Illinois Seeks Federal Help For 'Agriculture Disaster' Caused By Heavy Rains

Illinois Seeks Federal Help For ‘Agriculture Disaster’ Caused By Heavy Rains

Following historic flooding this spring and early summer, the state of Illinois is urging U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Illinois farmers.

The USDA’s Farm Services Agency recently convened a State Emergency Board meeting that recommended all 102 Illinois counties be declared an agriculture disaster.

A large winter snow melt followed by excessive rain during the normal planting season has caused rivers to rise to historic levels and soils to become saturated over the entire state.

In a letter sent last week to the USDA last week, Gov. JB Pritzker said the historic flooding “has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois. While the state will continue to do everything we can to help, a Secretarial Disaster Declaration will provide much needed aid to impacted farmers in Illinois and I am hopeful the USDA will make this declaration.”

The request from the SEB must be reviewed by USDA staff before the ratification by Perdue.

The declaration would provide access to federal resources for farmers and agri-businesses who experienced an extraordinary and unprecedented spring planting season, according to a state of Illinois news release.

“I appreciate the FSA convening the SEB and recommending this Secretarial Declaration for all 102 counties in Illinois,” said John Sullivan, Illinois Department of Agriculture director. “Agriculture is our state’s number one industry and we must provide any and all assistance we can from all levels of government.”

Demand High For State’s Cover Crop Initiative

A targeted cover crop initiative introduced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture due to the extreme wet weather conditions has seen high demand, according to a state of Illinois news release.

The initiative covers 75,000 acres throughout the state that farmers have taken Prevented Planting on and so far, nearly half of the acreage (35,000 acres) have been spoken for.

“I am really pleased with the interest in our cover crop program and we are encouraging farmers to take advantage of this initiative as soon as possible as available funds are limited,” said John Sullivan, Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture. “If you are interested in cover crops on your Prevented Planting acres you need take action now.”

To take advantage of this program producers will need to complete three required forms and documents which are available at their local Soil and Water Conservation District or FSA office:

  • FY20 Prevented Planting / Cover Crop Incentive Application and payment form (PP/CC1)
  • Agreement and Terms Contract (PP/CC-1A)
  • Copies of USDA-Farm Service Agency form 578

Once these forms and documents have been completed, applicants need to contact their local SWCD office to schedule an appointment to review and finalize the application process.

For more information, contact the IDOA’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources at (217) 782-6297, for additional information.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news releases