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In response to increasingly dry conditions and the growing threat of serious drought, especially across Missouri’s southern counties, Governor Mike Parson issued Executive Order 22-04 calling upon the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to activate the Drought Assessment Committee and the associated drought impact teams.
“I know on my farm that conditions have deteriorated quickly, and we are hearing the same reports from countless other farm and ranch families across the state,” Governor Parson said. “By responding now, early in this drought, we can greatly reduce the impact on our agricultural community and Missouri citizens. Our farmers are a critical resource for our state, and it is important that we assist them as much as possible through this difficult time.”
Governor Parson has directed all state agencies to examine how they may assist affected communities, as well as those communities that may be affected in the future, through the temporary suspension of administrative rules, appropriation, or other means of support to mitigate the effects of drought conditions.
Additionally, Governor Parson has proactively directed the departments of Natural Resources and Conservation to create a process for allowing farmers water access at state parks and conservation areas. The Department of Natural Resources will also assess state park areas that can be made available for haying. The Missouri Department of Transportation will offer special over-width hauling permits, which waive certain fees and restrictions, to farmers and ranchers moving hay.
In response to the Governor’s request, the Soil and Water Conservation Commission will hold a special session next Monday, July 25, to consider assistance and variances that can be provided to help Missouri’s agriculture producers.
The executive order declares a drought alert for 53 counties in southern and central Missouri, primarily counties south of the Missouri River. A drought alert, part of Missouri’s Drought Plan, is the initial catalyst that allows the Governor to direct state agencies to work together and provide as many resources and as much assistance as possible.
“Drought conditions in many parts of Missouri compound the challenges producers are already facing with high fuel prices and input costs,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “Livestock producers are having to make difficult decisions about selling livestock because there is no pasture in many areas. Grain farmers are watching their crops wither before pollination. Conditions are difficult for many Missouri farmers and ranchers.”
Citizens can submit information about local drought conditions at Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR), and a variety of helpful resources are online at www.dnr.mo.gov/drought.