JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. â?? Farmers throughout Missouri affected by the heat and drought that has gripped the state will now have access to low-interest loans and other assistance from the federal government,Gov. Jay Nixon said today. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack has designated all 114 counties as primary natural disaster areas, following a request by the Governor. The USDA todayannounced the designation of 97 additional counties, in addition to the 17 counties previously announced. Because it is contiguous to St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis also is included in the designation.â??This designation can help livestock and crop farmers across the state who are suffering great losses because of the heat and lack of rain,â?? said Gov. Nixon, who is surveying damage at farms in Lewis, Atchison and Polk counties today. â??Weâ??re going to continue to stand with farmers during this ongoing disaster and afterward, to help with their recovery. This designation is another part of that process.â??This morning, Gov. Nixon began his tour of areas hard-hit by the drought at a farm near Ewing, in Lewis County. This afternoon, he will visit with farmers near Tarkio and Bolivar.A disaster designation allows eligible farmers to be considered for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans.In addition to keeping an eye on crops and livestock, producers should document any losses or additional costs experienced as a result of weather events, including drought. That information is often required for producers to be eligible for physical and/or production loss loan assistance from the FSA, as well as other assistance programs.Missouri also has a hay directory for livestock producers as well as other information and resources online at MO.gov.