The effort to send Iowa hay to drought stricken ranchers in Texas continues with transportation remaining the biggest hurdle. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Northeast Iowa Synod is coordinating the so-called hay lift. Pastor Mark Anderson says they’ve found plenty of donated hay, but getting it from northeast Iowa out west is a problem.
Anderson says he was surprised because he thought they could just pick up the phone and find trucks to haul the hay out to Texas. He says things are so bad in Texas that the trucks haul the hay there and they have to come back empty, which makes the trip very expensive.
Randy Sherman recently hauled a load of round bales to Texas and saw first hand the impact of the drought on farmers there.”And to me the heartbreaking part was seeing, I don’t know, 70, 80 head (of cattle) right beside the road, and when you can count the ribs on a cow, it’s very devastating,” Sherman said.
Waverly farmer Jerry Jenson has donated and helped load the hay and says it can make a dieference if they can get it there. He says there is approximately 25 to 30 small square bales of hay in one large round bale that weigh 1,250 to 1,500 pounds. Janson says one round bale of hay can feed seven cows for one week.
Pastor Anderson says they have safeguards in place to ensure the hay is getting to the right place. He says it goes from one church to another church and is dropped off in the parking lot and the pastor of the church in Texas makes sure the hay is going to the people who really need it and it’s not being pirated or sold.
Anderson says they’ve sent seven loads of hay to Texas and they hope to reach a goal of 15 loads by the end of this month.