The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a secretarial disaster declaration for crop damages and losses due to flooding and for Indiana farmers in 53 counties.
Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter to USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack at the end of July explaining how the heavy rainfall has had a significant impact on the yield of Indiana crops and overall on our state's farmers.
Out of the state's 92 counties, 53 were included in the declaration request. Newton, Jasper, Fountain and Tippecanoe counties made the list — Boone, Cass, Howard, Miami, Montgomery, and Pulaski are included.
Under the declaration, farmers can now apply for low-interest emergency loans.
"Farms in counties all across the state have suffered because of the excessive rainfall we've experienced during our spring and summer months this year," Gov. Pence said in a news release. "I'm thankful to the Indiana Farm Service Agency and the USDA for recognizing the need for assistance for our Hoosier farmers, and I hope that those affected will apply for the loans they need."
Farmers interested in applying for loans, please visit the USDA website. For more information on applying for a loan, view the USDA Farm Loan Fact Sheet.
Iroquois, Ford, Vermilion Counties declared federal disaster areas --Kankakee and Livingston too--
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted the request of Governor Bruce Rauner seeking federal disaster assistance for 87 Illinois counties and 14 contiguous counties that suffered losses due to rain and flooding this year.
Counties which have been declared a federal disaster area include Iroquois, Ford, Vermilion, Kankakee, Livingston Champaign, and Douglas ...and Edgar County is also eligible for relief as a contiguous county.
The state has suffered a lot of storm and rain damage throughout this Spring and Summer," Rauner said. "I am pleased our request for federal assistance was granted and encourage farmers throughout these counties to contact their local Farm Service Agency for questions."
Iroquois County FSA Director Tammy Hubert expects more information from the state. But, she says, any farmers with concerns about any conservation practices such as waterways, terraces or structures to keep the FSA office informed. Emergency assistance is likely. The Iroquois FSA offcie is at 815-432-3946.
The governor issued an official letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack on July 23, 2015. The 19 members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation also signed a letter to President Obama to endorse the governor's request for this designation. Counties eligible for assistance were determined through the Loss Assessment Reports reviewed by the USDA.
"I am grateful to all the members of our Illinois Congressional delegation for their strong and united support for securing this assistance for farmers throughout the state," Rauner added.
Farmers who believe they may be eligible for assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office. Loan applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and applicant's repayment ability. Farmers who have questions should contact the state FSA office at (217) 241-6600.
The Tri-Point School district stands to gain big-time revenues from a new wind farm.
The Kelly Creek wind operation has gained the approval of the Kankakee County Board. It's in Norton Township. Kelly Creek is an expansion of the Pilot Hill Wind farm near Herscher. It totals 108 turbines extending into Ford County. There are 33 turbines in Kankakee County.
The specs show 40 landowners in Kankakee County and 70 in Ford Count have entered into leases with Kelly Creek.
The project is expected to create between $2 - $3 million annually in new property tax revenues and lease income to local property owners.
Tri-Point School Superintendent Jeff Brian looks forward to the 24 turbines in the school district, producing over $400,000 in revenue for operations.
Iroquois County ‘public comment’ policy heads back to committee
The 'public comment' section of Iroquois County Board meetings seems to have been worked out, but the matter's going back to the policy & procedure committee.
No action was taken Tuesday on the new public comment guidelines. The Board is addressing what's become, at times, lengthy sessions at meetings. The Policy & Procedure committee has worked at trying to move meetings along.
Board Chairman Kyle Anderson said the intent isn't to limit the public from coming in; it's to try to stick to the point at what's going on. He said we don't have a lot of comments, but a policy isn't a bad idea.
State's Attorney Jim Devine has OK'd guidelines that would limit comments to 5-minutes per person but the chairman could allow more time, if needed. A total time-period of 30 minutes for public comment would be part of the agenda.
The Board encourages comments to be relevant to the meeting agenda. Board members are not obligated to respond to any comment or questions.
Vermilion County Board votes to limit public comment, public cries foul
Allowing people a voice in their government is the issue pressed in Vermilion County. Citizens are objecting after the County Board decided Tuesday evening to limit comments from the public at meetings to three minutes each, instead of five.
The new rule will find the public comment section of meetings limited to 30 minutes.
The Board's legal advisor said it just controls the time. Bill Donahue said the average person can get their point across in 3 minutes. A total of 30 minutes for public comment is adequate and more people can be heard with the 3-minute limit.
Donahue said the public can also submit comments or questions in writing by email, in-person, or by dropping it off at the county board office.
Vincent Koers of Danville resident Vince Koers said 'It's a sense of frustration because there is no other way to talk to the board ...other than the time that you give them. So cutting it down to 3 or even 1 minute you're destroying the purpose of the way government is supposed to work in Vermilion County.''
Despite objections the rule change was approved with 15 – 5. Five members were absent.