With 71 percent of Illinois experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, the USDA is hitting the field to see the effect on farmers. Undersecretary Karis Gutter is touring Southern Illinois Thursday, with stops in Goreville, Grand Chain, Cobden, Olmstead and Anna. Gutter says the best hope is for Congress to pass the 2012 Farm Bill.
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Otherwise he says Congress will have to come up with Plan B, which would probably result in some sort of emergency assistance. Gutter says he’s confident there’s support to pass the new Farm Bill. Cattle producer Carlyn Light of Dongola has been working his herd for 50 years. He says this is the worst drought he has ever encountered. He says with grain scarce, the most pressing need for producers is help to preserve their herds. He says there’s a glut on the beef market and the price of beef has dropped by 20 percent in the last month. Light says he fears the glut now will result in a beef shortage in the next six to 12 months.