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Gov. Nixon Gets First-Hand Look at Drought Conditions Across the State

Missouri counties declared disaster areas due to ongoing drought

Gov. Jay Nixon surveyed the severe drought conditions devastating crops and livestock throughout the state last week. The tour of hard-hit areas began in northeast Missouri at a farm near Ewing, Mo.  The governor then also toured farms in Tarkio and Bolivar in the afternoon.

“My administration will continue to work with Missouri farmers as they endure a drought that is severely affecting our crops and livestock,” Gov. Nixon said. “Last week, I asked the USDA to issue a disaster designation for 114 Missouri counties. As of today, Secretary Vilsack has issued that designation for 32 counties affected by drought, providing access to low-interest loans and other assistance that will help our farmers recover. As a state, we will continue to stand with Missouri farmers at every step of this disaster and throughout the recovery process. Together, we will ensure that a strong agriculture industry remains the backbone of Missouri’s economy.”

While near Ewing, Gov. Nixon toured the Sharpe family farm and met with Greg Sharpe and other area farmers to assess the hardships they have faced so far during these extremely dry conditions. The Sharpe family farms 800 acres of corn and soybeans in northeast Missouri.

The Governor also said it was important to remember that the hardships for farmers also are coming at the same time that the prolonged heat and drought have led to hundreds of fires across the state.

“I’ve stood up to the State Emergency Management Agency for the coordination of the state response to the fires, and we’ve seen hundreds of firefighters, both professional and volunteer, as well as conservation agents and others, responding to these threats with tireless efforts,” Gov. Nixon said. “The long-range forecast means not only will our fire responders need to continue their vigilance, Missouri farmers also must be ready for the long haul with this weather, even as we head into harvest season.”

As of today, 32 of Missouri’s counties have received disaster designations resulting from drought, providing farmers there with access to low interest loans and other assistance to help them recover from losses. Those designations include 17 primary disaster areas: Bates, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard, Taney and Wayne; as well as 15 contiguous counties, which are also eligible for assistance: Barry, Cass, Christian, Douglas, Henry, Howell, Iron, Oregon, Reynolds, St. Clair, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Shannon, Stone and Vernon.

“We will continue to communicate directly with the USDA about the urgency of designating additional Missouri counties as disaster areas,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Farmers across our state need this additional assistance at this critical time.”

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.

Missouri also has a hay directory for livestock producers as well as other information and resources online at MO.gov.

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