The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a disaster declaration for farmers in 23 Missouri counties, including several in the St. Louis area, hit by floods and heavy rain since May 1.
Friday's declaration allows farmers in those counties and 26 neighboring counties to seek federal assistance for losses caused by the severe weather. Gov. Jay Nixon had requested the declaration last month.
On Thursday, Nixon asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to designate 101 Missouri counties (full list of counties below) as primary disaster areas. That would allow eligible farmers to get emergency loans and other federal help.
The Japanese beetle has been striking Missouri and Illinois with full force, eating its way through rose bushes and tomato plants and threatening major crops like corn and soybeans.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the beetle has been an urban problem for years. But now, farmers in both Missouri and Illinois say the bugs are moving into corn and soybean fields - crops vital to both states.