Governor Matt Blunt has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns requesting 96 Missouri counties be declared natural disaster areas for agricultural loss due to drought. In his letter, Blunt writes that while the drought’s effects cannot be eliminated, a disaster declaration will at least give Missourians access to all available resources as they work to recover from another season of reduced crop yields and scorched pastures. The counties involved in the declaration request are: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Carter, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Holt, Howard, Iron, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, McDonald, Madison, Maries, Marion, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Nodaway, Osage, Ozark, Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Schuyler, Scotland, Shannon, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Webster, Worth, and Wright Counties. Blunt requested the disaster declaration to ensure Missouri’s drought stricken counties have access to federal assistance to help with income loss associated with drought conditions.