Illinois Farmlands to Get Federal Cash Boost After Vilsack Declares Disaster Zones

Illinois Farmlands to Get Federal Cash Boost After Vilsack Declares Disaster ZonesSource: Google Street View
Jo Marquez
Published on November 29, 2023

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack brings federal aid to the heartland. Illinois' farmlands are set for a much-needed cash injection after a series of violent storms ripped through the region earlier this summer, striking from Christian to Washington counties with a rare ferocity.

The agricultural communities, clinging to the soil raked by nature's brute hands, have been marked for urgent federal assistance. In a sweeping disaster designation, Secretary Vilsack has initiated a lifeline to the battered counties as well as those on their periphery, according to a release from the state of Illinois. Suffering heavy losses due to the derecho and tornadoes that occurred between June 29 and June 30, 2023, five Illinois counties have been given a critical nod for recovery aid.

The generosity doesn't end at the epicenter of the crisis. The contiguous counties, which include Adams, Cass, and Randolph, among others, are eligible for aid, despite the tumbleweed that has been rolled past their borders by the same storm. The official list extends to neighbours like Shelby and Warren, showcasing a domino effect of devastation where Mother Nature played the first tile. "I want to thank Governor JB Pritzker for working with Secretary Vilsack and the USDA to provide resources to producers impacted by these damaging storms," Jerry Costello II, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, told the Prairie State.

Making their stand in the fields, Illinois farmers within the declared disaster zones are urged to step into the local USDA Service Centers. Here, they can weave their way through the red tape for emergency loans, hoping to sow the seeds of tomorrow's harvest. Eligible producers have eight months from the declaration date to apply, urged by Jerry Costello II, who encouraged the heartland's cultivators "to contact their local USDA Service Center to confirm eligibility." Among many, these loans could be the difference between despair and a shot at dawn after dusk's devastation.