On July 23, Gov. Rauner sent a letter to USDA officials requesting all counties in Illinois experiencing crop damage related to recent flooding be included in a Secretarial Disaster Declaration.
A Secretarial Disaster Declaration would provide farmers in designated counties the ability to receive low interest emergency loans if they meet all eligibility requirements.
The State Emergency Board will convene July 27 to review the county emergency board minutes and loss assessments in preparation for determining county eligibility. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will continue to assist U.S. Farm Service Agency (FSA) officials in securing benefits for farmers who are impacted by flooding.
Even those crops not damaged directly by flooding have suffered. Long periods of rain and drenched fields have slowed farmers all season and so far, crops haven’t been able to make up for the slow start. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the second cutting of hay is only 52% complete, compared to the five-year average of 83%. 96% of soybeans have now emerged from the soil, still behind the five-year average of 100%. 75% of corn plants are silking, compared to the typical 77% at this point, though 17% have reached the dough stage, which is actually ahead of the five-year average of 16%.
Precipitation last week averaged .97 inches across the state, .18 inches more than normal, leaving an average of 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Though many farmers were still waiting on fields to dry out more before they were able to work.
Crop conditions are dropping again, with 56% of corn acres rated as good or excellent, compared to 61% last week, and 47% of soybeans receiving the same marks, down from 52%.