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All Missouri counties qualify for federal disaster assistance

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Agriculture disaster relief, in most cases, doesn't involve direct payments of cash from the federal government to beleaguered farmers or ranchers.

It often comes in the form of low interest loans...and even then that's only if the farm can't access traditional credit.

As a result of last April's record breaking frost all 114 of Missouri's counties have qualified as "disaster areas" by the USDA.

Mike Arnold is a Missouri farm loan manager for the USDA's Farm Service Agency.

"A lot of our start up operations are young men, young women who've just entered into farming and they owe a lot of money and one year like that puts them where a bank says, 'hey I can't help you any more.' And that's where these emergency loan program funds are designed to come in and help folk."

Many farmers who lost crops as a result of frost or in the more recent floods already had crop insurance which partially covers losses.

The Farm Service Agency, the local arm of the USDA who handles disaster claims it, says it will likely after harvest before farmers are able assess losses

They say, even at a special interest rate of 3.75 percent, many farmers will be hesitant to take on additional debt.

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