Flood Recovery Efforts Underway

Flood Recovery Efforts Underway

USDA to host flood assistance meetings for southeast Missouri farmers and residents on May 13; emergency loan system now in place for disaster victims.

USDA's Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency will host three information meetings for farmers and landowners affected by flooding in southeastern Missouri. The meetings will focus on USDA programs available to assist with disaster recovery.

All three meetings will take place on Friday, May 13 at the following times and locations:

* 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Dawson Road, New Madrid

* 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Miner Convention Center, 2610 E. Malone, Ave., Miner

* 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Dexter Eagles Club, 13583 Old Hwy 25, Dexter

Additional information on USDA's disaster recovery programs can be obtained by visiting your local USDA Service Center or online at www.usda.gov.

Emergency loan system activated

Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has authorized and launched 24-hour approvals of low-interest Missouri Linked Deposit Program loans in response to the need created by recent disasters in the St. Louis area and southeast Missouri. The 24-hour loan approval process is known as the Harmed-area Emergency Loan Priority system, or HELP.

Treasurer Zweifel authorized the HELP system for use with all applications received from a qualifying borrower located in a county adversely impacted by disaster after touring Mississippi County last Friday with Representative Steve Hodges. He will use executive orders, disaster requests, State Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency information and Agricultural Disaster Designations and Declarations to determine eligibility.

"I was able to survey Mississippi County on May 6 with Rep. Hodges and meet with farmers and small business owners impacted by the flooding. What I encountered was Missourians ready to start rebuilding – small business owners and farmers who want tools in place when the flooding recedes. The system is fully ready to assist in rebuilding towns, restocking shelves and replanting fields," Zweifel said. "I have now authorized my team to approve loans within 24 hours for all borrowers in qualifying counties and to make it retroactive to April 21, the day before the devastating tornado touched down in the St. Louis area. This will immediately help southeast Missouri, the St. Louis area and counties facing future emergencies, and we will reallocate our internal resources to make this happen."

Prior to Treasurer Zweifel authorizing the HELP system for approving completed Missouri Linked Deposit Program loan applications, the wait time was 10 days for approval once a partner lender submitted a completed application.

"I know many Missourians will be able to make insurance claims, but after talking with folks in Mississippi County, there is a clear need for borrowed capital as well, and I can provide it with greatly reduced interest cost," Zweifel explained. "I have been reaching out to lenders, and am now calling on those servicing HELP qualifying counties to speed up their loan approvals and get applications to me as soon as possible. Workers, businesses and farmers should know I am committed to getting them the capital they need now."

As of April 21, Treasurer Zweifel has authorized the HELP system for completed qualifying applications in the following counties:

Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Christian, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Lawrence, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney, Texas, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright.

Sources: Missouri USDA-FSA office and State Treasurers Office

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