President Obama has declared flooded Southeast Missouri counties to be disaster areas … now the U-S Department of Agriculture is working with Governor Nixon so farmers can recoup losses from ruined crops and fields.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency will conduct damage assessments in 56 Missouri counties affected by flood, wind and storm damage. Eddie Hamill with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency says it’s the first step in the process of declaring them primary disaster areas.

Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans or assistance from the federal Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Hamill says affected farmers can apply to FSA for aid.

He says farmers in counties contiguous to primary disaster areas also could be eligible for assistance, such as low-interest loans and reimbursement for crops already in the ground that have been washed away.

A primary disaster declaration would qualify farmers in those counties for emergency USDA loans and other assistance like the Emergency Conservation Program or ECP…

State FSA executive director Eddie Hamill says a lot of cropland is affected in southeast Missouri, beyond those 130-thousand acres flooded by the Corps’ breach of the Birds Point Levee … there is about 570-thousand acres flooded — total — in that area.

He says accurate assessments in many places can’t be completed until the water recedes, which could take some time. But he says estimates on lost crops already planted are already being calculated.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau says more than a million total acres of cropland are under water in that state and the damage to crops and forage is expected to exceed $500 Million. Winter wheat and cotton crops are also suffering.

AFB President Randy Veach, a cotton, rice and soybean farmer in Arkansas’ Mississippi County, says they’ve never seen flood levels this high before.  He says there IS hope for soybeans, which could still be planted, but the crop would be at risk of late planting complications.

“I’ve seen first-hand the devastation to Missouri farms from the severe weather and historic flooding we’ve had across a good portion of the state,” Gov. Nixon said. “My administration has taken immediate action to help mitigate damage to farms, homes and businesses, including sending more than 800 members of the Missouri National Guard to protect lives and property. The Farm Service Agency conducting these damage assessments right away will help Missouri farmers as we begin to rebuild and recover from this flooding and other severe weather.”

“Agriculture is the backbone of Missouri’s economy, and it has been seriously impacted by the flooding and other bad weather,” Gov. Nixon said. “We will stand with our farmers at every step in this process.”

The 56 Missouri counties are Barry, Barton, Bollinger, Butler, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Cedar, Christian, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Iron, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright.

For the latest information on flooding and the wide range of assistance the state is providing, visit