Drought conditions across the state of Missouri continue to worsen.

Drought conditions across the state of Missouri continue to worsen. All across my district, folks are starting to get real nervous. There’s been a rainfall here and there but not enough to make a difference.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, several counties in Northwest and North Central Missouri are now experiencing extreme drought conditions. Other parts of northwest Missouri are faced with severe drought and parts of northeast Missouri are experiencing moderate drought. The bottom line is that conditions are only getting worse across North Missouri.

As a sixth-generation farmer, I know first-hand the effects that this is having on producers. The quality and quantity of hay continues to decrease and prices are skyrocketing. Some have sold off the last of their herd due to lack of water and suitable grazing land. Crops are feeling the effects as well from record heat and minimal rainfall. We are facing a dire situation.

We have taken several steps at the federal level already to help our farmers get through this season. 30 of the 36 counties in the 6thCongressional District have been approved thus far by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for emergency haying and grazing of CRP land. The process has changed and there has been some confusion regarding who is eligible so contact your local FSA office for more information.

Other measures could be taken as the drought continues so it is important that the USDA have a full accounting of what effects it is having on your operation. Contact your local USDA office and let them know what you are facing so they have the information needed to make decisions regarding funding and declarations should this weather continue.

While the drought has a direct effect on our agriculture community, it actually affects all of us. Farmers feed the world. They are the economic engine that drives North Missouri. When they hurt, we hurt.

This is one of the main reasons we passed the Farm Bill. In a volatile but vital livelihood like agriculture, it is critical that our farmers know they have a strong safety net in place in case there is a year that decimates their operation. Certainly there will be ups and downs but farming operations must continue to exist if our country is to continue feeding the world.

Hopefully, we see improved weather conditions in the weeks to come, but, due to the effects already felt and those that will be felt should the drought continue, we will be ready to seek any assistance needed. In the meantime, let’s all continue to pray for rain.