Governor Jay Nixon made a stop at Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative at West Plains on Monday, Sept. 10, the day he extended the state of drought emergency project completion deadline. Governor Nixon credited rural cooperatives for providing necessary and expedited electrical connections to service projects to help more farmers get water to crops and livestock.
"The success we've seen in completing the high number of water projects has been possible only because of a team effort that has included the rural electric cooperatives," said Nixon. "As we've seen time and again when natural disasters have struck, the rural electric cooperatives have risen to the occasion to help their fellow Missourians."
The drought relief program, which gave farmers the opportunity to receive assistance to drill new wells, deepen existing wells or find other ways to provide additional water, was put into place by Nixon on July 23. The extended deadline goes an extra 45 days to November 15, giving farmers more time to get their projects completed.
"Despite the rain we've seen over the past two weeks, Missouri's agriculture community still has a pressing need for water, especially livestock," Nixon said. "These projects are making a real difference for Missouri agriculture, and we want the projects that have been approved to be completed as soon as possible. By extending the state of emergency for 45 additional days and allowing these projects to continue to move forward, we will ensure that Missouri producers and farmers get the access to water they need so critically."
The Executive Order said, "In order to be eligible for this extension, a landowner with an approved project must diligently endeavor to engage the services of contractors and/or suppliers necessary to complete the project by the earliest date possible." The same criteria of the original relief program will be in place to determine if farmers are eligible for an extension.
The initial requirement is that farmers had to begin within 72 hours of being approved, and have the projects finished within 60 days. There were 5,885 applications submitted for drought relief assistance. There are approximately 1,400 projects that have not begun or are still underway.