Farmers Receive Over 3 Million in Aid From Emergency Program

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COLUMBIA - Governor Jay Nixon said his administration has approved 3.2 million in drought assistance through the emergency cost-share program for Missouri farmers as of Tuesday. The most recent numbers show that Nixon's administration has approved 674 applications so far out of more than a thousand submitted. Nixon approved the emergency-cost share program on July 24th.

The Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District has received 54 applications so far. District Manager Cindy Bowne believes five of those farmers will get approved because they are livestock farmers who meet the qualifications for the program. She also believesanother 11 or 12 applicants wanting to use the money to irrigate speciality crops will also get approval.

Bowne said she expects the rest won't get approval because they have access to a public water source or wells. She also said some wanted to use the money to irrigate pasture, which doesn't fall under the program's eligibility requirements.

The program is intended to help farmers cover the cost of digging or deepening a well to provide water for their livestock or crops. However the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will have final say on who gets approved for the assistance program.

Cattle farmers in particular have been hit very hard by the drought. Some said they had to start selling off members of their herds and rising feed prices have also made life much harder for them. Others said they have been hauling water in the back of their pickup trucks just to supply enough water for their herd.

Crop farmers have also been hit hard, especially corn. Even if the crop looks good, the heat dries out the corn silk and makes it difficult to pollinate. Soybean crops are little more drought resistant, but have also felt the effects of the heat.

The emergency cost-share program will cover 90 percent of the cost of a digging project, instead of the usual 75 percent. There is 7 million dollars in total funds available and farmers have until August 6th to apply.

Farmers can apply at their local Soil and Water District or online at the Missouri Department of Natural Resource's website.