The Drought

KBIA's ongoing coverage of the midwest's worst drought in half a century.

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Agriculture
8:06 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Mo. drought relief program totals $29M for farmers

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.

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Agriculture
3:05 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Drought could edge livestock producers out of business

Alfred Brandt says he will have to pay $100,000 in out-of-pocket feed costs to get his 150 Holstein cows fed through next spring.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Brandt Dairy sits on Swan Creek at the end of a meandering gravel road in Linn, Missouri. The farm is bucolic with its twin silos, red barn and black-and-white Holstein cows. But the brown pastures, dry river bed and burnt corn fields are a reminder that there have been less than two inches of rain here in the last two months.

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Weather
8:14 am
Fri August 24, 2012

New data shows drought intensifying, with slight reprieve expected in coming week

Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The ongoing drought has intensified slightly in Missouri over the past week, according to new data released by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. 

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Agriculture
4:22 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Elected officials talk farm policy on the campaign trail

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill made a campaign stop at a massive granary and fertilizer distributor on the banks of the Missouri River as part of her six-day "Fighting for our Farmers" tour.
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.

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Weather
8:06 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Governor Nixon warns of increased wildfire threat

KBIA File Photo

Missouri’s drought conditions have increased the threat of wildfires across the state.

Governor Jay Nixon presided over a drought briefing Thursday at the Missouri State Fair for emergency management and public safety workers.

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Agriculture
5:43 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Mo. approves 4,900+ water supply requests

jetsandzeppelins Flickr

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

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Agriculture
4:54 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

What if Congress doesn't pass a farm bill?

Ed Greiman, a cattle producer and president-elect of the Iowa Cattlemen, climbs onto the front of a truck hauling silage on his ranch near Garner, Iowa. Like other ranchers, he's getting a feel for what life would be like without a farm bill.
Clay Masters Harvest Public Media

Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner, a diner attached to a gas station in north-central Iowa.

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Agriculture
2:36 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

MU professor: grazing drought-damaged crops and pasture can harm livestock

A parched corn field in Cass County, Illinois.
Adam Allington St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri veterinary professor says farmers need to be careful when feeding drought-damaged corn to their livestock.

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Transportation
8:49 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Caution urged for farmers on roads

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
8:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Drought causing cracks in basement walls

A house with a daylight basement in Atlanta, GA.
Wikimedia Commons

Many homeowners are seeing the impact of the drought with cracked walls in the basement, forcing thousands of dollars in repair bills that insurance generally doesn't cover.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that basement repair companies are overwhelmed with calls from customers about cracking and shifting foundations.

The drought has drained moisture from the soil for several feel underground. Drying clay shrinks, which undermines support beneath basements.

Drought
8:30 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Crops, soil dry out further in Missouri

Irrigation waters a field of soybeans at Bradford Research Center outside Columbia, Mo. on August 12, 2012.
Camille Phillips Harvest Public Media

The recent break from Missouri's oppressive summer heat has done little to help crops and pastures.

In its weekly update, the Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that supplies of topsoil and subsoil moisture were just 1 percent adequate — with the 1 percent due to irrigation in southeastern Missouri.

Ninety-eight percent of pastures throughout Missouri were ranked in poor to very condition, and livestock producers are still coping with massive shortages of stock water.

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Conservation
8:19 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Heat cutting down on butterflies, food source

Butterfly
davidyuweb flickr

Ecologists in Kansas and Missouri say extreme temperatures are killing a large number of butterflies and could hurt their southern migration next month.

Millions of monarch butterflies are expected to migrate south through the two states in less than a month in their seasonal trip from Canada to Mexico.

KSHB-TV reports the Powell Botanical Gardens annual butterfly festival east of Kansas City is seeing the lowest number of monarchs in a decade.

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Agriculture
9:42 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Ranchers battle suffocating drought

Nathan Pike was born on this land during the Dust Bowl, but he’s never seen it this dry. With little for his cattle to eat, he has been forced to liquidate most of his herd.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

It’s hot and dry out in western Kansas in a good year. South of Dodge City, the native grass is tough. So are the ranchers. But this year is not a good year.

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Agriculture
8:36 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Mo. approves 3,700 applications for well projects

Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri officials have approved more than 3,700 applications totaling $18.7 million to help drought-stricken farmers and ranchers get more water.

The emergency program provides for the state to pay 90 percent of the cost of drilling or deepening a well or expanding an irrigation system. The state's match is capped at $20,000 per project.

Nixon announced the program in late June. Monday was the deadline for farmers and livestock producers to apply.

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