Thirty-years ago Illinois suffered through what was described as the worst drought since the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression. Farmers and others baked through a hot, dry spring that continued well into summer. Kane County farmer John White believes the '88 drought was worse than the most recent one in 20-12;
White, former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson and others were onsite almost to-the-date three decades ago when former President Reagan toured a drought-damaged farm near DuQuoin. Reagan traded barbs with the White House press corps. And, he shared an example of why he considered farmers some of the bigggest gamblers when he addressed them on what he called, the "mashed potato circuit" in Las Vegas earlier in his political career:
In 1987 Illinois farmers havested an average 135-bushels per acre. In 1988 their corn crop was almost cut in half. Congress passed drought relief legislation by August which Reagan signed.