Gov. Mike Parson has directed state agencies to coordinate ways to assist Missouri counties affected by the drought.

Parson on Wednesday ordered the activation of the Drought Assessment Committee and drought-impact teams. His order declared a drought alert for 47 counties.

Included in the drought alert are Audrain, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Monroe, Schuyler and Scotland counties in northeast Missouri.

The Department of Natural Resources shows nearly all of Missouri north of the Missouri River was in drought as of July 12, with 15 counties in extreme drought.

The state has already granted a statewide variance that allows grazing on land that would normally not provide grazing.

Missouri also has $2 million available to help farmers plant cover crops to improve feed and forage and other natural resources.

Farmers and ranchers in counties affected by drought can apply for assistance at local NRCS offices until Aug. 31.