secondtree / Flickr

It’s been a while since Jeff Lampe turned on his windshield wipers. But even on a rainy day like this it’s easy to see the toll the drought has taken on his land.


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is extending his declaration of a state of emergency until mid-November because of drought, heat and the risk of fire.

jungmoon / Flickr

The U.S. corn harvest continues ahead of schedule with some states nearly half-finished at a time when they usually are just getting started.

The USDA said Tuesday in its weekly crop update that little has changed in the condition of drought-damaged corn and soybeans. That's because the plants are too far along for recent rain to make a difference.

Corn was planted several weeks earlier this year and matured more quickly in the summer heat, allowing farmers to start harvesting early.

A Missouri program to improve the water supplies of drought-stricken farmers could end up costing nearly 15 times the original estimate.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced a $2 million program a month ago in which the state would cover 90 percent of the cost for farmers to drill or deepen wells or expand their irrigation systems. But demand far exceeded expectations, and the governor expanded the program.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Thirty-five farmers and agricultural workers applauded at the site of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s big blue RV pulling up to the back of AGRI Services on Wednesday. The campaign stop at the massive granary and fertilizer distributor on the banks of the Missouri River in Brunswick, Mo. is part of the Democratic incumbent senator’s "Fighting for our Farmers" project.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

Missouri has approved more than 4,900 requests from farmers for help in improving their water supplies amid Missouri's extreme drought.

The head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says drivers need to be careful now that the state has granted drought-related waivers that will result in more farm machinery on the roads.

The Missouri Department of Transportation granted the waivers because the drought is forcing some farmers to travel longer distances to obtain hay, silage and grain.

Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle encouraged farmers to review regulations related to farm vehicles and the transportation of goods.

Drought affects Mo. elk herd

Aug 3, 2012
Missouri Department of Conservation

Drought and stressful moving conditions are killing off some reintroduced elk in the Missouri Ozarks.


Missouri businesses directly harmed by the summer heat and drought can get low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Small nonfarm businesses, agricultural cooperatives and nonprofit organizations are eligible for up to $2 million for expenses caused by the drought. The deadline for loans is March and applications can be submitted online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

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.

aimeeorleans / flickr

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.”

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

According to a new study, the Midwest is getting hotter. With this summer's record-breaking temperatures, that probably doesn't sound like news.

But a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows our hot weather isn't an anomaly - things have been heating up across the Midwest for the past six decades.

The study found that on average, some Midwestern cities like St. Louis now have twice the number of very hot, humid, summer days as it did in the 1940s. Nighttime temperatures are also on the rise, and heat waves of three or more days are becoming more common.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Mo. Supreme Court throws out caps on medical malpractice
  • State Supreme Court upholds fiscal notes for ballot initiatives
  • USDA releases crops progress report
  • Columbia Airport adds flights to Atlanta

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

aimeeorleans / flickr

The same reservoirs in northern states that were blamed for last year's flooding on the Missouri River are now giving the river a boost during a severe drought.

Newscast for Friday, July 27, 2012

Jul 27, 2012

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Intense demand prompts Nixon to announce more water funding for farmers
  • MU Faculty call to postpone press shutdown
  • Drought puts cows in Midwest at risk of nitrate poisoning

More money is being put into an emergency program to aid farmers and ranchers battling water shortages in Missouri.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has added $5 million to the $2 million set aside for crop and livestock producers who want to drill new wells or deepen existing ones during the ongoing drought.  More than 600 applications have been sent in since the program’s announcement on Tuesday.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

As the dry conditions and excessive heat continue to bear down on Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance for farmers who need access to water.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared an emergency because of the recent drought.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Nixon seeks to allow Mo. farmers to graze animals
  • After Colorado shooting, Missouri lawmaker wants to restart conversation on gun laws
  • Flags surround church in honor of fallen soldier Sterling Wyatt
KBIA File Photo

Gov. Jay Nixon is urging Missouri soil and water districts to allow farmers to briefly graze their animals on livestock exclusion areas.

bredgur / Flickr

Federal weather forecasters predict the unusually hot dry weather that has gripped much of the nation will linger into fall, especially for the parched heartland.

Hoop barns becoming more common in Midwest

Jul 18, 2012
Rick Frederickson / for Harvest Public Media

Crops are not the only things wilting in the sweltering summer of 2012; cattle, the largest animals, on the farm are also under stress.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

The death of an 89-year-old St. Louis County man is blamed on the heat, bringing the number of heat-related deaths in Missouri to 24 since June.

Clint Zweifel
Office of Treasurer

Farmers suffering from this summer's dry, hot weather could get some help through the state treasurer's office.

Treasurer Clint Zweifel says he is offering emergency 24-hour approvals of low-interest loans through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program because of the drought conditions.

Under the program, the state deposits money at low rates in banks, which in turn can supply low-interest loans to farmers or businesses. Zweifel says it normally takes about 10 days to approve a deposit for a loan, but that can be speeded up in emergencies.

Updated with comments from McCaskill conference call.

The entire state of Missouri is now a federal agriculture disaster area.

Seventeen of the state's counties, mostly in the Bootheel, had already received that declaration. Today's announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture extends that declaration to the other 97 counties and the city of St. Louis.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is traveling the state to survey damage from Missouri's hot, dry summer.

Nixon planned to meet with farmers and local officials Tuesday in Lewis County in northeast Missouri, in Atchison County in northwest Missouri and in Polk County in southwest Missouri. The governor is to be joined by the state's agriculture director.

Kecko / Flickr

Missouri agriculture officials are using social media to share information about this summer's lack of rain, extreme heat and wildfires.

The University of Missouri Extension is encouraging people and groups to post on a Facebook page devoted to the drought. It's the latest effort to use Facebook to respond to disasters.

Facebook pages also were set up after last year's flooding and the tornados in Joplin and Branson.

Newscast for July 13, 2012

Jul 13, 2012
Missouri Redistricting Office

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Farmers talk drought at MU field day
  • State House candidates face off in Columbia
  • Nixon vetoes controversial contraception bill