Sixty-three Missouri counties eligible for federal aid

JEFFERSON CITY – Drought-stricken farmers in 63 Missouri counties are eligible for federal assistance after the U.S. Department of Agriculture today issued a primary natural disaster area designation, Gov. Jay Nixon said. The designation from USDA Secretary Vilsack is for 31 counties that have suffered either extreme or exceptional drought, or have suffered severe drought for more than eight weeks. An additional 32 counties have been designated as contiguous disaster counties.

"Missouri livestock and crop farmers across the state have been struggling with drought for a long time now," Gov. Nixon said. "There has been relief in some parts of the state because of rain and snow, but it's still a great challenge. Coming on the heels of our drought relief program on the state level that has helped thousands of Missouri ranchers and farmers drill new wells, this designation can provide additional help for these hard-hit areas. We'll continue to stand with Missouri agriculture at every step of the recovery."

The 31 primary counties included under the designation are Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Bates, Caldwell, Callaway, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Daviess, DeKalb, Dunklin, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Lafayette, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Nodaway, Pettis, Pike, Ralls, Ray, Warren and Worth.

In addition, 32 counties have been named as contiguous disaster counties: Adair, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Camden, Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Clay, Franklin, Gasconade, Holt, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Macon, Marion, Mercer, Miller, New Madrid, Osage, Pemiscot, Platte, Randolph, St. Charles, St. Clair, Saline, Shelby, Stoddard, Sullivan and Vernon.

A disaster designation allows eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans.

In addition to keeping an eye on crops and livestock, producers should document any losses or additional costs experienced as a result of weather events, including drought. That information is often required for producers to be eligible for physical and/or production loss loan assistance from the FSA, as well as other assistance programs.

Last July, the USDA issued a disaster designation at the Governor's request because of the drought that impacted all 114 counties and the city of St. Louis.

Affected farmers can contact their local FSA office for more information.