Illinois crop haulers get a break on weight limits just before a bumper harvest

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Illinois is softening its rules on truck weights as crop hauling season begins, the last time it will need to do so by a governor’s harvest emergency declaration before a new law kicks in next year.

The proclamation by Gov. Bruce Rauner goes into effect Monday, September 10. It will allow crop haulers to obtain an exemption from the state’s Department of Transportation that permits them to exceed gross vehicle and gross axle weight limits—whichever is less on the truck—by up to 10% on state and federal highways under DOT jurisdiction. According to a statement issued by Rauner’s office, interstate highways are not included.

“”We have heard from Illinois’ trucking industry and from farmers who are operating on thin profit margins in today’s agricultural climate,” Rauner said at a farm in Auburn, Ill. where he made his announcement. “Today’s harvest emergency declaration recognizes that the weight-restriction structure in place in Illinois put our farmers and truckers at a disadvantage.”

Local press reports indicate the crop harvest declaration had become a frequent event. But the need for a declaration will be replaced next year by a new law that codifies the changes, signed into law by Rauner just a few weeks ago. A permit will still be needed—as it will be this year—but the declaration from the governor declaring a crop emergency will no longer be required.

The statement from Rauner’s office said Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin—which all border Illinois—”automatically ease highway weight limits at harvest time.”

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. said in a prepared statement that the declaration is especially important this year. Among the reasons: “(W)hat is likely to be a record-breaking crop that must be harvested and transported efficiently.” In a report on Rauner’s declaration in the Rochelle News Leader, a local agriculture official, Ron Kern, was similarly quoted as saying, “By all indications it is looking like we’ve got a sizeable crop, particularly in northern Illinois.”


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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

One Comment

  1. About time Farmers have historically been treated unfairly during harvest season in Illinois. How does a farmer judge a precise weight on his transport vehicle in a muddy field during harvest?