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Farmers struggle to find water for livestock

Gov. Nixon signs order offering help

Gov. Jay Nixon visited Springfield and announced the signing of an executive order to use $2 million in funds for helping farmers.

July 24, 2012|by Linda Russell, KY3 News |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon has signed an executive order authorizing a program that will provide $2 million of unallocated State Soil and Water District Commission funds to make sure farmers have the water wells they need.

The executive order comes as many farmers say they are having trouble finding water for their livestock.

At the Francka dairy farm in Polk County, the crops have stopped growing, and the feeding bill is mounting higher every day.

"This year, instead of making hay, putting up hay; we've been feeding hay, feeding a lot of hay right now, kinda like it was the middle of January," David Francka explained.

The lack of rain has not only dried up the crops, but also the ponds.

One pond has been completely dry for two or three weeks, and some cracks in the pond's bed are nearing a foot deep. Now, they're hauling water constantly every day.

We start hauling about five in the morning and get done about 8:00 at night," Francka said.

It's a similar story throughout Missouri, with ponds, springs, and even wells going dry.

Governor Nixon announced an emergency program that will pay 90 percent of the cost to drill or deepen a farmer's well.

"We're not trying to build a whole new water district here," Nixon said. "We're not trying to build a brand new lake.  We're trying to solve immediate short term problems."

The Franckas will be checking into the possibility of another well, and in the meantime, they're running misters to keep the cows cool and hauling from five to eight-thousand gallons of drinking water a day.

"We're just trying to keep our milk cows watered, to where they'll keep producing," Francka said.

But right now, the milk price isn't keeping up with the more than $1,000 per day price for hay.

"We need the good Lord to send us some rain and some cooler temperatures- maybe 80s," Francka said. "Eighties would be great."


Applications for the emergency well program need to be turned in by August 6th to your local soil and water district commission office or you can apply online at  The applications will be processed within 72 hours to see if farmers meet the qualifications.

The governor told farmers he and his administration are looking at possible ways to help with the problem of struggling to feed livestock, but they wanted to deal with the immediate need of water first.

Nixon told farmers there are currently economic develpment loans for any business, including farmers.  Read more about those loans here:


News Release:

Gov. Nixon announces emergency program to help drought-affected farmers drill, deepen wells for more water for livestock and crops

Governor’s executive order expedites application process for cost-share program under State Soil and Water Districts Commission

springfield, Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon today announced an emergency program to help Missouri farmers suffering from the statewide drought drill or deepen water wells to benefit their livestock or crops. The Governor made the announcement this morning at the Springfield Livestock Market, where he met with area dairy farmers and livestock producers.

“Because of the shortage of hay and the stress on their animals from the heat, livestock producers have been especially hard-hit by the extreme weather conditions affecting almost the entire state of Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said. “This emergency program will make it easier for farmers to drill or deepen water wells, or undertake other water distributions projects sooner, in order to care for their livestock or crops.”

The emergency cost-share program will be available to Missouri livestock or crop farmers whose production is being severely impacted by the current drought. On Monday, Gov. Nixon signed an executive order authorizing the State Soil and Water Districts Commission to implement the program, which it did so yesterday by a unanimous vote. In order to qualify for the program, a proposed water project must bring immediate material benefit to crops or livestock, and not adversely affect a public water supply.

Under this emergency program, 90 percent of the eligible project cost will be covered, with a maximum cost-share award of $20,000. Normal soil and water cost-share programs provide 75 percent of the project cost, with the landowner covering the remaining 25 percent. Because of the emergency situation of the drought, applications from farmers for this cost-share program must be submitted by Aug. 6, 2012, to either the local soil and water district or online to the state of Missouri at The local soil and water district will act on each application within 72 hours of its receipt.

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