Farmers growing crops have insurance to ward off the financial failure of their season during this terrible drought. But there’s no safety net like that in place for livestock producers. And any emergency aid is tied up in Washington politics.
The rock and the hard place where Stacey McCallister now sits looks like this:
Rock: McCallister’s herd of 200 dairy cattle in south central Missouri have feed for about the next 60 days.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration is keeping tabs on river levels along the Missouri and Mississippi as drought conditions persist across the state. He indicates that the Missouri River may be in worse shape.
“I think that the challenges on the Missouri are a little more significant than the Mississippi," Nixon said at a gathering Wednesday in Jefferson City. "Minnesota has had a fair amount of rain in that part of the country, but we’re watching those issues very carefully.”
It's August now and the Farm Bill will expire September 30th. Without a stable, federal policy on US agriculture, farmers are going to have a difficult time planning for the future. Our colleagues at Harvest Public Media are bringing us daily updates on the political wrangling that may or may not bring us the new legislation farmers need. We'll bring you these daily updates as we get them.
Facing the prospect of heading back to angry drought-ravaged farmers and ranchers during Congress’ August Recess, House Republicans stopped work on contentious farm bill legislation and started pushing a drought assistance bill.
According to the USDA's crops progress report, which was released on Monday, in Missouri, 83 percent of the corn acreage and 72 percent of soybeans are in very poor or poor condition. Both figures are the worst for any major agricultural state. Optimism for a good corn yield is dwindling, but Southeast Missouri State University’s Michael Aide says there is still hope for soybeans.
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.
Fully understanding the potential of agritourism in the Midwest and the country as a whole is hampered by two factors: the lack of an official definition of agritourism and the limited amount of economic data available.