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Lack of spring rain concerning to farmers, DNR committee to discuss drought response


On Wednesday Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order creating a "drought alert" in the state.

The executive order was signed after the director of the Department of Natural Resources advised Parson that parts of the state are experiencing "rapidly escalating drought conditions."

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows 60 Missouri counties are considered moderate, severe or extreme drought.

Much of Mid-Missouri -- including Boone, Moniteau, Cole, Callaway, Montgomery and Randolph counties -- are in included in the drought alert.

As a response to the order, the DNR's Drought Assessment Committee is set to meet Wednesday, June 7 to discuss response to the drought, according to a news release.

"We here in Missouri, more specifically Central Missouri, and parts of Northeast Missouri really had a dry spring," said Davin Althoff, farmer and Director of Marketing and Commodities. "April was incredibly dry, much drier than normal."

Althoff said the dry spring made it easier for some farmers to plant their seeds at the beginning of the season, though he did say that cattle farmers are being especially hit hard.

"We just didn't get the rain," Althoff said. "Our cattle producers are in the midst of hay season right now, trying to get hay bailed, and it just isn't turning out very good at all."

"On our farm in Montgomery County, you know, I spent the weekend bailing hay all weekend, and it was just really dreadful in terms of hay yields," Althoff said.

Althoff said the lack of rain in the spring is concerning heading into the summer months.

"Being this early in the year and in the time of the year when we should be getting the rain. It certainly leaves us a little concerned going into summertime when rain can be even more sparse."

Althoff said this can lead to ranchers having to make some difficult decisions.

"If we don't start getting rain, or we don't have a hay crop, and certainly if we start seeing our pastures degrade at the rate that they're degrading, and we have to sell cattle, that could have a huge financial impact long term for cattle producers, especially if they're having to liquidate their cattle heards," said Althoff.

Althoff said he is grateful for Parson's support of farmers.

"Parson has been incredibly supportive of the agriculture industry," he said. "The executive order that he signed yesterday, is you know, a testament of his support, his understand of agriculture, and his understanding of the importing of agriculture to our state."

The alert activated the state's drought plan, which is just one of the first steps in dispersing resources for the drought response.

The committee is scheduled to make recommendations to Parson by Friday, June 9. That could include a hay lottery, opening public waters for livestock, and easing hay-hauling restrictions, according to Parson's office.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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