Durbin, Kirk: U.S. Department of Agriculture Issues Disaster Declaration & Makes Federal Relief Available for Illinois Farmers

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced today that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack has issued a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Illinois counties impacted by heavy rainfall earlier this year. The Secretary’s action ensures that farmers in all eligible counties will be able to apply for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), a division of the USDA.


“Today’s federal disaster declaration will give a helping hand to Illinois farmers whose corn and soybean fields were flooded by record-breaking rainfall this spring and early this summer, and whose crops are wiped out due to extreme weather and forces outside their control,” Durbin said. “It may take some producers time to recover what they have lost, but we hope today’s decision will give Illinois farmers some relief knowing that federal help is available.”


“The farmers who have made Illinois the nation’s number one producer of soybeans and number two producer of corn deserve our support while they recover from this year’s severe storms. I am pleased that with this assistance our farmers can begin the recovery process and get back on their feet,” said Kirk.


Though the storm severely damaged corn and soybean fields, farmers are eligible to apply for loans no matter what crop they grow. Farmers in the affected counties will have eight months to apply for emergency loans from the FSA. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm, and the security and repayment ability of the operator.


Last month, Durbin and Kirk were joined by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation in requesting that President Obama issue a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from USDA for Illinois counties impacted by heavy rainfall, which will allow farmers in the region severely impacted by flooding to receive low interest emergency USDA loans.  Their letter was sent in support of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s request letter to Secretary Vilsack, which cited reports from the Illinois Farm Services Agency of extensive water damage to corn and soybean fields and low projected crop yields.


Members signing on to the letter of support include: U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL), U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL), U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL), U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), U.S. Representative Robert Dold (R-IL), U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL), U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL), U.S. Representative Dan Lipinksi (D-IL), U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), U.S. Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), U.S. Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL).