MT. VERNON, IL (WREX) - Governor Pat Quinn asks the USDA to consider seven additional counties for support as they deal with the recent drought. That list now includes Stephenson County.
The USDA has already approved support for 26 counties in Illinois, none of which are in the Rockford region.
If Stephenson County does receive disaster designation from the USDA, farmers in that area could seek assistance from the Farm Service Agency. That assistance includes access to emergency loans.
Illinois also announced a statewide program to help farmers by teaming up the Illinois Finance Authority with local banks. That program comes with four options:
1) The Agricultural Restructuring Debt Guarantee Program provides an 85% guarantee with a term up to 30 years on a local bank loan up to $500,000 used to consolidate existing debt and spread payments out over a longer period.
2) The Working Capital Guarantee Program provides an 85% guarantee with a commitment up to three years on a local bank loan up to $250,000 used for input costs related to planting and raising agricultural crops.
3) The Agricultural Loan Participation Program provides IFA purchase of up to $500,000 of a customer's bank loan to reduce interest rate with a loan term up to 10 years.
4) The Rural Development Loan Program provides loans under a relending program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development from $50,000 to $250,000 for economic development financing in communities with less than 25,000 population.
In addition to these offers, Illinois launched a new website with information on drought conditions and help available. Drought.Illinois.gov also makes it easier for farmers to find the resources they need.
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