Farmers in 98 of 102 Illinois counties eligible for Federal drought relief

In August Governor Pat Quinn announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had declared 98 of 102 Illinois counties as disaster areas. Approval means federal disaster assistance is now available to help farmers in these counties.

A combination of extremely hot and dry weather has stunted crop development across the state, ­especially in corn, which received inadequate moisture to pollinate. According to the Illinois State Water Survey, precipitation throughout Illinois averaged just 12.6 inches from January to June, making the first half of 2012 the sixth-driest on record.

  “The yield losses being projected could cause farmers cash flow problems,” Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director Bob Flider said. “The low-interest, emergency loans this declaration triggers would help them recover. They can be used to pay not only production expenses, but also family living expenses.”

Farmers who believe they may be eligible for the assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency offices. Loan applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and applicant’s repayment ability. For more ­information on drought assistance, please visit