Following an executive order signed July 23 by Gov. Jay Nixon, the State Soil and Water Districts Commission approved more than 3,700 applications for an emergency cost-share program supporting the drilling or deepening of water wells or expansion of irrigation systems.

Applications were accepted through Aug. 6.

The project costs for the 3,712 approved applications total $18.7 million. The program covers 90 percent of the cost of the emergency water project, up to a total of $20,000, with the producer or farmer paying the remaining 10 percent, according to a news release.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Missouri’s economy, and we are working quickly to provide emergency relief for farmers and producers who are facing critical water shortages as a result of this historic drought,” Nixon said in the release.  “This emergency program is helping our livestock producers and farmers protect their livelihood and uphold a vital pillar of our economy.”

Also on July 23, Nixon signed an executive order declaring a State of Emergency in Missouri. The cost-share program's funding comes from unallocated reserve funds Nixon freed up via House Bill 8, which allows the governor to direct funds in response to a declared emergency.