CHICAGO – November 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Governor’s request for disaster aid to help Illinois farmers who suffered crop losses this year because of drought and excessive heat. Governor Quinn asked the USDA to designate 44 Illinois counties as natural disaster areas. The designation qualifies farmers in those counties and 33 contiguous counties for federal assistance that includes low-interest emergency loans.
“Illinois is home to some of the best crops in the world, and this year was especially tough for our famers,” Governor Quinn said. “After battling spring flooding, many farmers in these counties lost their crops to drought in the following months. These loans will help those farmers refinance debt, cover production costs, and pay essential family living expenses.”
After an extremely wet spring, Illinois recorded significantly below-average rainfall totals across the middle third of the state from July to September - key months for crop development. The drought was most severe in west-central Illinois, which received just 4.46 inches of rain, or nearly seven inches less than normal. Rainfall deficits of two to four inches were common in other parts of central Illinois, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.
In addition, temperatures during this period were extremely high. During July alone, the statewide average temperature was 79.9 degrees, 4.1 degrees higher than normal and the fourth warmest July on record.
The 44 counties declared as primary disaster areas are:
The 33 contiguous counties approved for disaster assistance include:
Farmers who believe they may qualify for disaster assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office which will then verify whether producers are eligible for emergency funds. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and take into account the extent of production losses, available security and an applicant’s repayment ability. Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for assistance.