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USDA approves $50M in state disaster funding

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With $308 million in emergency funding recently approved for 33 states and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 18 dedicated nearly $50 million to Missouri disaster assistance.

"Landowners, individuals and communities have endured incredible hardships because of the intensity and volume of natural disasters that have impacted their livelihoods," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. "America's farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation's economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow.

"This funding will help to rebuild communities, while states can use the funds to carry out emergency recovery measures."

Missouri is scheduled to receive $35.3 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds and $14.6 million in Emergency Conservation Program funds.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., praised the USDA's funding efforts, calling them critical rebuilding resources for the state's communities and job creators.

“Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry, and this funding is especially vital in helping farmers, ranchers, and rural communities rebuild, clear debris, regrade and rehabilitate their land for the next growing season,” Blunt said in the statement.

In related news, officials with the city of Joplin said this week that it should break even on cleanup costs, due largely to donated resources, federal and state fund pledges, and reimbursements, according to a story from the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal.

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