Oklahoma Ranchers Find Hay Hard To Find And Expensive

Saturday, January 21st 2012, 7:50 pm
By: News 9

Most of us are enjoying our rather mild winter so far, but many Oklahoma farmers are struggling.

We know the summer drought was tough on them, but winter is only making things worse.

Farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma say they're struggling to find the hay they need to keep their cattle and horses fed.

One rancher in Blanchard says what she is able to find on-line isn't always what ends up on the farm.

"Sometimes it gets real tight," rancher Becky Buben said. "Sometimes we get down to the wire to find a decent bail at a decent price."

Becky Buben is not your typical rancher.  The Red Angus the family raises are more like family pets.

They will be rotated out and sold for show; they're not to eat.

"It takes a lot because they eat a lot. You need good quality," she said.

"What we're getting is full of sticks.  It's got trash in it."

The summer drought that halted growth of hay fields is now taking a toll on Becky's bank account.

"It's not just us.  We know farmers and ranchers for 50 years forced to sell out because they can't afford it," Becky said.

Becky wishes there was someone to look out for farmers and ranchers like herself.

"The farmers and ranchers are getting ripped off on the price.  The $90-$145 a bail for hay--we were paying $45-$65 dollars for in April," she said. "When you do find it out of state at a decent price, it's 15-hundred dollars to get it hauled to the state. "

She knew the historic drought would make hay hard to find, but winter is almost impossible.

"Hang on as long as we can and pray for rain this spring."

"I can't imagine letting them go."

Many ranchers were forced to sell off their herds after the summer drought caused feed prices to soar.

Those who held on to their herds say even higher feed and grain prices are adding to their hay problems now.

The Hay Connection – Facebook page set up for farmers and ranchers to buy and sell hay in and out of state.