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Crops are struggling in statewide drought, Missouri farmers say

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says nearly the entire State of Missouri is experiencing some level of drought, triggering a drought alert.

DEFIANCE, Mo. — Missouri farmers say crops are struggling as drought conditions cover the state.

Farmer Tony ‘Tomato’ White says his fruit and vegetables could really use some rain, but for now, watering by hand will have to do in these drought conditions. 

“But you still have to get out here and stay on top of it, because, you know, it doesn't take long for things to happen. Just right behind us over here, those tomatoes were just planted on Wednesday. And so that's the main reason I'm out here, just to make sure that they get a nice, good drink of water overnight,” White said.

White says he also uses a tarp system to keep his crops healthy.

“So the tarp, if you notice, it, has a white and a black side to it. You know, in the winter you use the black side. But in the summer, I just want that sun to reflect. And once we connect the water hose to it and we get everything, a good drink of water, that moisture will stay in there,” White said.

But a lot of farmers say their crops are entirely at the mercy of the weather.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it’s been hard to get things planted let alone care for what’s already in the ground.

“We don't have hay. Our crops are not growing. In some places, farmers have even stopped planting beans. There is part of the state in Moniteau County, that area, there are a lot of farmers who haven't even finished planting their beans because it's so dry,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says nearly the entire State of Missouri experiencing some level of drought triggering a drought alert.

With the new state drought mitigation plan, the government is able to act more quickly but the weather is becoming more unpredictable every year.

“It allows us to mobilize resources to compensate for the lack of water we have in certain regions. So, yeah, it does make it harder to prepare. I think we need to just be more proactive in terms of managing our water when it looks like things are going in the wrong direction,” Jason Knouft, Saint Louis University professor of biology, said.

Tony Tomato says if you’re growing vegetables at home, water twice a day, and if you can avoid over-watering your lawn to help conserve water.

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