Few Missouri farmers have been spared by Mother Nature this summer. At press time, more than 85 percent of the state was classified as abnormally dry or greater, with 15.5 percent considered in “extreme drought.”
“We’ve experienced some severe drought conditions in a big part of Missouri,” said Matt Hill, MFA natural resources conservation specialist. “Primarily, the central north and northwest parts of the state have been affected, but unfortunately that’s expanding.”
As a result, several agencies are offering relief opportunities, Hill said. Those include:
- USDA Farm Service Agency offers cost share to establish either permanent or temporary water resources for livestock production.
- FSA released CRP ground for emergency haying and grazing where forage is limited.
- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Soil and Water District Commission will allow grazing on easement acres that are enrolled in conservation practices.
- The Natural Resources Conservation Service allocated $2 million for forage development, specifically planting annual cover crop-type species that can be drilled in either dormant pasture, dormant hay fields or harvested crop fields. Producers in counties designated as “severe drought,” also known as D3 on the national drought monitor, are all eligible.
- In Missouri’s driest counties, landowners can apply to NRCS to cut up to 50 percent of the grass on their wetland easements if they are in a drought-designated county. Landowners interesting in haying wetland easements should contact their local NRCS office for prior authorization.