Missouri farmers eligible for federal aid

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | 1:21 p.m. CDT; updated 2:34 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 17, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon said Missouri farmers struggling against the drought will be eligible for low-interest loans and other federal aid.

Nixon's office said Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a request to designate all 114 Missouri counties as disaster areas. The designation allows eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the federal Farm Service Agency, including receiving emergency loans.

Nixon asked for the federal assistance last week. Heat, dry weather and a lack of snow last fall and winter have contributed to the difficult conditions for Missouri farmers and ranchers.

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Michael Williams July 17, 2012 | 1:58 p.m.

Does my lawn qualify?

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Denny Catlett July 17, 2012 | 4:06 p.m.

I wonder if Jim Lembke is going to try to stop it?

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frank christian July 17, 2012 | 6:11 p.m.

"Does my lawn qualify?" Do you farm front or back? I bet both. A portion of my front might qualify, but I need grants, not loans.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 17, 2012 | 9:17 p.m.

Frank: Well, it's bluegrass, but from a distance it looks like young wheat. Hopefully the USDA will just do a drive-by granting.

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frank christian July 18, 2012 | 6:51 a.m.

MW - A high school acquaintance, became a friend after we returned to Columbia from the Service in the fifties. Our new wives met in church and became friends. We both bought older homes, then built new ones when the ability to pay became greater for we both.

My friend sold his older home to a retiring farmer who decided to move to town. My friend had worked hard to establish a large beautifully seeded, sunny back lawn and was so appalled that he drove me by to see what the farmer had done with it. Fenced it, and except for a couple of feet around edges to work, had plowed the whole thing and had veggies growing on every inch. I guess when one starts growing things it becomes impossible to quit.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 18, 2012 | 8:07 a.m.

Frank: "I guess when one starts growing things it becomes impossible to quit."

I maintained a garden at the farm for quite a few years (I'm a slow learner) until I figured out the local Mennonites and Amish could grow produce so much easier, fresher, better, and cheaper than me. So, for freezer and canning purposes, I hit their auctions for bulk sweet corn, green beans, 'maters, and a few other things. I turned the garden into an orchard of peaches, apricots, pears, plums, blueberries, raspberries, and a couple of Big Beef 'mater plants for table tomatoes. I also get to bypass the higher prices of local roadside stands and farmer's markets; much of their produce comes from the auctions anyway, I avoid the price markups, and attending the auctions is fun. Win-win for me.

PS: I bought 38 dozen ears of sweet corn from a local farmer at a mixed $3.00 and $2.00 per dozen (best I've ever eaten), and 6 boxes of tomatoes (20# each) for an average of $10/box. Green beans are a different story for now, and I haven't bought any yet (missed out on earlier crops) because prices are through the roof ($38 for 14.5 lb....too much). I'll wait to see if there is a fall crop, which there may not be if rain doesn't happen. But I'm sure enjoying NOT having that hoe in my hand.

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