Illinois seeks USDA disaster declaration due to flooding

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 23, 2015 7:23 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois, a top producer of soybeans and corn, on Thursday formally requested that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declare a disaster in counties hit hard by flooding.

The declaration would enable qualified farmers in affected counties to receive low-interest emergency loans.

Illinois had its wettest June on record this year, and July rainfall as of Tuesday totaled 5 to 10 inches (10 to 25 cm) in central areas of the state, roughly double the norm, according to the State Climatologist Office.

About 40 percent of the crops in Iroquois County in east-central Illinois, were under water at one time, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson said.

"After touring some of the hardest hit areas in the state this week, it is noticeable that we will see considerably lower crop yields in those areas this year," Nelson said in a statement on Thursday.

Illinois was the No. 1 U.S. soybean producer in 2014 and No. 2 in corn production. Other key crop states hit by excessive rains this summer include Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Alan Crosby)