Drought-stricken farmers buy up Minnesota hay 24 Jul 12

COKATO, Minn. (AP) – As a record drought parches the nation’s midsection, ranchers are turning to Minnesota for hay to feed their cattle.

Harlan Anderson, who grows 800 acres of hay near Cokato, tells KARE-TV he’s getting calls from just about every corner of the country.

And the phone is ringing constantly at Steffes Auctioneers in Litchfield. It typically ships 30 to 40 semi loads of hay in July. Auctioneer Randy Kath expects to hit close to 100 loads this month. Most of his calls are coming from Missouri, Ohio, southern Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana.

Those areas have been hard hit by the drought, which has spared much of Minnesota so far.

High quality alfalfa that typically sells for $150 a ton now fetches $240, even if it must be trucked hundreds of miles.

Information from: KARE-TV, http://www.kare11.com