The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Missouri’s request that most of the state be declared a drought disaster area, making farmers eligible for low interest loans and some tax assistance. Senator Jim Talent made the announcement at an agriculture roundtable held at Saint Louis University. Even though the U.S.D.A. has only declared 112 of Missouri’s counties drought disaster areas, farmers in the remaining two counties in northwest Missouri and St. Louis City will be eligible for aid, as well, because they are areas contiguous to the drought-stricken counties. The next step for farmers is to contact local Farm Service Agency offices to find out how to obtain assistance.