RALEIGH – Flooding in eastern North Carolina and drought in western counties has state agricultural officials concerned about feeding livestock and horses this winter.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is utilizing a website, www.ncagr.gov/hayalert, to help livestock and horse owners in sourcing hay. The Hay Alert website was first launched during the drought in 2002 and used again in 2007. It is similar to Craigslist, in which users can post hay for sale or hay wanted ads. The department will not be involved in the transaction beyond hosting the website.
“We’re trying to help farmers meet the needs for livestock and horses this winter,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Earlier this fall, we expected to have eastern hay to fill the void in the west, but the flood has ruined so much of the eastern crop. We encourage farmers to go ahead and start securing their hay for the winter.”
Farmers are encouraged to work with their local cooperative extension agent to set up a winter feed plan. They are also reminded that many areas of North Carolina are under quarantine for plant pests and care should be taken to not introduce pests into new areas. Check with the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division for guidance if moving hay from a quarantine area to a non-quarantine area.