Though the Missouri River Flood has been declared officially over and the River, returned to its banks, some fields in northwest Missouri still have water standing in them. Missouri’s Agriculture Director has visited the region, viewing damage and presenting grant money.

Major grants come from the Missouri Agriculture Disaster Relief Fund, established this summer. Doctor Jon Hagler says 175 thousand dollars was donated to that fund from companies like Monsanto and Dow Agriservice, the nation of Taiwan and school groups from as far away as New York City.

Funds went to levee and drainage districts that applied for it. In northwest Missouri, Hagler says it went to districts in Atchison and Holt Counties. Money also went to southeast Missouri to support relief from Mississippi River flooding.

Those dollars can be used to support federal grant applications, that often require a local entity to put up 20 percent of the total amount being sought.

The fund has been depleted, and Hagler says a waiting list now exists of other applicants who hope more money is donated soon.

Hagler says farmers in northwest Missouri face two major obstacles before planting can resume in 2012. The first task is getting levees rebuilt in an effort to avoid losing a third straight growing season. Second is dealing with the condition of fields. Many have major scour holes and sand deposits. He compares the landscape to the surface of the moon.

For more information on the Missouri Agriculture Disaster Relief Fund and to learn about donating, visit the Department of Agriculture’s web page on it, here

AUDIO:  Mike Lear reports on Agriculture Director Jon Hagler’s visit to northwest Missouri – 1:00