WAYNE COUNTY, PA — The weather this past summer was especially wet for the second year in a row, and not a good year for growing, cutting and storing hay. As farmers predicted over the summer, …
WAYNE COUNTY, PA — The weather this past summer was especially wet for the second year in a row, and not a good year for growing, cutting and storing hay. As farmers predicted over the summer, many in the area are facing a shortage now and looking for other sources of hay.
“Both the quantity and quality of [last] year’s hay really took a hit,” said Wayne County Commissioner and dairy farmer Brian Smith. “People are not sitting on reserves of hay this year. If you’re actively farming, you’re looking for people in the area who have hay… As an active farmer myself, I know that I’m short of hay.”
The situation led to the creation of a method to connect those looking for hay with those who are sitting on an ample supply, and are willing to sell it to other farmers.
“The issue is to connect people who have hay with those who need it,” Smith said, “to do a kind of inventory of what we have here locally. We want to find out what’s out there and who has it.”
Hay comes in various forms. “There’s round bales and square bales, there’s wrapped bales, there’s silage and maybe bunk-silo haylage… Right now, all of these are a marketable… And if you’re a farmer who sold your cows this year,” he said. “All of these are a marketable commodity.”
“And with hay,” he added, “the better it is, the more it’s worth.”
Zach Jones, a member of the Wayne Pike Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the nutrient management specialist on staff at the Wayne County Conservation District, will lead the effort to create and maintain the list of buyers and sellers. Jones can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 570/253-0930.
Dairy farms aren’t the only ones looking for hay—horse farms, beef farms and some goat and sheep farms are as well. “There might be corn for sale, too,” Smith said. “I’m short on corn myself, because it didn’t grow well this year.”