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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Missouri is in the midst of the worst drought since 1988 – that was the buzz on the MU campus yesterday, as more than 200 farmers and researchers gathered for the annual Pest Management Field Day. Although they came to learn about the latest research on pesticides and herbicides, conversation frequently turned to the bone-dry conditions on Missouri's farms.
Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 114 Missouri counties agriculture disaster areas because of drought conditions.
Nixon's office says in a release that if the counties are designated as agriculture disasters, farmers in those counties would be able to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. The federal aid would also include emergency loans for losses to crops and livestock from the ongoing drought.