State to Deliver Hay to Struggling Farmers
Thirty-six truckloads of hay bought by the state for resale to livestock farmers will be delivered to six sites across North Carolina in early January, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Thursday.
“Cows and horses in North Carolina are eating between 15 and 40 pounds of hay each day, and we’ve got a fair number of sheep and goats that also need feed,” Troxler said in a statement. “The hay we’re bringing in will provide an emergency stockpile that farmers can tap if they find themselves in desperate need.”
As livestock owners deplete the hay supply, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will purchase additional loads, said Troxler, who worked with Gov. Mike Easley to get the Council of State to approve up to $3.5 million to fund the program.
The six distribution sites were chosen because of their proximity to areas with large livestock populations where the need for hay is great. Large and small bales will be available at the following locations:
- Oxford Tobacco Research Station in Oxford
- Caswell Research Farm in Kinston
- Mountain Research Station in Waynesville
- Upper Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs
- Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury
- Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax
The state will use its purchasing power to buy hay at the lowest price possible, and farmers will reimburse the state by paying the direct costs of the hay and transportation, officials said.