Farmers coping with recent flooding
May 9, 2013 (KANEVILLE, Ill.) -- Governor Pat Quinn is asking President Obama to help eleven Illinois counties affected by last month's flooding.
The list includes Cook, DeKalb, Lake and McHenry Counties.
Quinn wants the president to declare the counties as major disaster areas so they can become eligible for grants and low-interest loans to repair damage.
Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are also sending a letter to President Obama asking for federal help.
Light rain in the area is not good news for local corn farmers, at those who have yet to get their crop in. There is still plenty of time left, so it's not at a point to panic, but there is a growing concern.
It's been a precarious spring for area farmers. After the wettest April in history, a lot of farmers are just now able to get into their fields.
Corn planting is now in full swing, but is significantly behind schedule.
"We're probably a week and half or so later than normal," said farmer Bob Faivre. "Normally we try to get going by the 18th or 19th of April."
While the rain has kept farmers out of their fields, the cold has actually played a much bigger role.
"Probably the biggest concern was the low temperatures. The 40 and 50 degree temperatures had more of an influence on our planting decision than the wet (weather) did," said Gil White, Kane County Farm Bureau.
The warm, dry weather of the last several days is helping corn farmers finally catch up in their planting.
As of last week, only 7 percent of the Illinois corn crop was planted, compared to 88 percent this time a year ago and an average of 48 percent to date.
The late planting could make the corn crop more susceptible to the heat of the summer.
"When we get into that late July, August time frame, when we typically have the hottest weather, we try to avoid that because the corn crop does not pollinate very well," said White.
The heavy rain did help recharge the soil moisture and with the more recent dry spell, the corn crop should still be okay.
"Right now, as long as we get some decent weather the next week or two, I think most of the corn will get in," Faivre said.
The cutoff date for corn farmers is right around May 25, so if the area were to get more rain, they might have a problem.
local, phil schwarz
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