Durbin: Secretary of Agriculture Declares Entire State of Illinois Eligible for Drought Relief

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, for declaring the remaining Illinois counties and their surrounding areas eligible for emergency USDA assistance.  Last month, Durbin joined Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and eighteen members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in supporting Governor Pat Quinn's request for the entire state to receive this designation.


“This designation will help Illinois farmers, families, and communities affected by the drought.  With agriculture the number one industry in Illinois in terms of economic impact, when farmers struggle, the entire state feels it,” said Durbin.  “I thank Secretary Vilsack for his prompt review of Governor Quinn’s request and stand ready to help efforts to minimize the impact of these damaging conditions.”


“Farmers in Illinois and their families could benefit further if the House of Representatives passes comprehensive legislation – as the Senate did – that provides much needed disaster assistance and gives farmers the certainty they need to plan for a productive, sustainable future.”


In June, the Senate passed a new five-year farm bill with a strong bipartisan vote.  The Senate bill reauthorizes several expired disaster programs to immediately help producers; provides a safety net for producers; makes investments in rural communities, research, and energy development; protects nutrition programs and saves taxpayers $23 billion over the next ten years.  And it would provide farmers -- and the businesses that rely on those farmers -- with long-term certainty in farm policy that will allow them to plan out their recovery from this drought.


Under today’s announcement the following counties received USDA primary disaster designation:  Bureau, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Henry, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Mercer, Putnam, Stark and Will.  And the following counties received USDA contiguous county designation: Boone, Ford, Fulton, Henderson, Iroquois, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, Marshall, Ogle, Peoria, Rock Island, Warren, Whiteside and Winnebago.