Skip to content

Local board sends report on drought to governor

FARMINGTON – The St. Francois County Emergency Board met Thursday morning at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) office in Farmington to discuss the impact of the drought that has inflicted the Parkland.

“The meeting went great,” said Ed Templeton of the USDA. “We completed an assessment of the drought situation for St. Francois County and for Iron County. The assessments will now be sent to Governor Matt Blunt’s office.”

Gary Cleve, director of the farm services agency at the USDA, said area farmers are facing severe consequences due to the drought.

“We estimate that area farmers have lost 75-80 percent of their pastures as a result of the drought,” Cleve said. “The hay crop is at a 50 percent loss while the corn crop is at a 60 percent loss. This is the most critical time for corn to receive moisture.”

Cleve said the least affected crop is soy beans.

“We figure that soy bean farmers are facing a 40 percent loss,” Cleve said. “We have a number of livestock producers that are losing their water sources. The creeks and ponds are going dry.”

Cleve said it will be up to Blunt as to what is done as a result of the report that was completed on Thursday.

“The governor will most likely now request us to fill out a damage assessment report, which we will do,” Cleve said. “Following that, Governor Blunt will decide whether or not to declare this area a disaster area.”

Cleve said declaring the area a disaster area will enable farmers and landowners, who have at least a 40 percent loss, to have access to low interest loans. The loans can be used to buy feed, hay, or just about anything else needed to survive the drought.

“We are also requesting that a program be made available to farmers and landowners that will assist them in utilizing alternative water sources,” Cleve said. “In order to fund that program, Congress would have to appropriate money.”

Blunt issued a drought alert for St. Francois County earlier this week. St. Francois County was one of 23 counties in southeast, south-central and northeast Missouri that were included in the alert.

The Department of Natural Resources has been directed to activate Missouri’s Drought Assessment Committee.

“The Drought Assessment Committee is critical to Missouri citizens who are faced with the ruinous effects of drought conditions,” Blunt said. “It was designed because of the very serious drought-related impacts the state of Missouri experienced during the early 1990s. The committee provides a means for state and federal agencies to work together for the benefit of Missouri’s drought-stricken areas.”

Leave a Comment