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Science and the Environment

Dry Conditions Cause Problems for Farmland

Due to the lack of rainfall in many Missouri counties the United States Department of Agriculture is looking to allow landowners use of their Conservation Reserve Areas.  KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.

The Conservation Reserve Program or CRP pays farmers to avoid harvesting in some areas of land.   This is designed to help prevent topsoil erosion and protect the natural habitat of some animals According to Allen Powell, Conservation Specialist for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, between May 1stand July 15thlandowners traditionally allow wildlife to inhabit their CRP’s.

“They have what they call the nesting seasons for quail and upland birds and song birds where producers aren’t allowed to utilizers their CRP acreage for either haying or grazing,” said Powell.

Powel says that with the increasingly dry conditions some of these areas need to be opened to provide more grazing land for livestock.

“A particular county has to show as being at least being 40 percent short of rain fall over the last four months. Right now we’ve only got a couple counties in the state that actually meet that criteria and they are over in southeast Missouri. But, of course with every day that passes other counties are getting closer to that,” said Powell.

According to a release from Governor Nixon’s office, around 1.4 million acres of Missouri land are in the Conservation Reserve Program. For KSMU, News, I’m Matthew Barnes.