Gov. Pat Quinn has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for disaster designations for virtually all Illinois counties amid scorching temperatures and one of the state's worst droughts on record. Quinn sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack making the request. A spokesman for the governor, Ryan Croke, explained that nearly 30 counties already have the designation. If Vilsack grants Quinn's latest request, nearly every one of the state's 102 counties would be eligible for special USDA grants and loan programs. In his letter, Quinn says farmers in Illinois are experiencing significant losses due to ``persistent'' and ``unprecedented'' heat and drought.
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