Hay donations sought for East

The campaign to send hay to eastern Canadian farmers hit by drought and escalating feed prices continued last week at Canadian Western Agri-bition.

Bert Bloemendal, the Ontario trucker who is co-ordinating logistics for HayEast 2012, attended the show, where volunteers sought donations of hay and cash.

Bloemendal operates Bert’s Repair and Towing in Mount Brydges, Ont., and became involved in HayEast earlier this fall when one of his four trucks was in Saskatchewan and looking for a backhaul.

“I thought, ‘well, there’s a way to maybe help some farmers out,’ ” he said.

Thirty loads of 30 bales each have already arrived in the East.

“There’s another 40 en route for Ontario,” he said. “There’s another approximately 100 loads that are set to go for the same areas that are hard hit.”

Bloemendal said the drought area is large and includes Ottawa, Simcoe, Welland, Tillsonburg and Owen Sound.

He said some farmers were fortunate, but patchy rain made for patchy hay crops.

Farmers who receive the hay are grateful and want to know where it came from so they can send cards of thanks, Bloemendal said.

“Some are almost in tears because they are down to their last bale,” he said.

“Some have sold their cattle off so they can have money to buy hay, and hay is at a premium this year.”

Stories of animal neglect have also emerged.

Bloemendal said all the truckers and companies involved in moving the hay are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts because they know the need is there.

“We’re a small business in a small community,” he said of his own business.

“We’re trying to do a big thing for people and hopefully we can help somebody out.”

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