Farm Service Agency Begins Crop Damage Assessment

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BOONE COUNTY - Gov. Jay Nixon asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) Monday to conduct damage assessment reports for all 114 Missouri counties to determine the extent of drought damage to crops and livestock. 

FSA Executive Director Edward J. Hamill said the weather this year is the complete opposite of last year's conditions.

"There were high river levels and water was coming in from the Rocky Mountains," said Hamill.

Hamill also says the mild winter has severely influenced current conditions.

"During the winter, we had very little snowfall and that has transitioned into the spring and summer," said Hamill. "We have continued into a pattern of the storms going around us or past us."

Through the assessment, the FSA plans to determine which farmers must declare a disaster declaration. Some farmers consider the move their only option.

"It doesn't look good," said farmer David Grant. "I have never seen such a dry May or June since I have started farming."

Primary disaster counties are those that lose at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop. Grant said he would not be surprised if every county in Missouri qualifies.

"I know it is not just me dealing with this issue, it hs been such a problem statewide," said Grant.

Farmers who qualify will recieve FSA emergency loans. 

"Hay is already a short supply, impacting livestock farmers. Timely damage assessments by the Farm Service Agency will help those farmers who have been affected recover more quicky," Gov. Nixon wrote in a press release.

The FSA hopes to have the assessment back to Gov. Nixon by July 6.