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August 17, 2019

8/12/2019 10:58:00 AM
All counties in state part of ag disaster
Improved conditions may be "too little, too late" for some crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared an agriculture disaster in all 102 Illinois counties, citing historic flooding across the state.

Illinois saw one of the wettest springs in its history this year, resulting in delays in getting corn and soybean crops planted.

Crawford County has had almost 29.5 inches of rain since Jan. 1, with 6.45 falling in July alone. That was on top of the 4.63 inches reported in June.

The declaration Thursday will allow farmers that experienced extreme delays in spring planting to access federal funds to aid their recovery efforts.

According to the USDA, low-interest emergency loans may be used to restore or replace essential property and cover production costs.

The loans can also be used to pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the family farming operation or refinance certain non-real estate operating debts.

"Most of this year has tested Illinois farmers' mental and physical fortitude," said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr.

"Weather variability, from unrelenting spring rains to extreme July heat, has caused uncertainty in our communities as we head toward what is sure to be a long harvest," he added.

"The secretarial disaster declaration is a recognition of our struggles in 2019 through the availability of federal resources to aid our recovery," Guebert said. "With this declaration, Illinois farmers will be eligible to access other forms of assistance from the USDA.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan says the disaster declaration is recognition of the extreme weather conditions state farmers faced.

Conditions were much improved last week, but it may be a case of too little too late.

According to the USDA, the statewide average temperature was 73.1 degrees, 1 degree below normal. Precipitation averaged .36 inches, .44 inches below normal. There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week.

Topsoil moisture supply was rated at 13 percent very short, 44 percent short, 41 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 5 percent very short, 35 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Crops continued to lag. Corn silking was at 81 percent. Corn in the dough stage was at 29 percent, compared to 79 percent last year and 58 percent for the five-year average.

The crop's condition was 5 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 35 percent good and 6 percent excellent.

Soybeans blooming was at 72 percent, compared to 95 percent last year and average of 90 percent. Beans setting pods was at 30 percent.

Soybean condition was 6 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 34 percent good and 6 percent excellent.

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