In the wake of drought, Missouri livestock producers face dwindling water supplies for their herds.
Few options remain for this year, but producers can explore resources from local, state and federal agencies for the future, says University of Missouri Extension agronomist Terry Halleran. Halleran says it is important to plan now since the application process for many programs can take six months or more.
“The issue at hand is not now, but what about next time? There will be another drought,” he says. Parts of Missouri have experienced drought in 21 of the last 24 years with back-to-back droughts in 2022 and 2023.
“Spend your time and money wisely. Invest in things that will last a long time, with essential improvements to your operation,” says Halleran. “There are numerous resources to help you manage risk and build resilience in the drought recovery process.”
He says United States Department of Agriculture Service Centers (USDA) are a single location where customers can access the services provided by Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development. Go to to find your county office.
The federal program, EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program), and the Missouri Soil and Water District programs DSP-3 and WQ-10 address water and fencing issues, says Halleran. Contact your local county soil and water conservation district or go to water/state-water/drought for more information.
Some local Farm Service Agency offices currently have programs for emergency water. These programs may include wells, waterlines and stock tanks. Missouri Department of Conservation also has some programs for assistance. Missouri Department of Natural Resources also offers emergency water supply resources. These include locations of water access in conservation areas and a list of 25 boat launches where farmers can pump water into tanks for livestock needs.
Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found at
“These programs have set standards of practices, scientifically tested, and research developed for a better enhanced a program. Visit with your local offices and see if they have what you need,” says Halleran. MU Extension agronomists and livestock specialists also can provide information.
For more drought resources, go to or visit with your local agronomy or livestock specialist.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a MU Extension series to help row crop and livestock producers manage drought.