SUMNER, ILL. (WTHI) - Farmers looking for help for their drought stricken crops may be getting all they are going to get this year.
With crops dying in the fields, there had been some hope that a new farm bill might produce some direct aid to farmers.
While the government has bailed out the banks and the auto industry, it looks like drought-ravaged farmers will be on their own.
The sign at the edge of Summer may be welcoming, but the cornfield behind it has taken about all of the abuse this summer could provide.
Like many fields in the Wabash Valley, the corn plants here are short and the endless heat and lack of water has cut out almost any hopes for a decent harvest.
The area has been declared a disaster by the agriculture department.
"It's an historic drought," said Illinois 19th District John Shimkus during a stop in Sumner. "We've been through them before but not within our memory."
The crops in the Wabash Valley have taken a beating during this drought, but the Congressman says farmers shouldn't look for any specific disaster help when the farm bill is passed later this summer.
"There's not going to be any disaster payouts, so if someone didn't opt to take crop insurance they shouldn't look to Uncle Sam to bail them out," said Shimkus.
The drought has pointed out the importance of crop insurance, and he says farm state representatives are working to make certain that program remains in place.
"There's no private insurance program without the government being involved," said Shimkus. "I think we can save money in the long run on the farm insurance program if the producers have some skin in the game."
So, despite a drought that may well be of historic proportions, farmers will be left with little assistance in dealing with their dying crops.
Congressman Shimkus says there is some talk in Washington about easing requirements tied to the "Renewable Fuels Act" that could make more grain available to livestock producers.
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