Governor JB Pritzker is urging US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Illinois farmers. The USDA’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) recently convened a State Emergency Board (SEB) meeting that recommended all 102 Illinois counties be declared an agriculture disaster.
Kankakee County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler initiated the call for a disaster declaration. He questioned why the farming community can’t get the same kind of attention other disasters, like floods and severe weather generate ?
A large winter snow melt followed by excessive rain during the normal planting season has caused rivers to rise to historic levels and soils to become saturated over the entire state. Pritzker says in a statement, "for our farmers, this has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois. While the state will continue to do everything we can to help, a Secretarial Disaster Declaration will provide much needed aid to impacted farmers in Illinois and I am hopeful the USDA will make this declaration."
Illinois Department of Agriculture Direction John Sullivan also supported the request for a disaster declaration.