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Nearly all of Illinois declared disaster area
August 1, 2012
BLOOMINGTON – Almost all of Illinois has been declared a disaster area by the U.S Department of Agriculture because of the drought and excessive heat.
It means federal disaster assistance is now available to help farmers in 98 of Illinois’ 102 counties, that includes all counties in Central Illinois.
Farmers who think they may be eligible for the assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office. Loan applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider said the yield losses being projected could cause farmers cash flow problems and the low interest, emergency loans would help them recover. The funds can be used on production and living expenses.
“While harvest has yet to begin, we already see that the drought has caused considerable crop damage,” Gov. Pat Quinn said.
The USDA said in this week’s crop report that 71 percent of the corn crop and 56 percent of the soybean crop is in poor or very poor condition.
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon told WJBC on Wednesday that the disaster declaration process was much easier for the drought than it was for the tornadoes in Southern Illinois earlier this year.
“This time we’re dealing with the Department of Agriculture,” said Simon. “So I couldn’t tell you what has made the difference, but I’m sure glad that in this circumstance the federal low-interest loans will be available.”
According to the Illinois Water Survey, precipitation in Illinois average 12.6 inches in the first six months of the year, making it the sixth driest on record. Topsoil moisture in Illinois is rated 85 percent very short and 15 percent short of moisture.
More than half of all counties in the U.S have been declared disaster areas by the USDA because of the drought.
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