Osage County sizzles in drought with scant rainfall, high temperatures

With Osage County and portions of Kansas under a state-issued drought emergency declaration, the federal government has authorized emergency grazing of some of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program acres. The governor had earlier authorized use of state lakes for water sources for counties designated in a drought emergency.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced today additional authorization of Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency grazing for 44 counties in Kansas, including Osage County.

Earlier in the month, Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration for the state, which included all 105 counties in drought emergency, warning or watch status; 50 counties are in emergency status.

The declaration allows individuals and communities in counties in emergency stage to be eligible for use of water from certain state fishing lakes and some federal reservoirs. Anyone needing water from the designated lakes must contact Kansas Water Office for a water supply request prior to any withdrawals.

Likewise, eligible producers interested in emergency grazing of CRP must request approval through their local FSA before grazing eligible acreage, and obtain a modified conservation plan from the NRCS that includes grazing provisions.

The governor’s declaration is in effect until rescinded by executive order; emergency grazing of CRP is authorized through Sept. 30, 2018.

Officials cited livestock water shortages, low flows at some reservoirs, and outlook of persistent drought as reasons for the statewide drought declaration. Some areas of Kansas are behind more than 15 inches in moisture for the year, and outlooks indicate continuing above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Kansas drought stage declarations by county include:

Drought emergency: Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Clark, Clay, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Geary, Grant, Gray, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Morris, Morton, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie,  Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Seward, Shawnee, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Wabaunsee.

Drought warning: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Brown, Chautauqua, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Franklin, Greeley, Jackson, Jefferson, Lane, Leavenworth, Montgomery, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Rush, Russell, Scott, Trego, Wallace, Wichita, Wilson, Woodson.

Drought watch: Bourbon, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Cloud, Crawford, Decatur, Gove, Graham, Jewell, Johnson, Labette, Linn, Logan, Marshall, Miami, Mitchell, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Washington, Wyandotte.

For more information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website: www.kwo.ks.gov. A map of counties currently authorized for grazing of CRP is at www.fsa.usda.gov/ks.

Information from USDA and KWO.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas