Counties in central Illinois declared natural disaster areas

By WEEK Producer

Counties in central Illinois declared natural disaster areas

August 1, 2012 Updated Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Several counties in central Illinois have been declared natural disaster areas due to severe drought.

Those counties include Fulton, La Salle, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties.

In total, 218 additional counties in 12 states were designated at primary natural disaster areas and was announced Wednesday by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Additionally, Vilsack announced two new pieces of disaster assistance available to farmers and ranchers impacted by the drought. Included in the assistance is emergency haying and grazing.  With this in effect, nearly 3.8 million acres of conservation land will be available to livestock producers.  Also, crop insurance companies have agreed to provide a short grace period for farmers on insurance premiums in 2012. As a result, farmers now have an extra 30 days to make payments without incurring interest penalties on unpaid premiums.

"President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America's farmers and ranchers through this difficult time," said Vilsack. "The Obama Administration intends to continue helping those who farm or ranch and live and work in rural America through this period of hardship."

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