Struggling farmers get major boost in face of exceptional drought

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Rain was a welcome sight throughout the Missouri bootheel today, but it's not nearly enough to bring us out of this historical drought.

Nearly 70% of the state of Missouri is wilting under severe drought, with the bootheel classified as "exceptional."

Lifelong farmers such as Dustin Jackson are reeling from the driest summer in recent memory.

"We had a little shower this morning, cooled things off, as far as getting any benefit out of it. It gave us the chance to take a little break on irrigation."

The quick shower provided little relief for Jackson and his 70 wells, stretching across seven thousand acres of farmland.

This extreme weather has taken its toll on Missouri farmers--hit hard by water and hay shortages.

In this state of emergency, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Michael Milam says it's not too late to irrigate; however, money may be trickling to a halt soon.

Milam says each district in the state of Missouri is only allotted one hundred-thousand dollars for this program.

"We've got about 20 thousand dollars per person that we can spend, per entity. Even if we had 100 thousand dollars, that's not going to go very far."

So far, 6 farmers have qualified for the program, and nearly *30* others are on the waiting list.

Not only is there a shortage of money, but these cash crops may be gone before the wells can be drilled.

"Getting the well drilled within 60 days is not going to be the easiest thing."

Jackson says the irrigation expense is incredibly high this year.

As the summer winds to a close, he'll be weighing crippling water costs versus the disappointing yield on dry land crops.

For the latest updates on drought conditions, click here.

Drought relief information can be found here.


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