U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today welcomed the declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that Alexander, Franklin, Jackson, Pulaski, Union and Williamson counties have been named primary drought disaster areas and Perry and Randolph counties have been named contiguous drought disaster areas. All qualified farm operators in primary and contiguous areas are eligible for low interest loans.
The USDA also announced a streamlined disaster declaration process and a lowered interest rate, now 2.25 percent, for loans. In addition, the payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012 is reduced from 25 to 10 percent. Costello recently urged the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Washington and the Illinois State FSA office to give prompt attention to emergency haying and grazing requests.
"This is good news for farmers in drought stricken areas," said Costello. "Not only will loans help them through a tough season, but the efficiencies in the process should allow them to get help faster. I will continue to work with the Illinois congressional delegation, the USDA and our farmers as drought conditions persist."