Oregon County is one of 65 counties in the state where drought conditions are being monitored.
Oregon County is listed as being in a Phase 1 advisory level which is a serious drought level, although 23 other counties, in the east and southeastern portion of the state are listed as in worse drought conditions.
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt made the announcement Sept. 7 and has directed the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to activate the state's Drought Assessment Committee.
Prolonged shortage of participation, low soil moisture conditions and a low Palmer Drought Index have persisted for several months in the affected areas, indicating a moderate drought level in the 80 counties.
Oregon County University Extension Ag Business Specialist Stacey Hambelton said drought, especially in the southern portion of the county, has been a problem this year. "Until this last little bit of rain we received there are portions of Oregon County that have not seen even a one-half inch of rain since July," he said. Hambelton added that the most severe area of the county affected by lack of rain was the southern area of the county.
He said in the northern end of the county, around Thomasville, farmers have received a considerable more amount of rain and are in a lot better shape.
"We have farmers already feeding hay and have been for two or three weeks because their grass has burned up," he said. Hambelton said farmers in the area usually do not start feeding hay until December or January.
In a press release from the governor's office, Blunt said the Drought Assessment Committee will begin immediate assessments of the affected areas under the Missouri Drought Response Plan.