• 61°

Hay’s on a roll in Pike Co.

Features Editor

June 26, 2000 10 PM

Charles Bishop, commissioner of the

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, made good on his promise to Pike County cattle farmers when a load of 100 plus bales of hay was delivered to the county to be distributed to drought-stricken cattle farmers.

The hay was distributed Monday morning from two pickup points in Brundidge – Anderson Peanuts and Chad Thrash Farms.

Tammy Powell, Pike County Extension System coordinator, said 19 county farmers received 102 bales of good quality hay.

"We were very pleased," Powell said. "Our load of hay was purchased locally and the quality was very good. We are hopefully that future distributions will be from local farms. The next load of hay is scheduled to come to us next Monday. We are working now to determine how it will be distributed."

Powell said cattle farmers who have applied for the hay program should update their applications as the needs arise.

"If a farmer has filled out an application, it’s not necessary to come by the office to update it," Powell said. "A phone call giving us the updated information will be sufficient. But, if a farmer has not filled out an application and he qualifies for the program, he needs to come by the office and fill out an application as soon as possible.

To qualify for the hay program, a farmer must derive 50 percent of his income from farming, have owned his cattle for at least a year and be out of hay.

The drought, Alabama’s worst in 40 years, has been relieved by recent rains but it will take at least three weeks before the benefits can be seen in pasture growth, Powell said. Until then, drought conditions still exist for cattle farmers.

"A farmer might not need hay this week but will the next week," Powell said. "So, as soon as a situation changes, we need to know about it."

Oscar and Patsy Sanders of Goshen were among the first Pike County farmers who benefited from the hay program.

Sanders, who is typical of most farmers, was almost apologetic in accepting the hay.

"I’ve never liked to ask anyone except God for anything," he told Powell as he signed for the hay.

"This is a situation that is beyond the farmers’ control," Powell said. "We are just glad that the hay is being made available and we want to encourage those who are out of hay to take advantage of this helping hand."