Rauner declares harvest emergency - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Rauner declares harvest emergency

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WSIL -- Governor Bruce Rauner declared the state's first ever "harvest emergency" in an effort aiming to help farmers dealing with rain-related delays this harvest season.

Leon McClerren has been farming for more than 40-years, and he said despite the overall dry summer, he'll see good yields this year from his corn and soy bean crops. 

"If you happened to be fortunate enough to get the rain, you had a good crop," he said," but I know there are some farmers that have really struggled with that this summer."

Those struggling farmers saw rain at all the wrong times: not when those crops needed it the most. 

That's why Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner declared a statewide harvest emergency. 

"Spring planting was delayed by a wet spring and now we've had massive rains during key times during harvest season," he said.

The declaration means farmers can carry 10 percent more weight in their trucks, allowing them to more efficiently harvest their crop before they run out of time. 

"It just allows you to get that much more out of the fields that much quicker," McClerren said.  

McClerren said that's key because the longer these crops sit in the field, the more potential there is for loss.

This year's harvest has already taken a hard hit, especially in northern Illinois. Data from the U.S.D.A. shows, the Illinois corn harvest was running 17 percent behind last years. 
McClerren said he's thankful his harvest was good this year but feels sorry for the farmers struggling, because he's had those years, too. 

"This is the way farmers make their living and if you lose 10 percent of your crop in the field, 15 percent of your crop in the field, that's huge!" he said. 

He said in farming, lost yield is lost dollars.  

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