USDA declares agriculture disaster in Illinois due to floods

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared an agriculture disaster in all 102 Illinois counties, citing historic flooding across the state this year.

Farm Landscape, Photo Date: 8/2/14 / Source: RichardBH / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The declaration Thursday will allow farmers that experienced extreme delays in spring planting to access federal funds to aid their recovery efforts.

According to the USDA, low-interest emergency loans may be used to restore or replace essential property and cover production costs. The loans can also be used to pay essential family living expenses, reorganize the family farming operation or refinance certain non-real estate operating debts.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan says the disaster declaration is recognition of the extreme weather conditions state farmers faced.

Illinois saw one of the wettest springs in state history this year, resulting in delays in getting the corn and soybean crops planted.