Some are still waiting to get back to their homes in Northwest Missouri after as much as six feet of water swept through, but officials are ready to start gathering data on the damage done. Exactly when flood victims in the Northwest corner of the state will be able to return to their water-logged homes, no one can say for sure right now.
State Emergency Management Agency Operations Director John Campbell says flood victims do not necessarily need to wait to start the process of recouping their losses and can communicate with their flood insurance representatives now. He says until SEMA can get a scope of how many homes are damaged and to what extent, it’s hard to say what kind of federal assistance will be made available. For now, they’re just waiting for the river to recede.
Nixon has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to conduct damage assessment reports as soon as possible for all 114 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis to determine the extent of damage to farms because of flooding, excessive rain and strong winds.
“Over the past few weeks, Missouri farmers have encountered numerous hardships because of severe weather and widespread flooding,” Nixon says. “I have visited northwest Missouri twice to assess the flooding personally, and my administration has taken immediate action to help control and mitigate damage, including activating the Missouri National Guard to protect lives and property. Conducting these damage assessments will help Missouri farmers as we begin to rebuild and recover from these damaging storms.”
The Governor’s request for damage assessments is the first step in the process of declaring counties as primary disaster areas. Primary disaster counties are those that lose at least 30 percent of the estimated yield of a single crop, or where individual farmers suffer production losses of more than 30 percent.
A disaster designation would allow eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans or assistance from the federal Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Affected farmers would apply to FSA, which considers each application individually on its merits. Farmers in counties contiguous to primary disaster areas also could be eligible for assistance.
As the damage-assessment process moves forward, more information will be available about applying for assistance.
For the latest information on flooding and up-to-date river forecasts, visit www.MO.gov.