Gov. Pat Quinn toured a farm in Waltonville to check on the effects the drought is having on agriculture. Quinn says seven more counties qualify for federal help under USDA rules. Those added Monday brings the total to 33 Illinois counties that qualify for a disaster designation. Under USDA rules, counties automatically qualify if they have been in a severe drought for eight or more consecutive weeks during the growing season.
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The state has set up a website where assistance is available for farmers, www.drought.illinois.gov. The four state programs are:
1.Agricultural Restructuring Debt Guarantee Program provides 85% guarantee with a term up to 30 years on a local bank loan up to $500,000 used to consolidate existing debt and spread payments out over a longer period.
2.Working Capital Guarantee Program provides 85% guarantee with a commitment up to 3 years on a local bank loan up to $250,000 used for input costs related to planting and raising agricultural crops;
3.Agricultural Loan Participation Program provides IFA purchase of up to $500,000 of a customer’s bank loan to reduce interest rate with a loan term up to 10 years;
4.Rural Development Loan Program provides loans under a relending program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development from $50,000 to $250,000 for economic development financing in communities with less than 25,000 population
Quinn also used the occasion to call on members of Congress to pass a new farm bill. He says that would assure farmers get the adequate help they need.
The 33 counties include Alexander, Bond, Champaign, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Green, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Stephenson, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.