Missouri offers drought aid for farmers

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Mike Parson announced new steps Monday to help farmers cope with extremely dry conditions.

The state is making both feed and water more available.

Despite recent rains, Missouri is taking action to make it easier for livestock producers to get hay and water.

The governor says 98 percent of Missouri is affected by a lack of rainfall with 86 counties in a Drought Alert.

Farmers now will be allowed to pump water on their own from selected state parks and conservation lands.

And the state is creating a lottery to allow lucky farmers to cut hay from about 900 acres in state parks controlled by the Department of Natural Resources

"I am still an active farmer," Gov. Parson said. "I have never fed hay in August in my entire career as a farmer, all the way from being on my dad's farm. But I did two weeks ago for the first time. I'm not the only one doing that. Anytime you are feeding hay in the state of Missouri in August, I guarantee you that's not a good sign for any farmers in this state."

The state also is reducing restrictions and permit fees so that livestock producers can haul hay more easily and get their animals fed.

There are reports already of farmers culling their herds, hauling hay from other states, or simply selling off what they can to pay their bills.

Some are comparing dry conditions to the drought of 2012 and say it may take some time before farms fully recover.

To make arrangements to pump water from a state site call: 573-751-4115 extension 3209.

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