The next step is up to Missouri farmers now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone along with Missouri’s request that the state be declared a drought disaster area and made eligible for federal assistance. USDA Undersecretary Bill Hawks says the formal disaster designation only covers 112 of Missouri’s 114 counties – leaving out Atchison and Holt Counties and St. Louis City. But, aid will still be available to farmers in those areas not covered because they are contiguous to the drought-stricken areas. Farmers who have suffered losses are now eligible to apply for los interest loans and – in some cases – tax credits. The information is available at local USDA Farm Service Agency offices.