Paying it forward, free hay given to Baldwin County farmers

Baldwin County

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hay, a staple for raising cattle. This year in Baldwin County, it’s in short supply after two hurricanes in six weeks.

“Boy, this area has really been slammed,” says Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Rick Pate.

Cattleman Bill Reed in Bay Minette is still trying to recover. “Trees on fences, lot of timber down, still cleaning up and will be cleaning up a year from now.”

Up in North Alabama, the Cattleman’s Association and Alabama Farm Credit came up with an idea to help. “We had an unusually large hay crop in North Alabama,” says CEO Mel Koller. “So, it was perfect timing for us to bring resources from our part of the state to help here in South Alabama.”

Two hundred bales of hay are now in Baldwin County being distributed free of charge from the Hackleburg farm of Casey Raper. “It’s the neighborly thing to do.” He’s just returning a favor after North Alabama was hit hard by tornado’s back in 2011. That year help came from Baldwin County. “Some of the municipalities down here stepped up sent forth relief effort for us we thought it would be a good idea to pay it forward.”

“It helps a lot of people,” says Pate. “A bale of hay probably worth 50 bucks or so, so its a nice gesture.”

The cows don’t care how the hay got here or where it’s from but Bill Reed says it could make all the difference this winter. “Hay’s been kind of scarce. This will really help and we appreciate it.”

This may not be the last delivery. The Alabama Cattleman’s Association and Alabama Farm Credit say if they need to they will do this again at the first of the year.

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