October 27, 2011

Scotland County, Most of Missouri Declared Natural Disaster Areas As Result of Summer Drought

JEFFERSON CITY - A request by Governor Jay Nixon for a disaster designation for 101 Missouri counties which experienced severe drought during the 2011 growing season has been granted by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The governor's office made the announcment on October 18th.

This designation permits assistance from the USDA's Farm Service Agency to farmers in those counties who have suffered losses to crops and property as a result of excessive heat and severe drought from July 1 to August 30, as well as farmers in 10 contiguous counties and the City of St. Louis.

"Missouri has been hit hard this year by severe weather, including a devastating drought that hurt crop yields, damaged pastures, and dried up ponds and creeks across the state," Governor Nixon said. "I'm glad that this declaration from the USDA will allow our farm families, who lost income because of these conditions, to access much needed assistance."

The counties requested by the Governor and designated by the USDA included Adair, Knox, Lewis, Putnam, Schuyler, and Scotland counties in northeast Missouri.

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 allows eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans or assistance from the federal Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Affected farmers can apply to FSA, which considers each application individually on its merits.

"President Obama and I understand that this drought has caused severe damage to crops in Missouri and we want to help," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "America's farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation's economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow and out-compete the rest of the world. This action will provide assistance to hundreds of farmers in Missouri who suffered significant production losses during this challenging season."

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA also has made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), which was approved as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; the Emergency Conservation Program; Federal Crop Insurance; and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

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