COLUMBIA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 63 counties, including Boone County, as disaster areas on Jan. 9 due to damages caused by the prolonged drought.
"This declaration is good news for our farmers, and the livelihoods of folks whose jobs are affected by these severe conditions," U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said in a news release.
This program made all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for lower interest emergency loans from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Interest rates will go from 3.75 to 2.25 percent, as well as having emergency loans available earlier in the season, according to a news release from the USDA.
Boone County, along with the other 113 counties in Missouri, was named a disaster area in July 2012.
“Our hearts go out to those Missouri farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.
Missouri had the warmest year on record in 2012. These are the first disaster designations made by the USDA in 2013.