U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson sent a letter Monday to USDA secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to designate Southern Missouri counties experiencing extreme drought as disaster areas.
Emerson in her letter highlighted the toll the drought is having on local farmers.
"These conditions are taking a serious toll on crop conditions and haying and grazing for our livestock," Emerson stated in the letter to Vilsack, provided in a news release. "Furthermore, I request the department to use whatever authority available to provide the resources and assistance to help our producers through this very difficult time."
The USDA Farm Service agency is assessing the drought condition of all 114 Missouri counties, as requested by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. A county receiving a disaster declaration is the first step in allowing those negatively affected by the drought to qualify for emergency assistance.