An assessment of how badly the dry weather has hurt the state is being made – the first step in securing federal drought assistance. Northwest Missouri farmers have been suffering for a couple of years now. Little ran has fallen there or in north-central Missouri or even the western part of the state. Governor Bob Holden has asked that 36 counties be assessed. Tony Hoover, who is the Agricultural Impact Chairman of the Drought Assessment Committee, says dry conditions have nearly ruined crops. The drought has hurt crops, pastures and ponds. It also has lowered the water reservoirs of cities in the affected counties. Drought last year cost the state an estimated $460-Million. The damage assessment reports will show the extent of the drought damage and could make farmers eligible for low-interest loans.