SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a bill that allows farmers to transport their grain more freely along Illinois roads and highways during the harvest season.
Senate Bill 2327, sponsored by Sen. Larry Walsh (D-Joliet) and Rep. William Grunloh (D-Effingham), amends the Illinois Vehicle code to allow the Department of Transportation and local authorities to issue special permits for limited continuous operation allowing farm vehicles to exceed normal weight limits in order to transport agricultural products over any highway except an interstate highway.
“Illinois farmers have only about a six week window to harvest their crops and get them to the elevator in order to maximize the return on their investment,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “This law allows farmers to obtain a permit to carry a slightly heavier load and transport their grain to the elevator in a more efficient, cost effective manner.”
The new law provides that these special permits may be issued to 2, 3, 4, or 5-axle vehicles registered with the Secretary of State. It provides that the weight, of 3 or 4-axle vehicles may exceed normal weight limits by more than 20%, and that 5-axle vehicle weights may exceed the normal limit by more than 10%. The permits are good during harvest season only, and may be used when transporting agricultural products.
“I commend the Governor for recognizing the hard work our farmers put forth in such a short period of time,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. “Illinois produced more soybeans than any other state in the nation and only Iowa produces more corn. These crops are the foundation of a $7 billion dollar industry and it’s crucial we continue to support the core of that industry that feeds our overall economic health.”
SB 2327 includes language that includes livestock as agricultural commodities and allows a special permit to be issued for transportation of livestock from a facility or warehouse. The law is effective immediately.