Both of Missouri’s Senators have signed a letter asking agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack to declare almost all of the state a disaster area due to drought conditions.
The federal Farm Service Agency recently found that every county except St. Louis city met the requirements for that declaration. It would open up emergency loans and expand the places where ranchers can graze their cattle.
Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 114 Missouri counties agriculture disaster areas because of drought conditions.
Nixon's office says in a release that if the counties are designated as agriculture disasters, farmers in those counties would be able to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. The federal aid would also include emergency loans for losses to crops and livestock from the ongoing drought.
Gov. Jay Nixon wants federal agriculture officials to determine whether heat and drought conditions are taking a toll on Missouri's crops and livestock. The National Climatic Data Center says moderate drought conditions persist across nearly 87 percent of Missouri. And extreme drought conditions exist in southeast Missouri.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Climatologists call it a flash drought - a sudden, unexpected burst of high temperatures and low humidity. It can wither crops in a matter of days and it's happening in many parts of the Midwest. With temperatures hovering above 90 degrees, farmers worry the weather could have disastrous consequences on corn and other crops.
From St. Louis Public Radio, Adam Allington has that story.