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Hotline will connect farmers, producers

Farmers who need hay can find out where to buy it thanks to a new state hotline, county extension agent Dave Dyke said.

Friday, August 20, 1999

Farmers who need hay can find out where to buy it thanks to a new state hotline, county extension agent Dave Dyke said.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture established the toll-free hotline to help farmers facing drought problems.

Cattle farmers especially are getting hit by early feeding, Dyke said.

Because the dry weather has destroyed pasture fields, some farmers already have started feeding hay and silage to livestock, he said.

Most have hay already, but that is usually used in the winter months. And there will be no second cutting of fescue and other grasses because of the drought, which will mean even more hay shortages later this year, Dyke said.

When the extension office began receiving calls about West Virginia’s listing of hay suppliers, Dyke began coordinating with the ODA.

"I have a list of 150 hay suppliers given by the ODA that I will be happy to send to anyone needing hay," he said. "In some cases it’s free and some people charge for it, but anybody who needs hay can call and we’ll send them a list of suppliers and people who might haul it."

Many of the people on the list are willing to work with livestock producers on prices and might have ideas on hauling, Dyke said.

Also, the extension office will attempt to put together truckload quantities that might reduce costs, if there is enough interest, he said.

Meanwhile, as the drought continues to impact local farming, agencies like the ODA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) are doing what they can to help, Dyke said.

Dry weather means poor farms and everyone is trying to prevent that, he said.

"I’m talking to the ODA almost daily on this," Dyke said, adding that only low-interest loans are available so far for area farmers.

There is a cost-share program for spring development and water tanks for livestock, but that is being handled through the FSA, which will pay some of the cost, he said.

For more information, contact local offices of the FSA at 1-800-391-6638.

The hay hotline can be reached at 1-800-282-1955. Web sites relating to hay availability include http://www.agr.state.tx.us or www.hayexchange.com