Livestock farmers aided by cost-share program

Friday, August 10, 2012
Eighteen month-old Chase Kinder plays in the dry bed of a stock pond on his grandfather, Kirk Kinder's Daisy, Mo., farm Thursday, August 9. A work crew dug a new well on Kinder's farm with help from an emergency cost-share program through the State Soil and Water District Commission. Gov. Jay Nixon has directed $18.7 million in unallocated reserve funds to county soil and water districts to help livestock producers and farmers. (ADAM VOGLER)

With his ponds going dry and his wells running empty, Kirk Kinder's Daisy farm was in desperate need of water to make it through this summer's severe drought.

Wednesday crews dug a new well at Kinder's farm, with help from an emergency cost-share program through the State Soil and Water District Commission.

Gov. Jay Nixon has directed $18.7 million in unallocated reserve funds to county soil and water districts to help livestock producers and farmers facing critical shortages of water get relief.

"We've got more ponds that are dry than we do that have water in them," Kinder said. "The water they are getting out of the ponds is not good. It's muddy and stagnated."

Earlier this week he replaced a pump in a well that was going dry. The pump broke when it started pumping sand instead of water. Another well already ran out of water earlier this summer.

For farmers like Kinder, the emergency cost-share program will cover 90 percent of emergency water projects, including digging a new well, deepening an existing well or connecting a farm to a rural water supply.

The maximum state match for any project is $20,000. A total of 3,700 water projects have been approved as part of the cost-share program across the state. Applications were due Monday.

There are 27 emergency cost-share program projects in Cape Girardeau County. The projects funded in Cape Girardeau County include livestock wells, distribution lines and tanks for livestock, and irrigation water conveyance, said Paula Meier, program specialist with the Cape Girardeau County Soil and Water Conservation District.

A breakdown of approved projects provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources by county follows:

* Cape Girardeau County: 27 contracts approved -- two irrigation wells for crops, 21 well developments for livestock, four distribution systems for livestock

* Perry County: 48 contracts approved -- 16 well developments for livestock, 32 distribution systems for livestock

* Scott County: 17 contracts approved -- five irrigation wells for crops, 11 well developments for livestock, one distribution system for livestock

* Stoddard County: 32 contracts approved -- nine irrigation wells for crops, 11 well developments for livestock, 12 distribution systems for livestock

* Bollinger County: 34 contracts approved -- 14 well developments for livestock, 20 distribution systems for livestock.

To qualify for the emergency cost-share program the farmers and livestock producers had to meet several criteria, including experiencing a water shortage that is severely affecting the well-being of livestock or crops, Meier said.

The proposed water project also could not adversely affect a public water supply.

Water from Kinder's new well is pumped into a new trough where his cows can now drink fresh water. He had been hauling water there from other locations on his 1,500-acre farm. He even tried pumping water from some of his ponds to areas where cattle were without water.

Cattle can drink 30 to 60 gallons of water a day, Kinder said.

"In this heat, of course, they drink more," he said.

While the drought has forced many cattle producers to liquidate their herds, Kinder said he's keeping his cows as long as he can get food and water to them.

He's already given up on his corn crop and is baling it to use for feed for his cows. There's nothing left for them to eat in his pastures.

"We're feeding them just like it was winter," he said.

The stress from this summer's relentless heat is taking its toll on Kinder's cattle.

"They don't want to eat, they just lay around in the shade," he said. "They're losing weight. It's not good."

Kinder, who has been farming since 1976, said this is the worst drought he's ever seen by far.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Daisy, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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