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SPRINGFIELD – Downstate Senate Democrats are encouraging livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants suffering interruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for $5 million in business recovery funding through the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  

“Farmers have continued to put food on store shelves and on families’ tables during these tough times,” Senate Agriculture Chairman Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “I’m confident these funds will help benefit producers, consumers and rural communities that have been impacted by COVID-19 disruptions.”

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically slowed livestock processing throughout the state, which forced farmers to hold animals for longer periods of time, resulting in higher input costs and cancelled, delayed or reduced sales.

“There is no doubt that Illinois farmers have suffered as a result of this public health crisis,” said Patrick Joyce (D-Essex), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Our agriculture economy is a driving force for our state, and it’s vital that we help these folks get back on track. These programs are a huge win for livestock farmers and small meat plants in Illinois.”

“The economic wellbeing of our state depends so heavily on the success of our farmers,” said David Koehler (D-Peoria), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “It’s our job to ensure our farmers have the financial resources they need to continue putting food on the tables of all Illinoisans.”

"Farmers are a critical part of the downstate Illinois community and our economy," said Christopher Belt (D-Centreville). "COVID-19 posed a number of new challenges for Illinois farmers, but they worked tirelessly to ensure we still had food on our tables. I encourage farmers to take advantage of these grants to make up for some of the financial losses they suffered during the pandemic."

Financial assistance is available through three programs administered by the Department of Agriculture. Individuals and businesses are only eligible to apply for one program, and applicants located in a disproportionately impacted area (DIA) will receive a 10% increase in funding. A list of DIA’s can be found here.

Online applications are available at agr.state.il.us. Applications will close Oct. 31, 2020. Questions about this funding can be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..