Farmers fear low yields after extreme heat and drought

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - In Cape Girardeau County, excessive heat and drought has taken a toll on crops mainly to corn, but also to soybeans.

"It's been an up and down year," said Terry Birk-USDA Farm Service Agency.

In Spring, farmers faced devastating flooding.

"It delayed planting of corn and beans," said Birk. "Finally got everything planted, now we have drought and heat."

The Missouri governor's office is now asking the Farm Service Agency to start damage assessments for all of Missouri's 114 counties.

Cape Girardeau County FSA Director Terry Birk says he pretty well already has a good handle on the situation.

"The early planted hill corn has been hit the worst, it's showing a 70% yield loss," said Birk.

He says for most of the corn, it's too late.

"The number of kernels have been determined by mother nature," said Birk.

Soybeans are the other concern.

"The beans are at the verge, they need rain in the next week or will be hurt significantly too," said Birk.

Livestock was also affected. Many are under stress due to the many trying weather conditions.

Governor Jay Nixon's request for damage assessments is the first step in the process of declaring counties as primary disaster areas.

Primary disaster counties are those that lose at least 30% of the estimated yield of a single crop, or where individual farmers suffer production losses of more than 30%.

According to the governor's office, a disaster designation would allow eligible farmers to be considered from the USDA's Farm Service Agency. Farmers who qualify would receive FSA emergency loans or assistance from the federal Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program. Affected farmers would apply to FSA, which considers each application individually on its merits.

Final numbers aren't in, but when it comes to losses in Cape Girardeau County Birk says, "It's going to be significant."

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