Parson announces plan to provide farmers relief from drought

With more than 97 percent of Missouri facing some level of drought, Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced new measures designed to help farmers across the state.

Farmers will be allowed to pump water from 28 Department of Conservation areas and five state parks, according to a release from Parson’s office. The state will also create a lottery to allow some farmers to harvest hay from state parks.

Farms will be limited to 5,000 gallons of water daily. To pump water, farmers must provide their own equipment and make prior arrangements with state officials.

The hay lottery started Monday and runs through Saturday. Results will be announced Aug. 27.

As of Aug. 14, every county in Missouri was facing some level of drought, according to the latest United States Drought Monitor update. Much of the Missouri’s northern third was experiencing either extreme drought or exceptional drought, the two most intense drought levels.

Eighty-six counties are now considered to be under drought alert, according to the governor’s press release.

It’s affecting more than farmers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. In Cameron, in the state’s northwest corner, officials declared a water emergency last week, prohibiting residents and businesses from watering their lawns and barring restaurants from serving water unless it’s specifically requested.

Parson, whose family runs a cattle operation in southwest Missouri, said dry conditions have forced him to alter his herd’s grazing patterns in ways he never has before, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“This is a long way from being over,” Parson said. “Some people are not going to make it.”

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