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Dry conditions make Platte part of disaster area

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared most of northwest Missouri a disaster area on Friday due to exceptionally dry conditions, a move that can make it easier for area farmers to obtain loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Bruce Smith, farm loan manager of the Buchanan County Farm Service Agency, said he expected to hear from those farmers in need.

"There's some people in that geo area that had some pretty decent crops but a lot of others had some poor yields," Smith said.

The loans do have special conditions, however. While the loans can be used to restore or repair equipment, replace production costs from the disaster year, pay essential family living expenses or refinance certain debts, they also carry the following restrictions:

• the farm must experience a 30% loss in crop reduction from the previous year;

• the farmer must be unable to secure credit from a commercial agency;

• the loan, which typically comes in 1-7 year terms, must be fully collaterized.

According to Smith, seven farmers applied for the special loans last season.

The disaster declaration came as welcome news to Senator Jim Talent. Talent serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"This is good news for Missouri producers in these drought-stricken areas," Talent said on Friday. "I appreciate the Administration for their continued support for Missourians who have been affected by this disaster."

Farmers who wish to contact the FSA may do so by calling (816) 364-3927 or by visiting online.