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Local

Feds declare Illinois an agriculture disaster

Declaration opens the door to help for farmers, agri-business

Water surrounds a barn along Pennington Road in rural Sterling in April.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday declared all of Illinois an agriculture disaster following historic flooding across the state.
Water surrounds a barn along Pennington Road in rural Sterling in April. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday declared all of Illinois an agriculture disaster following historic flooding across the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday declared all of Illinois an agriculture disaster.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker requested assistance from the USDA on July 3 following the historic flooding across the state. Now that the USDA has issued the Secretarial Disaster Declaration, Illinois farmers and agri-businesses can apply for federal resources.

Low-interest Farm Service Agency emergency loans can be used to cover production cost, restore or replace essential property, cover essential family living expense, the reorganization of family farming operations, or to refinance limited non-real estate operating debts.

Pritzker said in a news release Thursday that he is “heartened” that the USDA approved his request for “a vital industry that supports so many working families across the state.”

Most area farmers don’t like to rely on the government for assistance, but it’s been an especially hard year for regional farmers because of the flooding, said Matt Lillpop, executive director of the Whiteside County Farm Bureau.

“In general, the farmers appreciate whatever assistance we can get,” Lillpop said. “This is compounding the fact that the trade war is having a huge impact.”

More farmers than usual also are taking advantage of prevent plant insurance, which compensates them for losses incurred when acres can’t be planted, also because of this year’s heavy spring rains.

This year’s prevent plant acres are estimated to be four times the norm, and will likely beat the 2013 record of 3.6 million acres by a wide margin.

In the 23 years he’s been with the bureau, this year was the first he’s heard so many discussions about prevent plant, Lillpop said.”It’s pretty unbelievable.”

TO LEARN MORE

Go to www.fsa.usda.gov to learn more about FSA emergency loans.

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