Farmers and ranchers in Missouri are getting relief in the form of access to water and hay ground.
Four-fifths of the state is listed as being “short” or “very short” on soil moisture according to USDA, leaving row crop production lagging behind typical years. Missouri forage growers are also struggling with three-quarters of pastures in poor or very poor conditions.
On Aug. 20, Gov. Mike Parson announced a lottery would give access to farmers who were interested in haying approximately 900 acres of Missouri State Park lands, free of charge. The governor also is allowing farmers to pump water from 28 Department of Conservation areas and five Department of Natural Resources state parks.
The hay lottery is open now and runs through Saturday, August 25. Winners of the lottery will be announced on Monday, August 27, by the Department of Natural Resources. Hay allotments range in size from 12 to 160 acres.
A map with the available hay ground can be viewed below:
Individual farms can pump up to 5,000 gallons of water per day. Water cannot be resold and is available for livestock needs. Farmers must provide their own equipment to pump and haul the water.
Arrangements to pump water can be made by calling 573-751-4115, ext. 3209.
A map with the available water access points can be viewed below:
Both the hay and water programs are only available to Missouri landowners.
Parson is also a rancher and has been feeding his own cattle hay.
“Anytime you’re feeding hay in the state of Missouri in August, I guarantee that is not a good sign for any farmers in this state,” Parson told reporters after the announcement.
Prior to the emergency hay and water programs opening up Parson had declared a drought alert for 47 Missouri counties using Executive Order 18-05 on July 18.
A similar water program was established in eastern Kansas last week that allows water to be pumped from some state fishing lakes and Federal reservoirs.
Missouri is one of eight states – including Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah – that are experiencing “exception drought” according to the Drought Monitor on Aug. 16. The latest Drought Monitor indicates 83.33% of Missouri is in “moderate drought.”
To see the current drought situation in Missouri look at the map below: