Missouri governor extends state's drought alert

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Nov. 19—JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson has extended Missouri's drought alert until May 1, 2024, his office announced Friday.

The U.S. Drought Monitor currently indicates that all or portions of at least 85 Missouri counties are experiencing moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions, his office said. Barton and Vernon counties are among those listed, according to Parson's executive order.

The initial drought alert originally was set to expire Dec. 1. Extending it will allow the state's Drought Assessment Committee and associated teams to continue supporting affected communities throughout the winter and continue to expand the state's capabilities to respond to and lessen the effect of future droughts, Parson said.

The Drought Assessment Committee is a Missouri Department of Natural Resources work group that was set up to assess drought levels and work with impact teams on response and recovery recommendations.

"Having to issue a drought alert this spring was quite unprecedented, and unfortunately, drought has persisted in Missouri," Parson said in a statement. "While we've had periods of marginal improvement, farmers and ranchers are still feeling the impacts, many forced to sell livestock early and scrambling for alternative feed sources. Some of the most impacted areas are our waterways, slowing barge and river port activity during our busy harvest season. We're extending this alert to continue providing every resource possible to help mitigate the impacts and in hopes that we get plenty of rain throughout the coming winter and spring."

More drought-related resources, news and assistance opportunities are available at www.dnr.mo.gov/drought.