July 17, 2012
All Missouri counties declared disaster areas due to ongoing drought
Gov. Nixon surveys impact of extremely dry conditions on farms, communities throughout Missouri
BOLIVAR, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today surveyed the severe drought conditions devastating crops and livestock throughout the state. The tour of hard-hit areas began this morning in northeast Missouri at a farm near Ewing, Mo., followed by tours of farms in Tarkio and Bolivar this 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. "Today, Secretary Vilsack issued that designation so farmers in all 114 counties affected by drought will have access to low-interest loans and other assistance to help them 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 Bolivar, Mo. this afternoon, Gov. Nixon toured the Wheeler family farm and met with Monte and Mary Wheeler, as well as other area farmers to assess the hardships they have faced so far during these extremely dry conditions. The Wheeler family raises cattle on 300 acres in Polk County and has been greatly affected by shortages of pasture and hay.
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 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."
All 114 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. Because it is contiguous to St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis also has been designated.
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.