Disaster Declarations are needed in Ohio and Illinois, representatives said
By Diego Flammini
Politicians from two U.S. Corn Belt states are asking the USDA to do more to support farmers during a difficult growing season.
Illinois Governor JB Pritkzer and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown have sent letters to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting his agency to make Disaster Declarations.
Doing so would make federal resources available to farmers and agribusinesses affected by the wet spring.
Gov. Pritzker’s July 3 letter asked for a statewide declaration.
A meeting between the Farm Services Agency and State Emergency Board “recommended all 102 Illinois counties be declared an agricultural disaster,” he said in a statement. “A large winter snow melt followed by excessive rain during the normal planting season has caused rivers to rise to historic levels and soils to become saturated over the entire state.”
Sen. Brown’s letter called on the federal ag agency to act quickly.
Farmers need the federal resources to offset any losses incurred this year, he said.
“These planting delays and abandoned crops not only harm those for whom farming is in their livelihood, but the market effects of unplanted acres in Ohio and across the Midwest could have significant consequences for livestock, rural communities and consumers,” the July 2 letter says.
Asking the federal government to help is a necessary step given the challenging conditions, said Terry McClure, a cash crop producer from Grover Hill, Ohio.
“If this year isn’t a disaster, then I really don’t know what is,” he told Farms.com. “I’m certain this is the wettest spring we’ve ever had on our farm. I’m going to have 1,500 acres go unplanted Some farmers have just had their crops washed out and it’s too late to replant.
“This isn’t new to us and I’m sure some other farmers in the Midwest are in the same position.”