  19. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Winnin’ - The declaration wasn’t requested during the State Fair in Springfield, but the legislation was signed by Rauner on Aug 11, 2017 at the State Fair. Seems the IFB may not have much clout for the HSE declaration, either. Fightin’ Madigan ads and a trip to Israel rank a bit higher it seems.

    “During the Illinois State Fair, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Illinois Farm Bureau priority state legislation to address farmers’ transportation challenges during a harvest emergency when one is declared by the governor.”

  20. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    It took him awhile to pick out the right costume for the signing ceremony. Cut him some slack, ok?

  21. - Frequently Blocked By Rich - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    =The harvest emergency only allows 10 percent more weight. It takes into account both the infrastructures limits and the need for farmers to efficiently move their crops=
    If takes into account the infrastructure limits, then why not make it higher all year? & again, once this it’s green-lighted, it’s going to be way more than the nominal 10%.

  22. - Shemp - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Guessing township road commissioners, county highway engineers and city street departments who maintain roads aren’t as upset with the Fovernor about the delay as some of you…

  23. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 9:10 pm:

    If the current weight restrictions arent important, why have them in the first place. If farmers can drive a mere 10% over the speed limit, they could haul more loads per day. Exact same rationale.

  24. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 9:21 am:

    BDD- We still have a season called Winter in Illinois that does a great deal of damage to roads. And, please remember, not all roads are heavy duty asphalt or concrete based in Illinois. Ag equipment uses a lot of dirt and gravel roads, too, and these are damaged even more by heavy and frequent uses. And to repair them is usually far beyond the township level budgets that have to be used to maintain them.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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