Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

July 17, 2012

Illinois farmers face pending crop disaster

WALTONVILLE, Ill. — The governor of Illinois says much of the state’s corn crop has reached disaster levels and immediate help is needed.

“This is the driest time that we’ve ever had in our state of Illinois, and the hottest weather,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, saying there could be worldwide implications if the corn crop fails.

Some estimates have lowered the expected harvest to 50 percent of past levels.

“We are the heart of the heartland," Quinn said. "We feed our country. We feed our world."

Quinn said 26 Illinois counties already have been declared agricultural disaster areas.

The governor said he spoke with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Monday about the plight of Midwestern farmers. Quinn said Vilsack told him Congress needs to act quickly and pass the farm bill. That would make a variety of programs available to farmers and allow them to get past the pending crisis, he said.

Acting state Director of Agriculture Bob Flider said there are some options available to help farmers meet many of their most pressing needs. For instance, there is grass available in set-aside acres for feeding livestock and hay exchange programs to meet the needs of their farm animals.

Also, if passed, there are numerous federal loan programs to help farmers manage their debt.

Quinn said agriculture is the “heart and soul” of the Illinois economy and if it suffers, the rest of the state will as well to in the loss of jobs and revenue.

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Details for this story were provided by the Mt. Vernon (Ill.) News-Register

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