Desperate North Texas ranchers wait in line for donated hay

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 14 at 7:10 PM

TERRELL -- Texas' summer drought has left ranchers desperate for hay. Some ranchers have even been forced to sell their cattle because they can't afford to feed the animals.

On Friday, some relief came all the way from Indiana. Truck drivers hauled in about a thousand pounds of hay.
 
But it still wasn’t enough to help everyone in need.
 
Hay is in high demand in North Texas. With water so scarce, ranchers have had trouble growing it. That’s why the price of hay has skyrocketed to more than $100 dollars a bale, a price many ranchers say they just can't afford.
 
A long line of pickups with trailers formed at a Terrell building supply store Thursday night. They came for a chance to get free hay for their livestock.
 
"Everybody around here is in bad shape,” said Hazy West, who came from Scurry. “This is the Worst year for hay I can remember."
 
Johnny Sanford Junior’s livestock are also struggling.
 
"One of our tanks is dry already and the other two are real low,” said Sanford. “So, we really need hay.”
 
The Indiana Motor Truck Association came up with the idea. Fourteen drivers drove seven tractor-trailers full of donated hay from farms near Indianapolis to North Texas.
 
“We would actually go to the farms in Indiana and load the hay up,” said Kenny Lowery, driver. “Then, we would go to another farm and load more hay up. We actually visited three farms."

As they waited patiently, many ranchers wondered if the hay would run out before their turn came up.
 
"I'm hoping. I'm hoping,” said Charles Greys, a rancher from Palistine. “But if not, then I'm just going to have to head west and try to find some."
 
Their fears were realized. The hay was gone before everyone could get it. That left some ranchers frustrated, wondering how they're going to feed their cattle and horses.
 
"I've been here almost nine hours. And they're going to run out before I get there. What can you do?" asked a Combine rancher.
 
One rancher said he was willing to stick around, just to pick up the scraps. It’s a sign of just how desperate the situation has become.
 

 

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