Programs announced to help farmers hit by drought

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Illinois will provide state assistance to farmers and residents in areas hit hard by the 2012 drought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the entire state of Illinois is in a drought.  The hardest-hit counties are in the southern part of the state.  This is the sixth-worst drought in history for Illinois.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn added counties to the list of those declared eligible for emergency support from the USDA.  To qualify, the counties must have demonstrated crop reduction losses of 30 percent or more, which is the USDA threshold for triggering disaster relief.   Farmers can then seek help from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans.

Gov. Quinn also announced four aid programs available statewide and offered by the Illinois Finance Authority:

  • Agricultural Restructuring Debt Guarantee Program provides an 85 percent 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 
  • Working Capital Guarantee Program provides an 85 percent guarantee with a commitment up to three years on a local bank loan up to $250,000 used for input costs related to planting and raising agricultural crops
  • 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
  • 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

The state launched a website for information on drought conditions, disaster declarations and other information.  It includes a hay directory to help producers locate hay to feed their livestock.  The website is at