Release Date

Actions will assist counties meeting severe, extreme and exceptional drought thresholds according to the U.S. Drought Monitor

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 25, 2022 – During an emergency meeting today to discuss drought assistance measures for Missouri farms, the Missouri Soil and Water Districts Commission has approved the following four actions in response to Governor Parson’s Executive Order 22-04 Drought Alert. These variances apply to counties that are in severe drought status and higher:

  1. Grant a variance allowing immediate grazing in any of the livestock excluded areas provided the area is established in forages that can withstand grazing. 
  2. Defer the grazing school requirement for 12 months after contract payment for the water development and water distribution grazing system practices. Limit the water distribution contracts to one tank and needed pipeline from the water source. The rest of the system will need to be installed per policy after the landowner has completed an approved grazing school. 
  3. Reinstate the pond cleanout program, used in 2018, on ponds installed with state cost-share assistance. The sediment in the pond must be completely removed. A flat rate of $1,500 per half acre (up to 2 acres) will be paid. The maximum cost-share provided will be $6,000 regardless of the size of the pond. A 10-year maintenance commitment for the pond will be reinstated from the date of payment. 
  4. Grant a variance to the cover crop practice allowing cover crops to be harvested for livestock feed at termination providing additional forages and waive the two production crop rotation requirement for the next planted production crop. Temporarily remove the lifetime maximum for the operators planning to harvest the forage for feed, which would allow assistance to anyone that has reached the current $20,000 lifetime maximum. Landowners exceeding the $20,000 maximum will receive $30 per acre for any additional acres enrolled. Other requirements in the policy still apply. 

To learn more about these variances, contact your local soil and water conservation district at Updated drought information, including a link to the national drought conditions reporting survey and a U.S. Drought Monitor map of Missouri and much more, is available at

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Soil and Water Conservation Program offers more than 50 cost-share practices to Missouri farmers that can help reduce the impacts of drought. For more information, contact your local soil and water conservation district office or go to

Soil and water conservation practices are funded by the Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax. Since voters first approved the tax in 1984, Missouri has prevented more than 185 million tons of soil from eroding, thus improving the state’s water quality and keeping farmland productive.

Contact Information