The U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor, updated Thursday, shows about 92 percent of Illinois as abnormally dry, including several counties in northwest Illinois in extreme drought.
John Hawkins is with the Illinois Farm Bureau. "You may go out and see mud," he said, "but if you were digging a hole or anything like that, what you’d see is just dry dirt after the first five or six inches."
LeRoy Getz has been a dairy farmer for more than five decades. His farm is in Carroll County, one of the driest areas of the state's northwest corner.
He took a break from milking his cows to talk about what it will take to replenish the soil. “I think we’re off to a good start," he said.
"I don’t anticipate having two drought years back to back. If we go into it thinking it’s great, it will be great, right?”
Since the growing season is over, farmers like Getz are just hoping for good ground soil for spring planting, which means they'd like to see lots of rain--or snow in the months ahead.