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Illinois Congressional Delegation Urges USDA to Support State's Request for Disaster Declaration

WASHINGTON – The entire Illinois Congressional Delegation sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue supporting Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s request for a disaster declaration from the USDA for eligible counties in Illinois impacted by significant damage done to crops by ongoing flooding since March 2019.  This season has been the second-wettest spring on record for Illinois—and the wettest in 30 years—with the State receiving 16.36 inches through late May.  Farmers in Illinois have experienced serious delays with completing the planting of their crops.

“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 members wrote in a letter to Secretary Perdue.

The letter was signed by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation: U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),and U.S. Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL-01), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03), Chuy Garcia (D-IL-04), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Sean Casten (D-IL-06), Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Mike Bost (R-IL-12), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), John Shimkus (R-IL-15), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), and Darin LaHood (R-IL-18).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

 

July 2, 2019

Dear Secretary Perdue:

We write to support Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s request for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for eligible counties in Illinois, as a result of the significant damage done to crops by ongoing flooding since March 2019.

Since March, flooding resulting from excessive rainfall and rising river levels have caused significant damage or delays to Illinois crops.  This season has been the second-wettest spring on record for Illinois—and the wettest in 30 years—with the State receiving 16.36 inches through late May.  Farmers in Illinois have experienced serious delays with completing the planting of their crops.  For example, since late May, Illinois farmers have experienced several weeks with less than 2.5 days that were suitable for fieldwork.  Earlier this month, the USDA released a report stating that “due to continued wet conditions, corn and soybean planting progress are over 50 percentage points behind the 5-year average.”  The report also shows that 53 percent of the corn crop and 73 percent of the State’s winter wheat were in poor to fair condition.  Crop yields in affected areas are projected to be considerably lower this year.  The Governor seeks timely federal assistance from the USDA.

Governor Pritzker has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary.  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.

We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.