Gov. Jay Nixon today visited United Producers Inc. in Maryville to update livestock producers and farmers on the emergency cost-share program the Governor's administration launched last week.
In response to the historic heat and drought across Missouri, Gov. Nixon has made available $7 million to help livestock producers and farmers drill or deepen wells or expand irrigation systems. As of Tuesday morning (July 31), the program has approved 818 contracts for projects, totaling more than $3.8 million in assistance to producers and farmers. Gov. Nixon reminded producers and farmers that the deadline to apply for the program is Monday, Aug. 6.
"Livestock producers across Missouri have been hit hard by this historic period of heat and drought, and this emergency assistance is making a real difference for our farm families," Gov. Nixon said. "We will continue to work closely with local soil and water district boards to approve these applications and keep this vital assistance moving. I encourage producers and farmers who need access to water to submit their applications by Monday, Aug. 6."
Examples of approved projects include:
Jason Thompson has 23 cows and 17 calves on 80 acres in Nodaway County. He estimates that his cattle have about one week of water left before his pond will run dry. Through the emergency cost-share program, Gov. Nixon's administration is helping this producer install a new distribution line and tank for a total cost of $1,990.
Jack and Patty Fisher have 125 cows, 115 calves and five bulls on 450 acres here as well. Their well is going dry and cannot keep up with the demand of the cattle. The emergency cost-share program is helping the producers develop a new well for a total cost of $4,261.
Scott Gallagher has 54 cow/calve pairs on 74 acres. His spring is producing only a trickle of water, and the pond is going dry. If he didn't get water to the property soon, he would have been forced to sell the cattle. The emergency cost-share program is helping Gallagher install a new distribution line and tank for a total cost of $1,797.
The emergency cost-share program is available to Missouri livestock or crop farmers whose production is being severely impacted by the current drought. Gov. Nixon signed an executive order last Monday (July 23) authorizing the State Soil and Water Districts Commission to implement the program, which it did by a unanimous vote on the same day. In order to qualify for the program, a proposed water project must bring immediate material benefit to crops or livestock. To get the program up and running, the State Soil and Water Districts Commission also provided an initial outlay of $2 million in state reserve funds to provide the grants.
Because of tremendous demand, Gov. Nixon announced on Thursday that he had directed another $5 million into the program to supplement the initial $2 million dedicated from the State Soil and Water Reserve Fund. House Bill 8 provides the Governor the authority to direct funds for "responding during a declared emergency at the direction of the Governor, provided the services furnish immediate aid and relief."
Under this emergency program, 90 percent of the eligible water project cost will be covered. 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 MO.gov.
With his executive order, Gov. Nixon also established the Agriculture Water Resource Technical Review Team. The team consists of staff from the Missouri departments of agriculture and natural resources who have agricultural and water resource experience; they are assisting in the expedited processing of applications and the implementation of the emergency cost-share program. The team also will ensure accountability to taxpayers and that the projects awarded do not adversely affect public water supplies.
The Governor said the emergency cost-share program is narrowly targeted to alleviate the immediate water shortages facing Missouri agriculture. Because of the emergency nature of the drought situation and the need to put measures in place as soon as possible, any of the rules, procedures and certifications generally applicable to soil and water cost-share programs are being waived for this program.