Illinois farmers say emergency drought declaration could help

July 10, 2012

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(Flickr/Ricardo Diaz)

Some Illinois farmers say a state emergency declaration could help them cope with the abnormally dry weather. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came out with a similar declaration for much of his state yesterday, according to the Associated Press.

Jim Anderson has farmed corn and soybean crops in Williamson county. He said his corn crop is practically wiped out because of the lack of rain in Southern Illinois this summer.
 
"I hadn't had the nerve to walk the corn field until yesterday afternoon when I started, and you just walk down between two rows and there's nothing on the stalks," Anderson said.
 
Doug Yoder, Senior Director of Affiliate and Risk Management at the Illinois Farm Bureau, said a declaration from Governor Pat Quinn could give farmers access to low interest loans or open up the Conservation Reserve Program, emergency land reserves for grazing or haying. Yoder said it might be too late for the corn crops, but this could help livestock farmers. 
 
Frank Doll, a dairy farmer in Bond County, said if the state's willing to give any assistance, he'll take it, but it might not be enough. 
 
"The feed we would harvest off of those acres is not quality dairy feed, it wouldn't really produce milk, it would just kind of sustain some of your animals to keep them alive," he said. 
 
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn told reporters at an unrelated event Tuesday that he's working on the "drought situation."
 
"There are certain part of Illinois that are challenged, " Quinn said.
 
He added, "We'll have something to say very shortly." 
 
According to the most recent U.S. Drought monitor report, eight percent of Illinois is dealing with an extreme drought situation.