IL Governor Offers Help To Drought-Stricken Farmers

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WALTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Gov. Pat Quinn says the state will
offer an array of debt restructuring and loan programs to farmers
and ranchers affected by the drought.
He visited a family farm in the southern Illinois on Monday,
where much of the corn crop is wilting.
Quinn says the state has also launched a website to help. It's
drought.illinois.gov
The Illinois Farm Bureau says it's the six driest year on record
so far. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was
12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering.
Drought is affecting much of the Midwest, where almost a third
of the nation's corn crop has been damaged by heat and drought so
severe that some farmers have cut down crops midway through the
growing season.

 

BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will be in Southern Illinois Monday morning to offer what little he can in the way of help for drought stricken farmers.   Illinois climatologists are calling the current situation the worst drought farmers in the state have seen since the infamous dry spell in 1988.

Farmer Greg Guenther tells FOX 2 his stalks are tough to look at.

“This corn should at least be a couple of feet higher,” he says.  “The ears, and this is a good ear for this year, and this is pathetic.”

And the pathetic he’s describing is actually in better shape than much of the area.  Officials say much of the crop south of Interstate 70 is, “on the brink of total failure.”

Guenther says he expects little from the state other than a push with contacts in Washington for federal disaster declaration.  But even that comes with few guarantees, he says.

“As far as disaster, there’s low interest loans, but it’s still a loan that needs to be paid back.  And sometimes the rules on those loans just make them not worth messing with.”

Farmers who think they can salvage their crops will be playing a waiting game until September.  They’ll hope for rain, but they won’t be able to tell what’s in the crop until its harvested.

If there’s any good news, Guenther says the yield likely won’t be as bad as some fear.  He points out a lot of extra corn was planted during the very nice weather this spring.

“There were almost five million acres more corn planted because the weather was so good this spring that even with the lower yields we’re still going to have more carry over from this year than in 2010 actually,” he said.