By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SKIDMORE, MO (KCTV) -
Along a gravel road just outside Skidmore, MO, farmer Stephen Stiens is making his daily trip to check on his ponds and he doesn't like what he sees.
This year Steins is battling not only the dry weather, but what he calls a bureaucratic nightmare.
"Two yo yo's from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) turned it down, said it was not an immediate benefit to the livestock," he said.
Stiens is talking about the governor's new cost-share program which pays 90 percent of the expenses for drilling and installing new wells for drought-stricken farmers. But Steins was shocked when he got a letter of rejection.
Out of five total ponds on Steins' property there is only one left with any water in it. But if there isn't any major rain soon, the pond will soon be bone dry.
Stiens said he was denied because the one remaining pond still has some water but he said even that watering hole is useless - the livestock won't go near the stagnant water.
"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," the farmer said of the explanation he received from the state.
To add insult to injury, Stiens said his neighbor, who doesn't have any livestock to support, was able to get his application approved.
"All around me people are getting wells. I need one just as bad as anyone else," he said.
Now Stiens said he will keep a close eye to the sky and pray for rain.
He said he's already sent in his appeal to the state. He hopes to get a response in the mail in the next few days.
KCTV has calls in to the state agencies overseeing the program for a response, but hasn't heard back from them.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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