Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Drinking Water to Farms, Drought's Effect Creeping across Missouri

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Drinking Water to Farms, Drought's Effect Creeping across Missouri

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY - As a light rain fell on Missouri's capital city Thursday, a task force assembled to assess the state's drought met for the first time.

"It's a little ironic that we convened this meeting in the middle of a rainstorm. But don't let it deceive you," Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Carol Comer told more than three dozen in attendance.

Fifty-two of Missouri's 114 counties are now affected by the lingering lack of precipitation, up from 47 last week when Gov. Mike Parson activated the panel to monitor the drought. Eleven counties have slipped into a more extreme category of drought since July 19.

In all, nearly 2.6 million people live in drought-affected areas.

The most updated drought map, released Thursday, places St. Charles County and a swath of southwestern St. Louis County within the abnormally dry category.

Other warning signs are in Franklin County, where groundwater well levels have fallen off, said National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs.

"In just a week we've had quite an expansion of extreme drought," said Jennifer Hoggatt, of the Department of Natural Resources' Missouri Water Resources Center.

Although it's early in the assessment, Rob Kallenbach of the University of Missouri Extension service said the drought has already cost the state's agriculture industry an estimated $2 billion.

And, Kallenbach said, that number is growing.

For farmers, especially those in the hard-hit northwest part of the state, the drought has raised red flags about having adequate feed for cattle.

"Our hay yield's about half of where we usually are," Kallenbach said.

The state has already granted a statewide variance that allows grazing on land that would normally not provide grazing.

Missouri also has earmarked $2 million to help farmers plant cover crops to improve feed and forage and other natural resources. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.