The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Davis, Henry, Keokuk and Van Buren counties in Iowa as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought.

Farmers and ranchers in the following counties in Iowa also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous. Those counties are: Appanoose, Jefferson, Mahaska, Wapello, Des Moines, Lee, Monroe, Washington, Iowa, Louisa and Poweshiek.

Farmers and ranchers in Clark, Schuyler and Scotland counties in Missouri also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on October 4, 2017, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for FSA’s emergency (EM) loans, provided eligibility requirements are met.

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.

Scotland County has been classified in the United States Drought Monitor in the D0 status, as abnormally dry, for most of 2017. The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

The neighboring counties to the north in Iowa, Davis and Van Buren counties, had been classified D1 (moderate drought) most of the summer before deteriorating to D2 status, severe drought in August and September before much needed rain arrived late in September to move the region back to D1 status. Additional rain in October has the two Iowa neighbors in D0 status along with Schuyler, Scotland and Clark counties in Missouri

Moderate drought conditions(D1) are now developing to the south, impacting southeast Knox County and the bulk of Lewis County.

Eric Luebehusen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said well-placed rainfall further eased Abnormal Dryness (D0), Moderate Drought (D1), and Severe Drought (D2) across the Midwest last week.

“Continuing a month-long wet trend, another round of soaking rain (1-3 inches, locally more) facilitated to removal or reduction of D0 to D2 from Iowa and Missouri into Michigan and Indiana,” he said. “However, several pockets of pesky D1 drought lingered from eastern Missouri into central Illinois, where 60-day precipitation totals averaged locally less than 60 percent of normal. However, even these locations have received some rain over the past month, and further assessment of conditions in the field may warrant additional drought removal over the upcoming weeks.”