JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Forty-seven counties in Missouri are now on drought alert as Gov. Mike Parson calls for the activation of the Drought Assessment Committee. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also announced $2 million in drought-related funds for farmers and ranchers in the Show-Me State.
Through an executive order, Parson declared Phase 2 Drought Alert and called for the Department of Natural Resources to activate the Drought Assessment Committee and the associated drought impact teams.
Parson’s move is in line with the Missouri Drought Plan, last revised in 2002. Phase 1 of the plan involved the Climate and Weather Committee in January 2018 to begin monitoring drought conditions and consider response options.
Three public water supplies in northern Missouri along with livestock forage has already been impacted by the drought.
“Missouri farmers are resilient, but with no control over Mother Nature, this year’s drought has been difficult to battle,” said Parson. “By responding early to this drought, we can greatly reduce the impact upon our agricultural community as well as on all Missouri citizens. Our farmers are the backbone of our state, and it is imperative that we assist to get through this difficult time.”
In June, to aid the agricultural community, the Department of Natural Resources’ Soil and Water Districts Commission granted a statewide variance that allows grazing on practices that would normally be livestock-excluded.
The USDA has recently announced that the departments’ Natural Resources Conservation Service will be providing $2 million in grants to Missouri farmers and ranchers.
Agriculturalists in the affected counties can apply for a grant at a local USDA office by August 31, 2018. Eligibility will be determined using data from the U.S. Drought Monitor Report, a service provided by USDA and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The 47 counties in Missouri that are currently experiencing severe or extreme drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor issued July 12, 2018: Adair, Andrew, Audrain, Barry, Barton, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Dade, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Knox, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Moniteau, Monroe, Newton, Nodaway, Platte, Putnam, Randolph, Ray, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Sullivan, and Worth.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at email@example.com.