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Gov. Mike Parson issues a drought alert, provides assistance to Missouri farmers

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks to clergy, elected officials and area residents about violence prevention efforts on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, while visiting north St. Louis as part of a legislative wins tour.
Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks to clergy, elected officials and area residents about violence prevention efforts on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, while visiting north St. Louis as part of a legislative wins tour.

Gov. Mike Parson issues a drought alert for 53 Missouri counties that are experiencing extreme heat. His administration is supplying water to farms and ranches through state parks and conservation areas.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a drought alert for 53 counties in the state that are experiencing dry conditions and said his administration will provide resources to help farmers and ranchers through the drought.

Parson issued the alert after reviewing the state’s drought map, which shows a severe shortage of water primarily in southern and central Missouri. The drought is affecting a large portion of the state’s cattle and crop industries.

A drought during this time of year can bring a significant amount of financial loss for farmers and ranchers across the state, Parson said.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are making water available at over 40 conservation areas and over 20 state parks to help livestock producers.

“The more proactive we are, the better we can help our farmers and citizens lessen the impact of even the most severe droughts,” Parson said at a press conference Thursday.

He said that Missouri farmers already are facing high fertilizer and fuel prices, supply chain issues and rising operational costs, and that a lack of water in the middle of the summer could ruin farms.

As part of Missouri’s Drought Response Plan, Parson is assembling a drought assessment committee with state and federal agencies that will assess administrative rules and provide support to help farmers and ranchers stay afloat during the drought.

So far, the Missouri Department of Transportation is waiving certain restrictions and fees for hay haulers across the state.

Missouri is the third-largest beef-producing state in the country, and cows barely have enough to eat because of the drought, said Chris Chinn, the state’s agriculture director.

“Producers are having to make some really tough decisions, they're having to call part of their herds and send them to market,” Chinn said. “Others have already started feeding hay in July, when normally you wouldn't do that until the fall.”

Chinn encourages farmers and ranchers to reach out to state agencies to advise them of the challenges they face.

Many crops in southeast Missouri, including cotton, rice, corn and soybeans, also are affected by the extreme heat conditions.

Parson said that even with rain in the next few weeks, farmers and ranchers will feel the effects of the drought in the fall and winter.

“This is going to be an ongoing process for several months to be able to deal with this situation,” Parson said. “So, we're gonna put everything on the table that we can to make sure we're doing what we can at the state level to help our farmers and ranchers.”

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Copyright 2022 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Andrea Henderson joined St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, where she covers race, identity and culture as part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America. Andrea comes to St. Louis Public Radio from NPR, where she reported for the race and culture podcast Code Switch and produced pieces for All Things Considered. Andrea’s passion for storytelling began at a weekly newspaper in her hometown of Houston, Texas, where she covered a wide variety of stories including hurricanes, transportation and Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Her art appreciation allowed her to cover arts and culture for the Houston African-American business publication, Empower Magazine. She also covered the arts for Syracuse’s Post-Standard and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.
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