How to prevent “hay” feelings between farmers.

Febuary 14, 2018   We are deep into winter when a hay crisis arises.

The neighbor down in the valley behind us told us to wait and see how the winter went as he would have rounds left. Through our other neighbor, we found out he had thirty and we relayed we needed them. A couple of weeks later, while trying to figure out how we were going to get them with dry rotted tires on the trailer, we found out he sold them all.

The lesson of this is, “Neighbors do not care if your animals starve to death. Apparently you are in competion with them for raising cows, too. If they need the money, right now, they will not come to tell you, but, sell the feed you are counting on right from under you. Money is the key concern to most people, not the rightfulness of their actions. Good christian neighbors are in short supply these days; no matter how nice they treat you.

At this time the farm has four round bales and the decision has to be made which animals starve? Will it be the two pregnant horses or the six non-pregnant? Will it be the twelve cows or the eight goats?

It might be all of them. The hay was so hard to get because of the rains this year, it is in short supply. The neighbor knew this, but, the word of someone is not worth toilet paper these days.

The lesson to take from this is, “Get the hay on your property and leave it nowhere else. If they do not want to sell it, to make sure they have enough, and want to make you wait for their convience, get your hay somewhere else and get it on your farm. They can easily sell what you did not buy to someone else. As a side thought: If the hay is not on your property and you do not have it in writing you are storing it on their farm, or there is a miscount, or someone comes on their farm and steals it; you are the one out. It is your animals which will starve.

Better, yet, find fields no one is working and offer to keep them clear for the haybales. This way you will depend upon noone for hay; and, if your neighbor whom lives down in the valley falls short of hay (or his tractor is stuck in the road with all four wheels off) you can drive by and wave- thinking of how your animals looked guant for ten weeks in the worst part of the winter because all you could do was grain them.

The decision at this moment is to sell off the cows and four of the horses in two weeks. This means even Angel, my milk cow, I wrote about as a calf. Better she not see starvation, if we can not find hay. If we find any at all it is going to be a miracle.

When I sat down to write this I recieved a call for sixty bales. After going to church I came back, fed cows and hitched up the trailer only to find I have two flat tires.  Slowly taking the trailer to the garage for air I had little hope I was making the trip with a double flat. Called and reschuded for the next day. Meanwhile in reaching out to friends one stumbled across a farmer five miles away with extra rounds.  I had made several calls and internet searches leading nowhere and just up the road was a miracle with just enough rounds to get us by.

The push to get all the cows out is now down to getting what we need out and the desired sale of two horses instead of all of them. The goats would have been the last to go as they are the weedeaters of the farm and I love goat cheese.

With a sigh of relief I end the day. Tomorrow the work begins: How to move thousand pound bales five miles. This summer I am buying my rounds from this guy and the neighbor can kiss his tractor muffler while it is hot.

Author: cynthia queen

Living on a small farm just three miles short of the West Virginia border I am kept extremely busy with writing, working part time, remodeling our rental mobile homes and running the farm. I lived most of my life on the New York border in the Tyoga County backwoods. Our family has known nothing but hardship and scraping by. I bought this farm with the intent of bringing my family to a better place. In 2015 my daughter joined the farming fun. In 2016 Mom and my two brothers made it to the farm. I am hoping my writing will begin to supplement the income and make homesteading a reality for all of us. Now, to get my other daughter to come home and we'll have the whole family here.