According to Governor Pat Quinn, federal disaster assistance is available to help Illinois farmers who suffered crop losses because of excessive rain and flooding this year.
The United States Department of Agriculture has granted the Governor's request to designate 58 Illinois counties as natural disaster areas. The designation qualifies farmers in those counties and 30 contiguous counties for USDA assistance, including low-interest emergency loans.
"While the latest USDA report indicates Illinois will harvest a near-record corn crop, damage assessments conducted this spring and summer show some farmers may have suffered significant production losses because of heavy rains," Quinn says. "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 period from April through July this year is the ninth wettest on record in Illinois. Precipitation, which was higher than normal each of those four months, totaled 20.94 inches, or 4.74 inches above average.
Because of the extremely wet conditions, the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Illinois Field Office estimates 100,000 acres of corn that would have been harvested for grain or silage were abandoned. The crop currently is forecast to yield 179 bushels an acre, which means as many as 17.9 million bushels of corn may have been lost due to flooding.
The 58 counties declared as primary disaster areas are: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Lake, Lawrence, Lee, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Massac, McDonough, McHenry, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Ogle, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne and Whiteside.
The 30 contiguous counties approved for disaster assistance include: Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Coles, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, Edgar, Franklin, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Kane, Knox, La Salle, Macon, Mason, McLean, Moultrie, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, White, Williamson and Winnebago.
Farmers who believe they 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.