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Drought Update

September 26, 2012:
Because of drought, this growing season has been one of the most challenging in recent history. In addition to reduced yields, sampling indicates the Illinois corn crop has elevated levels of aflatoxin and those levels have not diminished as the harvest has progressed.

The grain industry recently approached the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and asked it to request relief. Specifically, the industry wanted a waiver from the federal prohibition against blending aflatoxin-contaminated corn. This request was sent Friday, Sept. 21, to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the department is pleased to announce it has been granted.

A copy of the approval letter and a Certificate of Compliance that must be completed and signed in order to blend corn are pasted below. For further information, please contact the Bureau of Agricultural Products Inspection at (217) 782-3817 or the Bureau of Warehouses (217) 782-2895.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Response Letter
Alfatoxin Guidance
Blending Corn Containing Alatoxin Certification Form

July 13, 2012
Letter from Acting Director Flider to USDA Secretary Vilsack

Hay Directory

The first half of 2012 was the sixth driest on record, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.  Precipitation throughout the state averaged just 12.6 inches for the January through June period, or nearly seven inches below normal.  In addition, every month this year has had above normal temperatures and the statewide average of 52.8 degrees for the past six months is the warmest on record.

This combination of extremely hot and dry weather has caused Illinois crop conditions to deteriorate.  The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working closely with its federal counterparts, specifically the Farm Service Agency (FSA), to determine whether Illinois qualifies for an agricultural disaster declaration because of drought-related crop losses.  An indication of the scope of the damage should emerge after July 13, the date farmers must certify their crops that are enrolled in FSA programs.  Such a declaration would qualify farmers for USDA assistance programs, including low-interest emergency loans.

The department has produced an online directory to help Illinois producers locate hay if their pastures have been badly damaged by drought and they have no feed for their livestock. The directory, which is free of charge, can be accessed at  Copies also are available by calling the Bureau of Marketing and Promotion at (217) 782-4925. 

The department also is an active participant on the Drought Response Task Force, a group consisting of representatives from various state agencies whose sole responsibility is to monitor the conditions of the state’s water resources and coordinate the state’s response to drought situations. Its goal is to provide state and local officials with information and tools that promote better decision-making in water supply planning and reduce drought-related impacts.

For more information about federal disaster assistance programs, click the appropriate links provided below:

Emergency Loans (EM)
EM provides loans to help recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine.

Disaster Debt Set Aside (DSA)
DSA may be available if you have an outstanding FSA direct loan and are unable to make the scheduled payments.  Up to one full year’s payment can be moved to the end of the loan.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)
ECP provides cost-share payments for removing debris, repairing fences, repairing conservation structures, and providing water for livestock.

Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE)
SURE provides cash payments for crop production losses or crop quality losses, or both.

NonInsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
NAP provides assistance for crop losses when federal crop insurance is not available.

Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program (LFP)
LFP provides cash payments for grazing losses because of drought. Also provides cash payments for grazing losses due to fire on federally managed grazing land.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program for Livestock (ELAP for Livestock)
ELAP for Livestock provides cash payments for livestock death and feed losses.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program for Honeybees (ELAP for Honeybees) 
ELAP for Honeybees provides cash payments for death of honeybees and feed losses.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program for Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP for Farm-Raised Fish)
ELAP for Farm-Raised Fish provides cash payments for death of farm-raised fish and feed losses.