Gov. Mike Parson and Rep. Vicky Hartzler both asked FEMA to re-evaluate damage in Howard and Cooper counties, and to make federal disaster assistance available to their residents. Hartzler's staff will be available in Boonville, Columbia and California next week to try to help people who are having trouble with a federal agency.
Cooper and Howard county residents still aren’t eligible for FEMA disaster assistance, but farmers with severe crop damage in those counties could be eligible for federal loans.
Despite damage caused by Missouri River flooding, Cooper and Howard counties weren’t included in the disaster declaration President Donald Trump issued for 20 Missouri counties last week. That means residents aren’t yet eligible for federal aid for housing, repairs and replacing damaged property, but local officials have requested that FEMA reconsider the counties for disaster relief.
Some farmers in those counties could be eligible for low-interest loans from the Farm Services Agency. Producers who have lost 30 percent of their crops or livestock due to flooding can borrow the amount they lost, up to $500,000, with 3.75 percent interest. FSA agents at local USDA Service Centers can inform producers of which programs they could qualify.
The FSA loans are available to farmers in all counties that Trump declared disaster areas and contiguous counties, wrote USDA Missouri State Executive Director Brent Hampy. Howard, Cooper, Moniteau and Callaway county farmers can be eligible for the FSA loans, because Boone, Cole, Miller, Chariton and Osage counties were all included in the presidential disaster declaration.
Cooper, Howard and other counties left out of the initial declaration last week could be included later as federal and state emergency management officials continue to assess damage.
Gov. Mike Parson asked FEMA on Tuesday to make 21 counties that weren’t included in the initial disaster declaration eligible for individual assistance. Earlier assessments by helicopter didn’t capture the full picture of damages, and SEMA asked FEMA to consider new damage information and revisit nine counties, including Cooper and Howard, according to a news release from Parson’s office.
One of the key factors FEMA considers in designating disaster counties is the number of uninsured homes that were damaged or destroyed by flooding, State Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Caty Eisterhold previously said.
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday asking him to “ensure thorough reviews” of Cooper, Howard, Barton, Dallas, Hickory and Laclede counties. Flooding had devastating impacts on those counties, and residents need access to federal individual assistance programs to get back on their feet quickly, she wrote.
“I witnessed these communities come together, fill sandbags for weeks, and many constituents have spent extra time away from home taking alternative routes to work due to closures, relocated homes and businesses, and lost tourism-based revenue from these disasters,” Hartzler wrote.
Hartzler mobile office
A member of Hartzler’s staff will be available to meet with local residents 11 a.m. to noon Monday at the Cooper County Courthouse in Boonville, her office announced Wednesday. The staff will be there to try to help anyone experiencing problems with a federal agency.
Hartzler’s office will also have mobile office hours 1-2 p.m. Tuesday at the California City Hall, said Hartzler staff member Austin Kramer. Staff will also hold an open house 4-5 p.m. Wednesday in Hartzler’s office at 2415 Carter Lane in Columbia.
Hartzler’s staff plan to hold mobile office hours in Howard County, but have not yet scheduled where or when that will be, Kramer said.