Gov. Jay Nixon today asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) to conduct damage assessment reports for all 114 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis to determine the extent of damage to crops and livestock because of the excessive heat and severe drought conditions persisting throughout the state. The Governor and his administration have been monitoring drought conditions across the state throughout the spring, and will continue to do so this summer.
"The heat and drought will likely cause crop yields to decrease and livestock to be under greater stress," Gov. Nixon said. "This year, many Missouri farmers have undergone a number of hardships caused by weather conditions. Hay is already in short supply, impacting livestock farmers. Timely damage assessments by the Farm Service Agency will help those farmers who have been affected recover more quickly."
Gov. Nixon said the State of Missouri offers a hay directory for farmers looking to purchase hay for their livestock. Those selling hay also are encouraged to list themselves on the directory. The hay directory can be found through the state website, MO.gov.
The Governor's request for damage assessments from the drought is the first step in the process of declaring counties as primary disaster areas. Primary disaster counties are those that lose at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop, or where individual farmers suffer production losses of more than 30 percent.
A disaster designation would allow eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans. Affected farmers would apply to FSA, which considers each application individually on its merits. Farmers in counties contiguous to primary disaster areas also could be eligible for assistance.
As the damage assessment process moves forward, more information will be available about applying for assistance.