Missouri farmers, ranchers continue to apply for water help

Jul 31, 2012

As cattle were auctioned off at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, Governor Nixon met over coffee Monday at the stockyard’s café with local ranchers and farmers.  He listened to their stories about how the emergency water cost-share program has helped them and gave them an update on the program. 

According to Nixon, in the six days since the program was announced, more than 1,250 applications have been received for the emergency assistance.  490 contracts have been approved, which will provide more than $2.1 million in assistance to farmers and producers.

He pointed to one family that has benefited.

"Mike, Judy and Gale Turner own 150 head of cattle in Newton County and are here with us this morning.  In past years they have watered their cattle with three ponds and a spring on their farm.  Because of the prolonged drought this year their spring has gone dry, two ponds are dry and the remaining pond has only inches of water remaining," said Nixon.

The program will help the Turners install a new well, distribution line and tank. 

Under the emergency water program, the state pays 90 percent of the cost of deepening or drilling wells.  The state had previously paid 75 percent of the cost.

Nixon says they’re moving the funds as quickly as possible to provide what he calls “immediate and significant relief.”

Steve Fredrickson is another Missouri farmer who has benefited from the emergency assistance.  He and his family own Fredrickson Farm in Carl Junction, which produces vegetables and fruit and pumpkins and mums in the fall.  They also give tours to school kids.  He says they’ve been watering to save their crops, and their pond is almost dry.  He found out this morning that their application for assistance has been approved.  He says the program is timely and fits a need, and that’s not always the case.

"We had a Department of Natural Resources person and a Department of Ag person at our house on Saturday taking a look at what our needs were--almost unheard of as far as Saturday goes, so, yeah, you know, it's been good," said Fredrickson.

Fredrickson says he’s already had four calls from friends and neighbors, since his application was approved, asking him how to apply.

Farmers and producers may apply at mo.gov.  Applications must be received by the close of business on August 6th.