Cattle Farmers Facing 'Hay Emergency'

RALEIGH — Using soybean hay and dried-up cornstalks could help ease a feed deficit for livestock farmers caused by dry temperatures and a lack of rain, North Carolina's commissioner of agriculture said Tuesday.
calendar icon 29 August 2007
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As much as 30 percent of the state's cattle industry could go under this winter.

Without the effort, it could mean as much as 30 percent of the state's $250 million cattle industry going under, Commissioner Steve Troxler said.

"This is an emergency," Troxler said. "With the lack of hay in North Carolina, we've got to act very quickly to help save as many cattle operations in North Carolina as we possibly can."

Reports from farmers across the state indicate that as many as 800,000 round bales of hay will be needed through the winter to feed an estimated 860,000 livestock.

A drought in portions of the state in 2002 caused similar problems, but the magnitude of the problem this year is much greater, Troxler said, because it affects the entire state.

"We're talking a demand that's 80 times greater," Troxler said. "It's a pretty daunting task to try to ship in that much hay," so we've got to be creative in helping farmers cope."

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