Waterlogged farmers in the eastern Corn Belt finally got a break this week.
USDA on Wednesday declared 87 counties in Illinois and 53 counties in Indiana as “primary natural disaster areas” based on the heavy rains that left numerous fields flooded in May, June and beyond.
This means that farmers and ranchers who experienced losses from the record rainfall are now eligible to apply for emergency federal help so they can weather the financial aspects of these storms, which could be significant.
“Water, water everywhere!” a farmer in Sangamon County, Ill., told AgWeb on July 10. “A really good crop six weeks ago that has went downhill rapidly. We have lost 25% to 35% of our yield potential. And the worst is we have had 4 inches of rain in the past 36 hours. A lot of standing water, yellow spots in our corn fields, and drowned-out holes. Not a pretty sight.”
Sangamon County is one of the Illinois counties in that list of “primary natural disaster areas,” according to USDA.
The announcement gives producers access to low-interest loans and other disaster assistance programs, which are administered by the Farm Service Agency.
USDA also said that a number of counties in Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio that adjoin the affected areas would also be eligible for assistance.
“Our hearts go out” to the farmers and ranchers in these areas of the Midwest, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times.”
How did your fields handle the big rains in May and June? Let us know how things look now in the comments.