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No Disaster Designation for Will Farmers Yet

Of the 102 counties in the state, only four -- Will, Cook, DuPage and Kane -- have not been declared disaster areas due to the drought.

Will County is one of only four counties in Illinois not to be declared drought-disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as of Wednesday.

Jeff Squibb, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said the classification by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is automatically awarded before the end of the growing season if a county has surpassed eight weeks in a state of severe or extreme drought as set by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

-- as well as DuPage, Kane and Cook counties -- remain in the moderate drought category.

That said, it's likely the remaining counties will eventually be added to the list if conditions continue, Squibb said.

Up until this week, only 40 counties qualified for disaster relief. On Wednesday, another 50 were added to the list.

"We suspect all 102 counties will be on the disaster list eventually," Squibb said.

For this area, there's no expectation for any substantial rainfall until Saturday, when there's a 40 percent chance on Saturday afternoon and a 60 percent chance on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Given that temperatures will remain in the 90s through Saturday, that rain may not have much effect.

Even if the four remaining counties are not declared disaster areas prior to harvest time, farmers can still apply for it and, based on their yields, be eligible for the federal benefits that come with it, Squibb said.

The benefit for farmers is the access it gives them to low-interest loans that will allow them to pay for seed and cover their farm and personal debts, he said. The interest rate is 2.5 percent and farm owners have eight months to apply after the disaster status is declared.

While corn and soybean crops continue to grow despite the unrelenting heat, it's expected their yields will be far smaller than during a normal growing season.

Illinois State Water Survey statistics show that rainfall in the state averaged just 12.6 inches from January to June, making the first half of 2012 the sixth-driest on record, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn's office.

In addition, every month this year has had above normal temperatures, and the statewide average of 52.8 degrees for the first six months of the year is the warmest on record, the release said.

Quinn is also urging Congress to pass an extension of the federal Farm Bill, which includes funding for disaster programs, before its August recess. The Midwest Governor’s Association sent a letter this asking that the federal government temporarily waive audits of high-dollar crop insurance claims and to develop a comprehensive plan to open up as much federal land as possible for emergency grazing and haying.   

For more information on drought assistance, visit Drought.Illinois.gov.

Plainfield Ind August 03, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Farmers should not be receiving any federal aid. The rest of the country should not have to pay for farmers taking a risk of drought. They should be purchasing their own insurance policy instead of having the taxpayers pay your policy.
Jake August 03, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Oh deleted my comment nice. As i said before minorites get all their handouts for having a bunch of kids and doing drugs and not working. But to mr plainfield independent us farmers who put our entire lives into our crops are undeserving of aid for circumstances we can't control. You're pathetic i bet you're one of the welfare draining leeches
Plainfield Ind August 03, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Why should the rest of the country pay for the uninsured? If I don't insure my 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom townhome, why should I get government aid and have taxpayers across the country pay to rebuild my townhome after a tornado destroys my home? Can you control the hurricane after building a home next to a Florida ocean? Can you control the drought in the midwest where you plant crops? It's a risk that we take and to put it on the backs of others is bad financial policy. Get your own insurance and stop governement aid and bailouts. The country is broke.
Jake August 03, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Your home doesn't supply food and good for millions of people, OUR FARMS DO thats why we get aid
Jake August 03, 2012 at 07:04 PM
It costs on average about $750 per acre after all neccesary costs to plant an acre of corn. That is paid out of pocket by most farmers. Now lets say you have only 80 acres tillable (a relatively small farm) that adds up to about 60,000 invested into making your fields grow and covering all associated costs (workers, land, fuel etc..) now lets say we have a drought, no rain=no plants any idiot understands that there nothing ANYONE can do about it. So now fall is coming and instead of your "bountiful" harvest ( which is most years just enough to break even), you have a field of dead corn. Now we have a problem, you just invested 60k into a crop and got little to no return on it and now there is a shortage of corn, raising the price of corn. Please tell me how with out insurance you would expect any farm to bounce back from that, oh yea thats right most of them would not recover. Now the following year would have less corn and grain because so many farms went broke, raising food prices even more and that is just a small scale farm there are farms with 500+ acres who would be forever indebted. Crop insurance covers you enough to plant agaim next year, that's about it. And by the way crop insurance is not solely government it is a combination of private amd governmemt firms.
Jake August 03, 2012 at 07:25 PM
They have estimated about 20 billion in crop insurance amd aid for this year, but here is the big difference between giving farmers aid and giving every body else aid, that money is being used to make money. It is being used to keep farms operational. Unlike the wasted welfare money going down the drain to feed non contributing lowlifes
Jake August 03, 2012 at 07:43 PM
You want to see what it would be like with no farm aid? Go home throw out every corn, wheat, soybean, or oat based product, throw away all your vegetables and produce, all your meat and eggs and then proceed on with your life. Goodluck with that
Kristine Neumann August 03, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Jake, believe me I feel for all the farmers, but there's one thing that gets my goat. Why are farmers paid NOT to plant certain items?
Jake August 03, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Kristine they used to do that to manipulate prices and control overproduction, although most cases where a farm is being paid not to farm now a days is for conservation, they pay you to restore the land to prairie for a few years to balance tillable/natural land and preserve wildlifr

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