MIAMI COUNTY, Kan. - For many Kansas farmers, this is the second dry summer in a row. Not only are the fields hurting, so are the ponds that keep livestock hydrated. That's why the state is stepping in with help.
"That water's about six inches deep right now," Miami County farmer Jerry Gilliland said, pointing to his pond. "This pond initially was probably about 12 feet deep."
Cracked mud and weeds cover the spot where water usually goes.
"If you stepped off in that, you'd probably never come back out of it and if cattle step off in that, they're probably not going to come out of that very easily," Gilliland said.
He does not raise cattle of his own, but Gilliland's neighbor pays him to have 40 cattle graze there. Now, access is blocked off to the cattle and they are at another one of Gilliland's ponds, which is also running low.
"It's pretty stagnant water, it's been sitting there a long time without anything to refresh," Gilliland said.
Help is now on the way with a $2,000 grant paid for by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The money will cover about half of the cost to remove the bad water and all the mud.
So many farmers are interested, that the state is struggling to keep up. Of the 1,800 farmers requesting $4.5 million in assistance, only about $1.5 million is available.
Gilliland counts himself lucky to be a recipient.
"It's really going to be a blessing," he said.
Farmers can also use the grant money to dig wells. The Department of Agriculture said it is working to secure as much funding as possible.
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