13 counties across northern Illinois eligible for drought relief program

Parts of McHenry, Lake and Boone counties still suffer from extreme drought despite recent rain.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is making loans available to small businesses, particularly those in the agriculture industry, in response to the ongoing drought across northern Illinois.

The low-interest disaster loans will be available in 13 Illinois counties where the drought has been especially severe throughout the spring and early summer: Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, La Salle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Will and Winnebago.

The drought occurring in the northern part of the state and southern Wisconsin was declared a disaster beginning June 15, according to the Small Business Administration.

Several inches of much needed rain fell across northern Illinois over the last week. Through Saturday, areas closest to the Wisconsin line got the least, while some parts of Will County saw close to 6 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Despite several days with rain in the last week, parts of northern Illinois continue to deal with drought conditions. A drought remains in place for almost all areas north of Interstate 88 as of Tuesday morning, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Northern parts of Boone, McHenry, and Lake counties remain under extreme drought conditions.

The Small Business Administration loan program is available to both farm and non-farm businesses that suffered losses directly related to the drought, according to a news release. However, producers, such as farmers and ranchers, are not eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration.

Selected applicants can receive a loan worth up to $2 million with interest rates between 2% and 3% for a 30-year period, according to the release. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 22, 2022.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities, affected by the same disaster,” Kem Fleming, director of the administration’s Field Operations Center East, said in the release.

To apply for a loan, eligible applicants can go to