Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada is gathering hay to ship to Saskatchewan where livestock farmers are short of feed because of heat and drought.
The MDS program dove-tails with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s Hay West program.
“Canadian farmers keenly feel each other’s need and are quick to respond to one another. I don’t think any other industry has as much community spirit as farming,” said Lester Weber, secretary for MDS Ontario.
MDS plans to ship 50 truckloads of donated hay west throughout the fall, with the first two truckloads arriving in Osler, Sask. last week. The organization is asking trucking companies in Ontario to donate or offer transportation at reduced rates.
“We will try and co-ordinate the donations with the demand in the West, but we are hoping possibly a few loads a week ongoing through this fall,” says Weber.
“The hay will be made available to family farms in Saskatchewan at a current competitive cost of 10 cents per pound for dairy grade and seven cents per pound for beef grade,” according to a MDS press release. “Funds collected by the sale of the hay will be used to offset any transportation costs.”
Initial feedback to this program has been promising, Weber reports. “We have already received calls from people willing to donate, and we have barely even got the word out,” he says.
“We anticipate a strong response, since some farmers here in Ontario were recipients of western farmers’ generosity back in 2012, when hay was shipped in from the West.”