I am very pleased the USDA has listened to our request for help, and has designated all counties in Missouri's 5th District as disaster areas. This includes the new areas of Ray, Saline and Lafayette Counties.
Just this week I sponsored a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, asking him to take this action and praising Governor Jay Nixon for the initial request.
Our farmers, ranchers, and producers are facing extreme conditions with no relief in sight. Crops and livestock are dying, the soil is drying and stock water supplies are declining. The situation is grave and hardworking men and women in my district are struggling to avoid financial disaster.
This designation now means farmers throughout the State will have access to low-interest loans and a variety of other assistance, as they should, from the federal government.
Preliminary precipitation data shows June of this year was the 6th driest June in Missouri's history, and the driest since 1988. Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service estimates 97% and 93% of the topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies, respectively, are in short to very short condition. We are losing crops at a very alarming rate and this drought continues. It's possible we won't see relief from these conditions until as late as the end of August or September.
The USDA's decision to declare all Missouri counties as disaster areas should go a long way in making assistance immediately available. I will continue to monitor this situation and work on behalf of all constituents to make sure when help is needed, it is there.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II/Missouri's Fifth District (D)
To view the letter sponsored by Congressman Cleaver, please visit: http://cleaver.house.gov/.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Belton, Raymore and Peculiar, Missouri. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee. Congressman Cleaver also serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.