By STEVE BINDER
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thanks to Mother Nature dumping excessive rain on parts of the Midwest during late April and early May, USDA officials recently designated 52 counties in Missouri, eight in Illinois and nine in Iowa as disaster areas.
The designation automatically triggers the department’s Farm Service Agency to make low-interest emergency loans available to any grower or rancher who sustained at least a 30 percent reduction in anticipated revenue or significant onetime property losses.
And that includes growers forced to replant early-growing corn damaged because of the excess water. Even growers without crop insurance are eligible for the emergency loans as long as they show proof of insurance intent going forward.
The storms in Missouri and Illinois hit between April 24 and May 11, with some areas reporting more than 11 inches of rain in less than a 48-hour period. Wet weather in Iowa and northeastern Illinois came during a two-day stretch startingMay 15.
In Illinois, the month of April was the second wettest on record, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel. Weather conditions led to a near-record number of replantings in the southern part of the state. COUNTRY Financial alone received more than 2,000 claims for replanting, with most located in the southern part of Illinois, according to Claims Manager Brad Clow.
“We were hit pretty hard (with claims) right after the first wave of storms rolled through,” he said. “This year, the rains just came at the wrong time.”
Depending on the type of damage reported, emergency loan rates as of July 1 were set at anywhere between 2.875-3.75 percent. Terms generally require repayment no later than 18 months, but some loan terms may be extended to up to five years. Applicants have up to eight months to apply for loans.
The eligible Illinois counties include Alexander, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Union in the southwestern part of the state, along with Carroll and Jo Daviess in northeastern Illinois. Iowa counties eligible for aid are Cass, Emmet, Harrison, Linn, Marion, Mills, Muscatine, Page and Taylor.
The counties eligible in Missouri include Audrain, Barton, Bollinger, Butler, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Iron, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Pike, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, St. Charles, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Stoddard, Texas, Warren, Wayne, Washington, Webster and Wright.