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Local

Pritzker seeks statewide agricultural disaster declaration

In the second time in as many weeks, an Illinois political official has urged US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to issue a disaster declaration for the state.

First it was Rep. Cheri Bustos asking for the declaration to cover the counties in the state’s 17th District. Now it is Gov. J.B. Pritzker calling for the declaration to cover the entirety of the state.

“For months our state has been battling historic flooding, causing untold damage to homes, businesses and farms across Illinois,” Pritzker said in a news release July 3. “For our farmers this has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois.”

The USDA’s Farm Services Agency recommended at a State Emergency Board meeting that all 102 counties be declared an agriculture disaster.

“Our region is facing unprecedented weather conditions – the likes of which our farmers and producers have never seen in their lives,” Bustos, D-Moline, said in a June 21 news release.

In a June 28 Daily Times story, Tazewell County Farm Bureau Manager Emily Rogier called the flooding the “worst” Illinois farmers have seen in a quarter of a century, and said a 10 to 20 percent yield loss is a “representative” estimate for farmers statewide.

The declaration request from the SEB must be reviewed by USDA staff before ratification from Perdue.

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