Drought hits farmers in Howell County, Mo. hard

Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT
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HOWELL COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri sees intense drought, hurting farmers the worst.

Howell County, where they have some of the worst of this drought, has many farmers in the area panicking. Janet Crow, a generational cattle farmer, said she would do much for rain.

“Well, I pray a lot for rain,” said Crow. “I would do any rain dance if I figured that would work.”

Crow said rain is what farmers desperately need, but it hasn’t poured in a while.

“We haven’t had rain here in probably 65 days and Howell County, so we are at that point where nothing’s growing,” said Crow.

Crow said the combination of extreme drought and rising prices is like nothing she has ever seen.

“You have two choices or three, you start feeding grain now, which is very cost prohibitive, you start feeding your hay, or you sell out,” said Crow.

Crow said many farmers are resorting to selling their cattle to stay afloat.

“They sold cattle till 4 a.m. 5 a.m. In the morning, it’s hard to see your friends and neighbors having to do that,” said Crow.

Crow said there are some solutions.

“Roll with the punches, adapting, always look for new technology,” said Crow,

She said the new technology is automatic water wells, good drainage for their ponds, and soil analysis. But even with all of that, this year could be a total loss.

“You’re hoping to break even. You’re going to lose,” said Crow. “Just the dollar amount that we drilled up there just to put seed in that ground is going to be a loser, and you’re talking 10s of 1000s of dollars just for 30 acres 40 acres.”

Crow says farmers are resilient.

“You got to spend money to make money sometimes, but you got to have the money to spend to do it,” said Crow. “It is a juggling act.”

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