U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has approved Governor Blunt’s request to declare 29 Missouri counties natural disaster areas for agricultural losses due to the recent ice storms. The declaration includes: Barry, Barton, Camden, Christian, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Laclede, Lawrence, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Moniteau, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, St. Charles, Stone, Warren, Webster and Wright Counties. In addition 20 counties were named contiguous disaster areas, and eligible family farmers may qualify for Farm Service Agency emergency physical loss loan assistance: Bates, Benton, Boone, Callaway, Cedar, Cooper, Dent, Douglas, Henry, Iron, Jefferson, Lincoln, Montgomery, Morgan, St. Charles, St. Louis, Taney, Texas, Vernon and Washington. The announcement affects Missouri farm families only. Joint Assessment Teams are completing reviews in the 34 counties under a presidential emergency declaration to determine which might qualify for individual assistance. Reviews are expected to be completed this week.