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Mo. drought assessment could be step to relief for farmers


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.

Missouri’s Executive Director for the FSA, Eddie Hamill, says hay and corn crops are particularly vulnerable. “Right now it’s the heat and the lack of moisture that we’ve had in the last couple weeks here when we we’re just barely getting enough rain to get along," Hamill said.

"And then to have it shut off for a couple weeks and then the hundred degree temps move in. In a couple weeks, the story will be told how rough it’s been on those two crops,” he said.

The assessment by the federal Farm Service Agency is the first step in seeking a disaster declaration. County by county data are expected early next month. Disaster areas will be declared in counties where farmers or particular crops have lost at least 30 percent of their estimated yield. That would make farmers eligible for emergency loans.

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