(Illinois Department of Agriculture photo)

Following historic flooding across the state of Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker is urging US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Illinois farmers, in a letter sent to the USDA Wednesday.

According to a statement from Gov. Pritzker's office, the USDA’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) recently convened a State Emergency Board (SEB) meeting that recommended Kendall and all 102 Illinois counties be declared an agriculture disaster.

A large winter snow melt followed by excessive rain during the normal planting season has caused rivers to rise to historic levels and soils to become saturated over the entire state.

According to the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency, the total liquid precipitation for the year stands at 26.42 inches, which is on pace to break the record of 51 inches of rain in 2009. 

Pritzker says in a statement, "for our farmers, this has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois. While the state will continue to do everything we can to help, a Secretarial Disaster Declaration will provide much needed aid to impacted farmers in Illinois and I am hopeful the USDA will make this declaration."

The request from the SEB must be reviewed by USDA staff before the ratification by Secretary Perdue. The declaration will provide access to federal resources for farmers and agri-businesses who experienced an extraordinary and unprecedented spring planting season.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Direction John Sullivan also supported the request for federal assistance.