The U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a drought disaster designation for farmers in almost of Missouri's 114 counties because of the hot, dry summer.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday the designation means farmers who lost crops and property to the extreme heat and drought from July 1 to Aug. 30 may seek assistance from USDA's Farm Service Agency.

Nixon notes the harsh summer conditions reduced crop yields, damaged pastures and dried up ponds and creeks.

The designation covers 111 counties and the city of St. Louis. The only counties not included are Atchison and Holt in the northwest, and Mississippi in the Bootheel — all of which were swamped by prolonged flooding on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.