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:
The 17 contiguous counties approved for disaster assistance include:
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.