The current U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that all or parts of 60 Missouri counties are experiencing moderate, severe, or extreme drought conditions. The data has inspired Gov. Mike Parson to sign an executive order declaring a drought alert for Missouri.

The counties are Adair, Audrain, Barton, Bates, Benton, Boone, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Chariton, Clark, Clay, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Daviess, Franklin, Gasconade, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Knox, Lafayette, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Maries, Marion, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Osage, Pettis, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Saint Clair, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Sullivan, and Vernon.

The order declares a drought alert in these counties and any other Missouri county that begins experiencing drought conditions.

“With the summer months fast approaching, we want to be proactive to help mitigate the impacts of drought conditions we are experiencing,” said Parson. “Missouri farmers and ranchers often bear the brunt of the consequences of drought, and we are already starting to see early effects on crops and livestock. While we cannot control the weather, we are committed to doing everything we can to alleviate the strain drought causes for our agricultural families and protect our food supply chains.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation also warns of the increased risk for wildfires that drought conditions can cause.

A Drought Alert, part of Missouri’s Drought Plan, is the first step for the governor to direct state agencies to work together to provide as many resources and as much assistance as possible.

The executive order means the return of Missouri’s Drought Assessment Committee and requests that all Missouri and federal agencies participate as needed. The committee’s first meeting will be held next Wednesday, June 7 at 2 p.m.

The committee will further assess drought conditions and make preliminary recommendations to Parson by Friday, June 9. Recommendations could include actions similar to those taken in the past, including a hay lottery program, opening public waters for livestock, easing hay hauling restrictions, etc.

The governor’s executive order will expire on December 1, 2023, unless otherwise extended.

Citizens can submit information about local drought conditions at Condition Monitoring Observer Reports.

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