JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
On Friday, Gov. Mike Parson signed an executive order, extending the drought alert in Missouri until May 1, 2024.
The announcement was made via press release from the Governor Parson's office.
On May 31st this year, Gov. Parson issued the initial drought alert.
"Having to issue a drought alert this spring was quite unprecedented, and unfortunately, drought has persisted in Missouri," Parson said in the release. "While we've had periods of marginal improvement, farmers and ranchers are still feeling the impacts, many forced to sell livestock early and scrambling for alternative feed sources. Some of the most impacted areas are our waterways, slowing barge, and river port activity during our busy harvest season. We're extending this alert to continue providing every resource possible to help mitigate the impacts and in hopes that we get plenty of rain throughout the coming winter and spring."
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Drought Assessment Committee will monitor the affected counties and aid them during the winter and spring months and lessen future drought impacts.
ABC 17 News spoke with farmers at the Columbia Farmer's Market on Saturday, who said the drought has impacted their crop yield this season. They say crops were dying out quickly or not growing to a suitable size for selling.
As the drought watch continues into the next growing season, some farmers are already planning ahead on how to water their crops.
"What we're currently looking at for next year is just different water saving techniques, different types of irrigation, kind of exploring different sources for irrigation water. So whether it be a well drilled or surface water, things like that,” said McKinley Worley, Owner of Abounding Acres farm.
Worley also said he had to rely on municipal water at times to irrigate his plants.
According to the most recently updated Missouri Drought Monitor, at least 85 Missouri counties are in moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions.
Counties like Cooper, Morgan, Benton, Pettis, Moniteau, and much of Cole and Miller counties are facing severe drought conditions.
Boone, Osage, Maries and Macon counties are in a moderate drought zone.
According to the CDC, the lack of rain leaves a chance for increases in wildfires, leading to bad air quality, compromised drinking water, compromised food and effects on your mental and physical health.
ABC 17 News Stormtrack Weather Team reported that Mid-Missouri would need weeks of consistent and above-average rainfall to get back to normal conditions.