With last year’s excessive rains, you would think farmers in Pennsylvania would be hesitant to give away any hay they might need for their own animals, even if went for a good cause. Think again.
A group of Pennsylvania farmers has collected 50 tons, and counting, of hay for flood victims around the Midwest.
Tammy Koser, who runs a small beef operation with her husband in Lycoming County, says the initial idea was to collect around 20 round bales from a handful of local farmers and get them out to farmers in need.
Through the power of social media and word of mouth, the number of donations has skyrocketed with farmers donating round and square bales, and even cash to pay the fuel for a group of truckers who have donated their time to drive the bales out West. The first shipments are scheduled to go out March 30.
“I figured the locals would be able to help out. I didn’t think it was going to snowball into the monster it has,” says Eric Staman, who farms 10 acres and is coordinating the relief efforts for the local farm community.
He says more than two-dozen farms have donated hay so far. The Montoursville FFA, of which Staman is an alumnus, is also accepting cash donations to pay the truckers’ fuel costs to take the hay out West, as well as to buy fencing materials for farmers.
Nebraska hard hit
The Associated Press has reported that the flooding has caused an estimated $1.4 billion in damage in Nebraska alone, even though other states like Iowa and Wisconsin have also been hard hit.
The flooding is largely the result of record snowfall in February that was followed by heavy rains in early March and excessive snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains. The Missouri River and its tributaries have been overwhelmed with water.
According to an online article last week by Nebraska Farmer, 77 of the state’s 93 counties declared an emergency because of flooding.
Initial damage estimates are $439 million in infrastructure, $85 million in damage to private homes and businesses, $400 million in losses to Nebraska's cow-calf sector, and $440 million in losses to Nebraska crop producers.
Staman says they have enough hay for at least four truckloads, possibly five. He says the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has gotten in touch with him about a possible 400-bale donation from a retiring farmer near Scranton, who is getting out of the beef business.
He says farmers interested in donating locally can go through the Montoursville FFA Facebook site.
If you live in another area, you can make donations on the Nebraska Farm Bureau website or contact your local Farm Bureau.
You can also mail out a donation and send it to Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation at Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, Attn: Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 80299, Lincoln, NE 68501-0299.