Added Millions Help Livestock Farmers First
JEFFERSON CITY - Officials from the Missouri Farm Bureau said Thursday that the $2 million Governor Nixon originally allocated to the Emergency Drought Assistance Program wouldn't have gone very far. Nixon announced Thursday the program will receive an additional $5 million. Farm Bureau Marketing and Commodities Director Kelly Smith said, "If you looked how the first $2 million was going to be spread out, each county's soil and water district would get $20 thousand." Smith added that some of the individual requests could cost $10 to $20 thousand per farm.
Smith said that while the drought was affecting everyone, west-central Missouri through south-west and south-central Missouri need the most assistance. Smith said farmers in these areas typically raise livestock and that ponds that usually provide water for their animals are drying up. He added that many farmers have had to sell livestock because they couldn't water their herds.
The amount of water farmers actually get from wells varies across the state, and according to some well drilling companies, the real issue is with surface water drying out. According to Greg Bonnot, the owner of B&H Well Drilling in Jefferson City, many wells dug twenty or thirty years ago have dried up and there is a need to drill deeper.
Since the program was announced two days ago, more than 600 Missouri farmers have submitted applications to receive assistance. 33 contracts for water projects have already been approved, with an average award of $6,300.