SPRINGFIELD — The rain deluge of 2019 has prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare an agricultural disaster in all 102 Illinois counties, it was announced Thursday.
The department had responded to a request from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on July 3 in the wake of statewide flooding produced by seven months of above-average rainfall. May sunk into the history books as the third-wettest in state history.
The federal declaration opens the way for farmers and agribusiness to tap resources such as low interest loans to help them recover. A statement from Pritzker’s office said such loans can be used to “restore or replace essential property, cover production costs, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the family farming operation ...”
"Illinois farmers have experienced months of hardship due to extreme weather across the state, but today's declaration means we can begin the road to recovery," Pritzker said.
John Sullivan, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, welcomed the news. “The Secretarial Disaster Declaration is a recognition of the extreme weather conditions Illinois farmers have faced this planting season,” he said.
“I thank Gov. Pritzker for his leadership in pursuing this relief and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for his responsiveness in providing this needed assistance to Illinois’ agricultural community.”