Blunt launches drought-focused site to help area farmers, ranchers

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Aug. 5—U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is joining the effort to help local residents impacted by ongoing drought, which isn't expected to ease in the Four-State Area anytime soon.

Blunt, R-Mo., recently announced the launch of a website, www.blunt.senate.gov/drought, to provide information on the programs available to aid Missourians facing drought conditions. He follows state officials led by Gov. Mike Parson, who last month outlined a series of steps state departments would take to ease the impact on area farmers and ranchers.

"Areas across Missouri are experiencing significant, sustained and damaging drought conditions," Blunt said in a statement. "This webpage provides information on the resources available to assist farmers and ranchers impacted by drought. I'll continue working to ensure state and local officials have the support they need to help get Missouri's agricultural community back on its feet."

Blunt's website provides information about state and federal programs to support farmers and ranchers affected by drought, including resources for haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres and eligibility for livestock forage payments.

He noted that 18% of Missouri is experiencing D3, or the classification for extreme, drought conditions.

The latest drought map, released Thursday by the National Weather Service, shows all of Southwest Missouri and far Southeast Kansas under extreme drought conditions.

Near-to-below-normal rainfall has occurred over the past two weeks in those areas, and soil moisture in the top several inches of the ground remains below 10%, the weather service said.

As of Thursday, Joplin has received 3.26 inches of rain since June 1 — approximately 6.61 inches less than the average rainfall amount by this time of the year, according to weather service data. Other cities, including Springfield, Rolla and West Plains, are also short on rainfall, but not by nearly as much.

No immediate changes are expected, according to the latest forecasts. Over the next seven days, warmer than normal temperatures and below normal rainfall are expected through much of the week, while the 14-day outlook shows a similar trend, with below normal precipitation for the second and third weeks of August.