Local farmers could receive aid


By Maria Ahmad

The government has implemented a loan program to help farmers who may be in financial need due to the drought this summer.

“The year was not very successful for corn, but northern Illinois was luckier than the rest of the state,” said Russel Higgins, commercial agriculture educator at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Resource Center. “It would have been of benefit for farmers to have high crop insurance, at the least.”

The poor crop yield due to the drought has left a number of farmers in need of financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared all Illinois counties a natural disaster areas on Aug. 15. This allows certain farmers to be eligible for federal loans.

“The conversations at the federal level have been happening all summer,” said Mariam Wassmann, director of information at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. “Illinois really needs the assistance.”

The loan can be used to restore or replace essential property, pay essential family living expenses, reorganize farming operation and refinance certain debts.

“I am a grateful farmer who will be applying for the loan just for a small boost,” said Timothy Fitch, a farmer in the Rockford area. “It seems like a lot is happening in September with Isaac, hopefully bringing in rain, and discussion in the White House.”