Durbin, Kirk ask president to issue Secretarial Disaster Declaration
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) joined the Illinois Congressional Delegation on Friday in calling for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for counties impacted by heavy rainfall.
The request was sent in a letter to President Obama. It followed a similar request from Gov. Bruce Rauner sent last week to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Rauner's letter cited reports from the Illinois Farm Services Agency of extensive water damage to corn and soybean fields, and low projected crop yields.
“Since June 1, excessive rainfall has caused significant damage to Illinois’ crops,” the lawmakers wrote. “On behalf of affected Illinois farmers, we respectfully request that you issue a Secretarial Disaster Declaration and that USDA disaster loans and emergency funding be offered to eligible counties that have been hurt by these catastrophic weather events.”
The letter goes on to say that June was the second-wettest month on record in Illinois with an average of 9.37 inches of rainfall statewide.
"This week the USDA released a report showing more than half the state’s soybean and 45 percent of the corn crop were in poor to fair condition," the lawmakers' letter stated. "Crop yields in affected areas are projected to be considerably lower this year."