With no rain check expected on this dry spell anytime soon, the state is allowing Missouri’s farmers and ranchers access to emergency water and hay supplies.

They can get hay at 17 Missouri state parks on or after June 25, and hay must be removed before Sept. 25. Signing a license is required before haying can begin. MoDOT is also waiving permit fees to haul extra wide hay loads through Dec. 1.

Boat ramps at 25 Missouri state parks and 36 Department of Conservation areas are open to collect water. Contacting Missouri Department of Conservation area managers prior to taking water from conservation areas is required.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 87% of Missouri is experiencing some form of dryness. Extreme drought is widening in the central part of the state and several areas are now in moderate to severe drought.

On May 31, Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order declaring a drought alert for 60 Missouri counties. Other counties could be added to the alert and be eligible for assistance as they reach established drought thresholds.

Parson, a cattle farmer, said he is “deeply concerned” about this drought happening in June.

“You compound all of that from what happened in the drought last year, now you’re putting it on the front end this year,” said Parson. “So in May and June, we’re already having droughts. It’s not a good day for Missouri. It’s not.”

The governor said this latest drought is different from recent years.

“What complicates this one a little more than your normal droughts in the summertime that we’re normally used to, you went through one last year. So there was never no fall foliage and there was never no rain resources to back that up to get that volume of moisture in. So that means you go into wintertime. You don’t have near as much feed crops. You’re going to take definitely a hit on that because we didn’t get rain. And then we didn’t get a lot of moisture in the wintertime,” he said.

Parson talked about whether Missourians can expect water restrictions.

“Whether it’s Conservation, whether it’s Parks, you know, all of those people are working together to see where our water supplies are. If we need to go to that, if we need to start hauling water, finding water from other places. I can tell you right now, I’d say the next couple of weeks are pretty critical in this state. We’ve got to get some moisture,” said Parson.

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

To see the state park spots available for haying, click here.

To see the list of state boat ramps offering access to pump water, click here.

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