Cache County farmers who are fortunate enough to find hay supplies for winter say the demand from farmers in the drought-stricken Midwest has driven prices to nearly double those of last year.
Mike Burmester, a dairy farmer from Cornish who also has hauled thousands of truck loads of hay into Cache County from Mud Lake, Idaho, for the past six years, said Saturday that Midwest farmers have contracted to buy Idaho hay that usually comes to northern Utah."Last week in Mud Lake, commercial trucking lines had semitrailer-trucks stacked up waiting for hay to be loaded, and they were all destined for the Midwest, except a small amount going to Montana," he said.
Burmester said farmers in the Midwest evidently have been able to get financing to pay cash in advance for the hay, and they are paying $100 to $120 a ton.
"When you add transportation costs, the farmers there are paying up to $180 a ton for their hay," he said.
Ivan Allen, a farmer from the northern Cache County community of Cobe, said he paid $95 a ton for hay delivered by Burmester out of Mud Lake last week.
"We paid $65 a ton for the hay delivered last year, and now when you add transportation costs, we are paying from $115 to $120 a ton," he said.
Allen said milk-producers will have a tough time making it through the winter if they have to purchase feed at $100 a ton.
Steve Fitzwater, director of the federal Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service in Logan, said Friday he still has not received any information on what is included in the drought aid relief package approved by Congress earlier this summer.