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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2008

Governor Blagojevich’s Request for Agricultural Disaster Declaration Approved
Declaration will assist farmers in 91 Illinois counties

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced federal disaster assistance is available to help Illinois farmers who suffered crop losses, because of excessive rain and flooding this spring.
 
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted the Governor’s request to designate 74 Illinois counties as natural disaster areas.  The designation qualifies farmers in those counties and 17 contiguous counties for USDA assistance, including low-interest emergency loans.
 
“High grain prices will help offset production losses for those farmers who were fortunate enough to get their crops in the ground after their fields dried out, but thousands of acres across Illinois were unsalvageable,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “The loans that this declaration triggers will help those farmers who weren’t able to plant a crop.  They can be used not only to pay production costs, but also to refinance existing debt and cover essential family living expenses.”
 
The January through June period this year is the wettest on record in Illinois.  Precipitation, which has been above average every month, totaled 27.7 inches the first half of the year, or 8.3 inches above average.  Only 1998 started out with comparable precipitation, with 27.2 inches.
 
According to USDA’s June Acreage Report, 1.3 million acres of Illinois corn and soybeans were flooded.  That figure represents about 6 percent of the total planted acreage in the state.  Some flooded fields likely were re-planted.  USDA currently is surveying farmers and will publish updated statistics in its August Crop Report.
 
 
The 74 counties declared as primary disaster areas are:
           

Adams
Alexander
Bond
Brown
Calhoun
Carroll
Cass
Champaign
Christian
Clark
Clay
Clinton
Coles
Crawford
Cumberland
DeWitt
Douglas
Edgar
Edwards
Effingham
Fayette
Ford
Franklin
Fulton
Gallatin
Greene
Hamilton
Hancock
Hardin
Henderson
Henry
Iroquois
Jasper
Jefferson
Jersey
Jo Daviess
Johnson
Lawrence
Lee
Logan
Macon
Madison
Marion
Mason
Massac
McDonough
McLean
Menard
Monroe
Montgomery
Morgan
Moultrie
Perry
Piatt
Pike
Pope
Pulaski
Randolph
Richland
Rock Island
Saline
Sangamon
Schuyler
Scott
St. Clair
Stephenson
Union
Vermilion
Wabash
Washington
Wayne
White
Whiteside
Williamson

 
The 17 contiguous counties approved for disaster assistance include:
 

Bureau
DeKalb
Jackson
Kankakee
Knox
LaSalle
Livingston
Macoupin
Mercer
Ogle
Peoria
Shelby
Stark
Tazewell
Warren
Winnebago
Woodford

 
USDA was unable to immediately determine production losses in Boone, Cook, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.  A decision on their eligibility for assistance will be made after the fall harvest.
 
Farmers who believe they may qualify for disaster assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office.  Staff in county Farm Service Agency offices can verify whether producers have crops that are eligible for emergency funds.  Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and applicant’s repayment ability.


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